Along the North Clark County Scenic Drive, on the grounds of a 117-year-old homestead, the next Pomeroy generation is busy adding his mark to the family legacy. Winemaker Dan Brink is the great-great-grandson of farm founder, E.C. Pomeroy, and owner of Pomeroy Cellars.
“I always tell people that come to the tasting room that every generation on the farm has made their own direction,” Brink explains. “My parents started the living history farm. My grandmother had a gift shop and tea room for years and years which many people remember fondly. Before that, they were farmers.”
Today the bucolic 677 acres are still farmed to some degree including Brink’s contribution of two acres planted to Pinot Noir and Siegerrebe.
Many winemakers make enology their second act and Brink is no exception. A three-sport athlete in high school, he ran track through college and moved to Arizona to play golf professionally before returning home to help establish Pomeroy Farm as a sought-after wedding venue.
During this time, Brink also enrolled in the Washington AgForestry Leadership Program, a comprehensive 18-month course geared to equip professionals with skills to protect and improve natural resource industries. Although a wine tasting class at Washington State University piqued his interest, it was friendships he formed in the Leadership Program that solidified his wine path.
One such person was Kerry Shiels, winemaker for Côte Bonneville in the Yakima Valley. “From the beginning, Dan impressed me with his desire to continually improve himself and his winemaking,” Shiels says. “He is very dedicated and hard-working when he sets out to accomplish a goal.”
DuBrul Vineyard, operated by Shiel’s parents, Hugh and Kathy, is one of the three sources for Pomeroy Cellars’ fruit. The other two, Inland Desert (another Leadership Program connection located in the Yakima Valley) and White Dog Farm in La Center, Washington, round out the vineyards that have helped garner Brink’s recent wins at the NorthWest Wine Summit. His 2016 Farm Hand’s White earned a gold and the 2014 Lucia No. 47 received a silver.
Lucia is a Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah/Merlot blend that pays homage to Brink’s great-grandmother, Angelina, who was a school teacher in the former Lucia Falls School District 47. Wood from the decommissioned school house was used to make the blacksmith shop that stands on the Pomeroy Farm.
Together with his wife, Destiny, the couple has created a chic tasting room in the style of a 1920s hotel bar to pay tribute to the family’s rich history. Guests are still welcome to bring picnics to enjoy with the tasting line up offered at Pomeroy Cellars and linger over a game of Bocce on the lawn. With Moulton Falls and Lucia Falls Parks a stone’s throw away and Cougar Sno-Park and Mt. St. Helens not much farther, Pomeroy Cellars is perfectly situated for outdoor enthusiasts year round.
A self-professed traditionalist in certain areas of his life, Brink’s respect for history stems from his college minor in the subject. Given that, his intention to concentrate on sparkling wine crafted in the traditional method from his estate Pinot Noir makes sense. Brink subscribes to the same theory as some other Clark County winemakers that the area has strong similarities to the Champagne region of France and the challenge of méthode Champenoise appeals to him.
“There’s a lot of producers in Washington that make really high quality wines but the list of high quality sparkling wines in the traditional method is very small,” he says. “I think, in the long run, to be known for making really high quality sparkling wines from Washington would be very interesting.”