Established in 1982 by husband and wife Mike and Ellena Conway, Latah Creek Wine Cellars in Spokane Valley, Washington, continues to bring affordable, award-winning wines to the Inland Northwest. Thirty-seven harvests and 36 years later, they, along with their winemaker daughter Natalie Barnes, continue that mission.
At Latah Creek, they never compromise their standards while continuing to produce remarkable wines. For more than three decades, it has been important to the family to keep their bottle prices low, and they have stayed true to their objective. “We could very easily raise our prices $5 to $15 per wine, but we choose not to,” Natalie says. “We choose to keep our wines inexpensively priced so that everyone can enjoy award-winning wines every day—not just on special occasions.”
In addition to Latah Creek’s more than 15 wines varying from red to white, dry to sweet, light to full-bodied and reserve reds, their gift shop is filled with gourmet foods and unique items hand selected by Ellena. From Nora Fleming Ceramic-ware that can be customized for any occasion or time of year and beautiful holiday décor to authentic Italian pastas and a variety of gluten-free foods and mixes, it’s the perfect place to shop for friends and family—and yourself!
“We also have a cookbook featuring over 250 of my mom's recipes, each with a wine pairing suggestion,” says Natalie. “Each month, we select one wine to be our featured Wine of the Month, and we choose three recipes to pair with this wine, sharing the information to our customers via email.”
Natalie attributes Latah Creek Wine Cellar’s long-standing success to her parents. “My mom is continually looking for unique items for the gift shop that would add to anyone's experience as well as new recipes, while my dad continues to strive to make great wine,” she says. “Together they started this winery, and together they have brought it here to our 37th harvest.”
Natalie joined her father in winemaking in 2004, and today it is still just the two of them who handle the wines at Latah Creek. When it comes to what Natalie finds most rewarding about being in the winemaking business, she says, “I love to see a person's face light up when they try a wine and fall in love with it. I just want a person to find a wine that they love, not something I think they should love.”
Over the course of the next few years, they are hoping to remodel and update their tasting room and parts of the winery to welcome their guests. And, as always, they will continue to make award-winning wines while looking for unique varietals to produce and get out to their loyal, wine-loving community.
“I love being part of a longstanding family winery,” smiles Natalie. “I am deeply honored that I get to carry on my parents’ legacy and hope that one or both of my daughters would choose to continue in the legacy of making wines at Latah Creek.”
Raise a glass to Mike, Ellena and Natalie and toast to another 36 years of award-winning winemaking.
Latah Creek Wine Cellars
Spokane Valley, Washington
13030 E. Indiana Ave.