Reflections & Insights
Posted on April 16, 2021 in Uncategorized
We are excited for our second virtual wine and food experience with Somm and Wine Educator Reggie Daigneault of ReggieWine.com. During this 90-minute event, Reggie will talk about the components of taste and teach us how to find “molecular harmony” between wine and food.
This will be a delicious opportunity to learn how to create great food and wine pairings! To participate, PURCHASE AN EVENT KIT that includes 3 wines we will taste during the event, as well as a shelf stable food selected by Reggie to pair with each wine. Participants will also receive a list of ideas for additional food pairings they can gather on their own for each wine, if they’d like, as well as a recording of the event after the fact.
Posted on April 2, 2021 in Uncategorized
Posted on January 25, 2021 in Recipes
It’s Super Bowl time – and while I do enjoy a great football game, I must admit I may love the food, wine and fanfare even more. With the Packer’s out of the game, I’m a bit less invested in the actual football part, so I asked our winery community to share their favorite, wine-friendly game day recipes. I’ll add them here as they come in.
#1 – Easy Sausage Dip, shared by Becky in NC
1 16 oz log of pork sasage
1 8 oz brick of cream cheese
1 10 oz can of Rotel (or other diced tomatoes with chilis)
Brown and drain the sausage. Add cream cheese and Rotel (drained). Mix and heat until combined. Serve hot with tortilla chips (Scoops).
Variations: For spicy, use hot sausage, hot Rotel and mix in fresh diced jalepenos. For cheesier, mix in 1 cup shredded cheese. For vegetarian, same recipe, but replace the sausage with 2 drained cans of corn.
My note: I love meat and cheese with wine, so this is a perfect start. While this would certainly go well with a wide range of wines, because this is pork sausage, my Armstrong pairing suggestion is our crisp Viognier. If you prefer red, I love Fronk with pork (and Four Birds is always a good choice). For the spicy version, try some Petit Verdot – either one of our 100% varietal PVs if you have it (we don’t have one currently), or the David’s Folly.
#2 – Fresh Marinated Corn Salad (served with tortilla chips), shared by Becky
5-6 cups of fresh cooked corn cut from the ear (cooled) – or 3-4 cans, drained
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 diced red/orange bell pepper
1 diced jalapeno (no seeds)
1/2 cup halved grape tomatoes – or diced tomatoes
1 large avacado cut into small chunks
1/3-1/2 cup choped fresh cilantro
the juice of 2 limes
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp garlic powder
Salt & pepper to taste
Optional: spice it up with a few squeezes of hot sauce. Becky likes Trader Joe’s dragon sauce
Mix all ingredients in a bowl and serve at room temperature with tortilla chips. (Becky likes Scoops)
*You can make this ahead of time and refrigerate overnight.
My note: It’s always so nice to have fresh veggie dishes on the aps table. This corn salad is simple, but an impressive and deliciuos alternative to salsa. And, it pairs beautifully with other meat and cheese dishes in the spread – not to mention a nice, crisp glass of Armstrong Viognier. Cheers!
#3 Chili Dip, shared by my cousin Megan in NJ
8 oz cream cheese
2 cups chili (homemade or canned)
4 oz chopped green chilis
shredded cheddar cheese
Layer ingredients in order in a baking pan, top with cheddar cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 min (until cheese is melted and bubbly). Serve with nachos.
My note: Um, yum. This sounded so good to me, I made it myself to take the pictures. It is delicious with our Viognier!
#4 Easy Pulled Pork, one of my favorite go-tos for meals or appetizers
16 oz BBQ sauce
Put the pork tenderloin in a slow cooker and cover with 16 oz of your favorite barbecue sauce. Cook on low for 8 hours.
When done, use two forks to pull the pork apart in the slow cooker and stir to absorb the extra sauce in the basin.
Serve on buns with coleslaw as a main course, slider buns as a hearty appetizer, or on think slices of toasted french bread for a delicious, 20-bite app.
My note: This is such an easy and delicious way to make pulled pork – nobody will ever guess you spent about 10 minutes preparing it! This one would be delicious with Viognier, but I prefer a red with this and my picks would be Fronk or Four Birds. Enjoy!
What did you think? Share your pairing and pictures in the comments below. If you have your own favorite wine-friendly ap, email me (Jen)!
