Dr. George Petzinger, our winemaker
I decided to plant a few grape plants, make my own wine, and then make more. Eventually I realized that I could not get the kind of results I wanted with home winemaking equipment. I convinced my friend Mike to let me use the equipment at his winery, secured a few tons of Malbec from Two Coyote Vineyard in Zillah, and proceeded to make about 6 barrels of wine. It turned out to be much more anxiety producing than I expected, and I was there checking on it almost every day. It seemed that every decision involved chemistry, biology, timing, and determination. That was in 2008 and it eventually won a double gold medal at the NextGen Wine Competition in San Francisco.
Appreciation truly happened one night when Ivone and I were invited to the tiny apartment of a friend of hers in Paris. Her husband, as I remember him, seemed to have prepared a lesson in French wine for us. I remember him excitedly opening bottle after bottle for us to taste, each quite different and complex. Though it was a great experience, I worried that it was wasted on me as I had no reference for all the intriguing flavors I remembered.
That was until we moved to Yakima in 2000. On our first visit we met Mike and Joy Clark who were starting Selah Heights Winery and they became great friends and mentors. We also moved next door to a home winemaker who was also a board member of the Yakima Enological Society. It did not take me long to get more seriously interested.
It was a beautiful spot, warm, the grapes sweet and our children were running around, having fun. It felt like something from a travel magazine, but it was happening in my own community. For thanking me, Mike brought me a 5 gallon jug, or carboy, full of fermenting juice. The liquid was a greenish brown, churning like the inside of a smoothie mixer. On top was a little clear plastic chimney attached by a stopper with a hole in it making a constant soft bubbling noise as the CO2 being produced by the yeast erupted through a little reservoir of water to keep oxygen from getting into the fermenting juice. The smell coming out was like sniffing exotic flowers in a tropical garden. It was intriguing as I kept trying to figure out what I was supposed to do to get it safely into a bottle and taste good. Questions led to answers then more questions, and slowly I was hooked.
The beginnings of Lookout Point Winery go all the way back to the 1970’s when I used to spend hours reading Hugh Johnson’s “World Atlas of Wine” as a nerdy 10-year-old. I found the illustrations of the wine making process and the grape plant root systems fascinating. It started a curiosity that grew as an adult and I slowly began to tolerate the taste of wine, and then grew to appreciate it.
Meet Our Winemaker
My first experience with wine making in Yakima started when I helped Mike pick Gewürztraminer grapes at a little vineyard near the Yakima Country Club in Terrace Heights.
In George's words
George is a forensic, child and adolescent psychiatrist and winemaker who has been fascinated with the process of making wine since his own childhood and could not resist the call of some of the most delicious wine grapes in the world when he moved to Washington State as a National Health Service Corps scholar. He feels that similar to practicing medicine, winemaking is a perfect balance between rigorous science, artful decision making, and living the joy of the process.
Ivone, George’s wife, is a pastry chef and educator who brings the passion of exploring all the various flavors of food and wine and pairing our wines with food to share with others.
It is their hope that others can have a similar experience while enjoying a bottle of Lookout Point wine.
I feel very fortunate that we were able to do well in so many competitions and receive so many positive reviews. The website will be updated as they come in.
Wine tastings are held at our Selah facility or our Federal Way home by appointment and special occasions that are announced by email. Join our wine club and email list for updates.
Upcoming vintages include 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2014 Tempranillo, Blueprint, a nonvintage Malbec blend, a 2015 Two Coyotes, a 2015 Grenache and a 2015 Malbec. It is truly exciting to watch them develop.
Compelling Wine From an Intriguing Winery
After the 2009 vintage, I realized that I needed to start a winery to sell all the wine I had, so began the painstaking process of starting Lookout Point Winery. From the start, I wanted to produce small lots of high quality wine from the amazing grapes that are grown here. I wished to experiment with different styles, so the first three vintages were made in a more French style, with higher tannins and less fruit. I then tried to enhance the fruit of the Malbec in 2011 and 2012. Though I started with grapes from one vineyard, Two Coyote Vineyard, I also decided to try grapes from other vineyards, notably Lonesome Spring Ranch. It was interesting to detect noticeable differences between the same varieties from different vineyards.
Lookout Point Winery