With eclectic decor, movies playing in the background, and a heavy metal vibe, wine tasting at Time & Direction in Walla Walla was an unexpected delight.
The Time and Direction Wines story began with a dream and a 3,000-mile move.
Owner and winemaker Steve Wells began his wine journey in the New York City, working at a restaurant and waiting tables. After a brief introduction to wine while he was at college, the process of wine tasting and developing one’s palate was a somewhat intimidating process for Wells.
After working his way up the restaurant hierarchy, though, he eventually ended up heading the beverage program where he was encouraged to join the Court of Master Sommeliers program. Wells then became qualified as a sommelier and took on various positions in restaurants that put his wine qualifications to the use.
It was later on at the Mermaid Oyster Bar that Wells heard about the Center for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. After minimal research and lots of convincing to do with his wife, the couple decided to take a leap of faith and left the Big Apple for and moved to rural Walla Walla. After moving to Walla Walla, plans changed slightly. Instead of studying wine, Wells was given the opportunity to work with wine at Gramercy Cellars.
After two years at Gramercy working in the tasting room and cellar, Wells enrolled in the Walla Walla Community College (WWCC) winemaking program and began working for winemaker Aryn Morell at M&L Production. Fast forward a couple years, and Wells was lining up fruit and barrels to make his very own wines thanks to a program at M&L that allowed employees to make their own wine at the facility.
Once the fruit, barrels, and ultimately, wine, were in place it was time for a name and a logo. Although you’d think that this was the easy part, it took Wells almost three years to come up with the name and the logo. There were a few prerequisites that Wells had in place for the name – it had to be easy to pronounce, look good and read well on a wine list, and it needed to have meaning.
One day it all fell into place – Wells simply looked down at the tattoos on his arms and the puzzle was complete. He has tattoos of both a compass and a clock, both having significance and meaning to his family. The two gave rise to a somewhat symbolic name – the clock stands for time and the compass stands for direction – both item essential to any journey in life. Time & Direction Wines was born.
Our Favorite Time & Direction Wines
2019 Old School Syrah: Fruit from the Old Scohol Solaksen Vineyard Syrah from the Royal Slope tempered with 5% viognier. Here’s a good overview to learn more about the Washington State AVAs.
Aromas of blackberry with a trace of orange, almost like a winter muddled wine. Big juicy black fruit flavors with smooth finish. As the name suggests, a syrah made in the old school style. We loved this one and took three bottles home for our cellar. Although it was a little heavy for a warm afternoon of tasting, it will get pulled into rotation when when dining on the deck moves back inside. $40 bottle. $15 glass.
2020 P & S Reserve Syrah: This reserve syrah is made from the best barrel from the Eritage Vineyard. 100% syrah. The names comes from a dedication to Steve’s brother, the initials representing Peter and Steve).
We must have been in a syrah kind of mood, because this one was another hit with us. We bought three bottle for the home cellars, mostly because we loved the Old School Syrah. Medium body and tasty, can’t wait to see how this develops. $65 bottle. $18 glass.
Need to Know
Location: 4 N. Spokane Street, Walla Walla, Washington
Hours: Sunday – Thursday, 1 am-6 pm, and Friday – Saturday, till 7 pm.
Reservations: Always a good idea, but not required. We walked in the day of our tasting (mid-week).
Special Policies: Tasting fee of $10, waived with purchase. The tasting lasts roughly an hour and will take guests through the current list of wines, subject to availability.
Wine Club: Four wine club options are available, ranging from 3-12 bottles per shipment. wine club order shipments are twice each year.
Drink responsibly. Limit your tastes, select a designated driver, or take a cab or ride service when doing wine tasting.
We’re not wine experts, we just have a love of wine. We enjoy tasting, learning about, and buying wines for our home cellar. We learn something new every time we visit a winery or tasting room, and we’re interested in visiting different wineries here at home (join us a we search for Washington’s best wines) as well as when we travel.
In other words, we’re probably just like you. Cheers!