Posted on November 20, 2020 in Uncategorized
This holiday season is different for sure. Many of us are home for the holidays. It’s a slower, quieter holiday season than we’ve experienced in the past – and likely, we ever will in the future. So, we are making the most of this unique time. Join us in celebrating the season with Jen’s new “Home for the Holidays Wine Lovers’ Bingo.” Print the PDF below, then enjoy some or all of the activities. Go for a column, a row, or the whole board. Share the board with friends and family. And please post pictures and tag us so we can see and share your holiday fun!
Cheers to savoring this unique season!
Print the PDF and Play: 2020 Holiday Bingo
Posted on November 16, 2020 in Uncategorized
We are honored to have our 2016 Scotsman Syrah selected as the top wine in the Great Northwest Invitational Wine Competition. This is a tremendous recognition! Check out this article about the award:
Posted on March 19, 2020 in Uncategorized
Updates from our family to yours…
What a week! It is hard to believe how much the world has changed in a matter of days. But we are well. And we hope and pray you are too.
As humans, this is a concerning time. And as small business owners unable to do business as usual, this is doubly concerning.
However, we are optimistic and have 7 new ways for you to get and enjoy Armstrong wine -whether you live near our tasting rooms or across the country. We hope it brings pleasure and joy during this difficult time.
7 New Opportunities to Get and Enjoy Armstrong Wine
1. Wine Bottles To Go @ our Tasting Rooms – Our tasting rooms are now closed for tastings, but not for wine pickups! Pick up your Wine Club or Online Order, or purchase Bottles To Go at either of our tasting rooms (see new hours below). If you prefer, text when you arrive and we’ll bring your order out to your car.
ORDER YOUR PICKUP ORDER
Woodinville Tasting Room: Tues 1-3, Fri/Sat 1-4 | Call/text Lisa – 206.999.6902
Walla Walla Tastig Room: Fri/Sat 1-4 or by appointment | Call/text Jen – 509.629.3373
2. Local Wine Deliveries – We are happy to provide complimentary delivery of orders of 6 bottles or more in King and Walla Walla Counties (**3 bottle minimum for member deliveries). Place your pickup order online, and write “Delivery,” along with the delivery address in the Notes section. We’ll contact you to arrange a delivery time. Club members – feel free to text your order and delivery address, and we’ll process it for you.
ORDER YOUR DELIVERY ONLINE
3. Pickup Members: Upgrade Your Spring Release – With all this extra time at home, if you’re wishing you’d gotten a full case with your Spring Release, you still can! Through the end of March, purchase 6 (or for Silver members, 9) more bottles and we’ll work some back office magic to add it to your Spring release – making it a case and providing you with your 20% case discount for the full 12 bottles. Just text, email, or stop by to upgrade your order (don’t do it online… we’ll need to work this magic for you!).
4. $1 Shipping ($40-60 value!) – Now through the end of March… $1 shipping on orders of 6 or more bottles. This is a great opportunity if you’ve been thinking about ordering! Members, as always, shipping of 6+ bottles is on us, and member pricing applies! ORDER NOW
5. Virtual Private Wine Tastings – Schedule an online video-conference tasting with Tim or Jen to walk through your wines from the comfort of your own home. Invite interested friends, too! This is available to Wine Club Members, or to anyone who purchases 6 or more bottles between now and the end of March (this is a pilot period… and may be extended!).
EMAIL JEN to schedule your online tasting
6. E-Gift Cards Now Available – Now you can share the gift of Armstrong wine with friends, family, colleagues, favorite charities… or your future self! E-gift cards can be used for online or in-person purchases. They cannot be applied to Spring and Fall Wine Club Allocations at this time. ORDER GIFT CARDS NOW
7. Online Community – We’re breaking through this isolation online. In addition to our Instagram storytelling, here are 3 new ways to get social (from a distance)!
- Facebook Live! – We’re going LIVE Sundays in March at 5pm PDT for a short toast to kick off Sunday Supper. Each Sunday, we’ll open a bottle, tell you a bit about it and what we’re pairing with it. Open the same bottle if you have it. This Sunday: 2016 Merlot.
- WINE CLUB Facebook Page – We’re ramping up the Members-only Facebook page with info, pics, videos and conversation. Members, join if you haven’t already!
- Sean Sullivan’s Virtual Taste Washington – Here’s a fun opportunity… This weekend, Sean Sullivan (WA Wine Reviewer for Wine Enthusiast) is encouraging wine enthusiasts to drink the wine of an intended TASTE WASHINGTON participant and share it on his Facebook page. So, open a bottle and join in the fun!
