When Jose and I visited Washington Wine Country, Bubbles & Chocolate was a gem of a find.
Wine critic Paul Gregutt and his wife Karen Stanton Gregutt are leaders of commerce in their home town of Waitsburg. Not only does Paul write for Wine Enthusiast and his wine blog PaulGregutt.com, but he’s also the sommelier for Bubbles & Chocolate. It’s important to add that Paul and Karen also are the proprietor innkeepers of their Waitsburg Cottages. Staying with them earlier this autumn, while visiting Washington state with the Oak Knoll Boys, was one of the most enjoyable vacations we’ve taken.
If you’re visiting this part of Washington’s Walla Walla wine country, staying in Waitsburg is like visiting Healdsburg, California, about 40 years ago… It’s a quiet community that is a throw back in time. Downtown has one of everything, with the exception of places to dine. Waitsburg has several options, all really delicious.
The town itself is surrounded by golden wheat fields. Someday, I imagine, those wheat fields will go the way of Walla Walla’s wheat fields… right into vineyard property… much like California did with their fruit trees pulled in deference to vines. Vineyards are a bigger cash crop; someone just has to come up with the funding to convert, and wine country is born. Washington’s high desert is a prime area for the birth of wine country. Those wanting a vineyard and/or winery, but not wanting to pay for established vineyard real estate, take note. This area is still extremely affordable right now; although, I’m not sure anyone there would completely enjoy my advocating for it. Progress has its downside, too.
You may not know that Paul’s also a bard… He enjoys singing and playing his guitar into the night, when the mood strikes him or the gigs present themselves.
Karen’s an inspiration for me. I’ve written about a film that she directed and produced entitled, A Not So Still Life. The story is about the famous glass artist Ginny Ruffner, and is a provocative approach for living life to the fullest, regardless of the hurdles encountered along the way.
What impressed me the most about Karen and Paul’s Bubbles & Chocolate endeavor is how a film producer and wine writer can slip away from city living, and find entrepreneurial ways to support their passions, done in a very holistic way. They’re doing all of this while honoring their love for a simple, uncluttered lifestyle that supports who they are and what’s important to them. They’re back porch kind of people… and people I cherish.
Jose and I produced this video, so we could share a taste of Waitsburg and this extraordinary couple.
- Walla Walla: Come for the wine; stay and dine (seattletimes.com)