For Derek Berger and Scott Heinrich, the 1980s were for making beer. The pair met in Bozeman, Montana while in school as budding engineers. The 1990s were for wine, when Heinrich ran a wine tasting website called TasteofWine.com, providing educational tasting packages for readers to learn about specific regions and varietals around the world. In the early 2000s, the two college buddies put back on their garagiste hats and began to make wine. By 2012, they had been making wine at home for several years and opened a licensed winery in Woodinville, Washington as Genoa Cellars, commencing with the 2009 vintage. They started with five gallons of Sangiovese which founded their concept of producing Super Tuscan-style wines with Washington fruit, including their flagship wine, Traveler.
The 2011 Traveler is a blend of 67 percent Sangiovese, 22 percent Cabernet Sauvignon and 11 percent Merlot exclusively from Red Mountain. Ripe, red and earthy, the heat and minerality of the Red Mountain region comes through in this wine immediately. The presence of Sangio brings acidity to the blend, 21 months in oak offers another angle of spice, followed by savory sagebrush and full fruits of black cherry and red berry compote to finish broad and smooth.