Thank you for your generous and continued support of our small business, and the other small businesses in our communities. Cheers to the helpers, the kindnesses, the good humor, the perspective, the creativity, and the sense of community that is emerging in these unusual times.
PS. Not a member? Join now and take advantage of the many benefits of membership!
Posted on December 1, 2018 in Uncategorized
We are thrilled to have our Armstrong Vineyard Cottage – the charming 2-bedroom guest house at our property in Walla Walla – recognized as the #2 Washington Vacation Rental by Tasting Room Magazine. Check out the article below, and invite you to learn more. We hope to see you at the cottage!
The article reads:
A Cottage in a Vineyard
Armstrong Vineyard Cottage, Walla Walla
Nestled in a vineyard set amid the gentle rolling hills of the Palouse north of downtown Walla Walla, every room of this cottage delights the senses – offering breathtaking vistas of the Blue Mountains, wheat fields and an estate vineyard run by Armstrong Family Winery. A beautiful master bedroom with French doors opens to a wrap-around porch and charming guest bedroom. Leather sofas, an entertainment center and wood burning fireplace add to the charm, with a fully-equipped kitchen and outdoor gas grill. Bring a camera to capture images of wildlife – deer and coyote, owls, hawks, pheasants and turkeys. This magical getaway is perfect for wine lovers seeking a tranquil vacation in the country, yet minutes from Walla Walla’s cultural downtown hub. Sleeps up to 4.
Posted on November 1, 2018 in Reflections & Insights
Five years ago, we opened our doors in Woodinville and sold our first bottle of wine (below left). We were in the midst of harvest (our first harvest crew in our own cellar, below right), there was no art on the walls, and the finish on the tables and bar we’d built from our home’s old cedar deck boards was barely dry. It was an exciting time for us as a first-generation winemaking family, building a wine business from scratch. After two years of making wine in the back of another winery, we were thrilled to finally have have our own space and 400 cases in bottle to share with others.
On one hand, that day seems like just yesterday. We are still working hard, constantly stretching to make the best wine and provide the best experience we can for our customers – art on the walls or not. Yes, since that day, we have had the honor to share our wines with thousands of guests in that same tasting room, and now, in our Walla Walla tasting room, as well as at events across Washington State. And yet, we are still equally excited and genuinely awed by the opportunity to share our work – our wine – with each person we meet.
On the other hand, of course, it’s hard to believe it’s only been 5 years. We’ve had so many experiences – pouring wine at fine events, meeting so many interesting people, working late (all nighters!) making wine, planning events, increasing our production to the point that we were out of space, buying a farm, opening a second tasting room… the list goes on. And of course, our preschoolers are now approaching middle school (and yet somehow, Tim and I haven’t aged! haha.) These five years have taught us so much about what it takes to succeed. About hard work, about diligence, about consistent attention to quality, and about constantly striving to do better.
These first five years have been more challenging than we could have imageined, for sure, but also more rewarding. Five years is a long time in many respects. In the wine industry, where the investment of time and resources comes years before the product is even ready to be introduced to the world, five years feels like a very long time. And yet at the same time, because this business cycle takes so long, in reality, we’ve really only just begun. We have worked hard to partner with excellent vineyards, invest in top-of-the line equipment and barrels, and use low-intervention processes that we think bring out the very best in the grapes. This work takes a lot of time, care, investment, and patience. However, we want each and every bottle to deliver an exceptional experience for you, and that is what makes this work so worth it.
We are grateful for the support and friendship of so many over these years. It is your enthusiasm for our wines that inspires and drives us forward. We thank our team members for their tireless work and dedication, the many others who have helped us in any number of ways, and most importantly, our customers and members. Without you, we could not do what we do.
There is a lot of work left for us to do. But as we grow beyond our infancy as a winery business, we are committed to always improving in terms of quality of wine and guest experience, while preserving (and, in fact, improving!) the personal service, opportunities for exceptional experiences, and level of connection. We look forward to growing our Wine Club, which is the heart and soul of our business, and improving the quality of the experience for members. And, while we aim to stay boutique and personal, we look forward to sharing our story and our wines with new wine-loving friends in Washington and beyond.
For those of you who have been with us from the beginning, thank you. We are so grateful for your continued support. And for those who have joined us along the way, thank you, too! We are so glad to have you along for this exciting ride.
Below are some pictures, many of which were taken by our friend Bob Clancy (Bob Clancy Photography), of our recent 5-year Anniversary and Club Release Party in Woodinville. This is just the start of our 5-year celebration. Look for more about additional events and opportunities coming soon! Cheers, friends. Here’s to the next five!
Posted on October 17, 2018 in Reflections & Insights
Word of mouth is a powerful thing. When it comes to helping other people learn about great wines, it may be the most powerful thing.
We love telling people about our amazing little town. Walla Walla is a place of natural beauty, rich culture, agricultural history and, of course, world-class wine and food. Earlier this month, the great folks at Visit Walla Walla teamed up with the Walla Walla Wine Alliance and a number of local wineries and chefs to host the 2018 Annual Wine Bloggers Conference at the Marcus Whitman Hotel here in Walla Walla. The conference, organized by Zephyr Conferences, changes venues each year to offer their attendees an opportunity to visit great wine destinations around the world; it was unique opportunity to have it here in Walla Walla in 2018. We were thrilled to participate alongside so many other great local and international wineries as we poured wines for the attendees, shared our stories and even had the chance to host some great folks for a casual lunch in our historic downtown tasting room.
As we mixed and mingled with these wine writers and influencers, it was easy to see why this event was so successful – it’s definitely the people. It’s clear that wine people come from all types of backgrounds and all types of personalities. Some do this professionally, while others are more inclined to look at writing about wine as a creative outlet that, while certainly more than a hobby, is not a professional endeavor.
Some attendees were into writing about specific grape varieties, others into how wine and food interact, others yet into the personal stories behind the wines and there was even a wine blogger that was interested in writing specifically about dog-friendly wineries. Even though everyone came to this event with their own perspective on what wine means to them, it was clear that they all cared deeply about the topic and, more importantly, about sharing their passion for wine with others.
We’re encouraged that the future of the wine industry might be influenced by the enthusiasm, passion and knowledge that we saw in the people attending the Wine Bloggers Conference. We’re obviously passionate about wine and, hopefully, it’s equally obvious that we’re passionate about sharing our enthusiasm with others. The more open and diverse the wine community is, the more comfortable it will be for new people to approach wine and, hopefully, develop an interest and passion for wine themselves. As a first-generation, independant winery, we’re rooting for this.
Sitting inside the wine industry, one thing is clear to us… if small, family-owned wineries are going thrive and succeed in a rapidly-consolidating industry dominated by huge companies, we’ll need consumers that care enough to seek out wineries like ours. Consumers that care about knowing the people who made their wines and the real-life stories behind them. We simply can’t compete with the marketing and PR budgets of the large wineries so it means so much to us when people help spread the word. Having the Wine Bloggers here in Walla Walla was not only a great opportunity for us to help tell the world about how great Walla Walla is but it was also a great opportunity to help tell the stories of the many family-owned and operated wineries here.
With all that context, we would like to thank the Wine Bloggers for coming to Walla Walla and for the work you’re all doing to help spread your enthusiasm.
We would also like to specifically thank Caitlin of Sips N Tips for this great article on her visit with us.
We look forward to seeing you soon!
Tim and Jen Armstrong
Posted on February 21, 2017 in Winery News
I never really loved a wine until I met Fronk. Er, Cab Franc, I mean. It all happened at the end of September, 2001, when we were in North Carolina following my sister’s wedding. Tim and I decided to tour the Biltmore Mansion in Asheville, NC. The property was amazing… true royal living designed by a bachelor one hundred years ago. Great archways, all of the modern conveniences of the time (electric lights!) and en entire men’s wing complete with bowling alley and gym.
The property was still owned by the family and subsequent generations decided to put the land to use in a variety of ways – including by growing grapes. Later, they had started a winery using estate grapes, as well as grapes sourced from around the region and from across the country in California.
I enjoyed the tasting… Back then, to me wine was wine. Pretty enjoyable… pretty similar.
And then there was Fronk.
It wasn’t called Fronk, of course. Simply Cabernet Franc… the name of the grape varietal. But there was something about it that made me take note. A bit of bright fruit, but something more… herbs and pepperiness. All kinds of delicious flavors – so much going on! For the first time, I really paid attention and was amazed at how interesting and delicious wine could be.
We bought our first case of wine that day. A case of Cabernet Franc. And over the next many months, when the occasion called for a special wine, I often found myself declaring, “I want my Fronk!” A nickname was born.