The story behind C.R. Sandidge Winery centers on Ray Sandidge himself. Considered one of the state’s top winemakers, Ray consults with a number of Chelan-area wineries and is also the winemaker for nearby Lake Chelan Winery. Some wineries come off more like business entities, and their survival doesn’t seem to depend on their winemakers. However, Ray is the heart of C.R. Sandidge. We can only hope that he doesn’t win the lottery and move to Australia to start “C.R. Sandidge Down Under.”
At the C.R. Sandidge tasting room, on Wapato Way in Manson, visitors have the opportunity to experience Ray’s exceptional reds, including a syrah, his Triumph red blend, and Stone Tree Red. However, don’t neglect Ray’s white wines, which showcase wine grapes from the Lake Chelan Valley AVA and parts north toward Oroville. My personal favorite is the Triumph, which carries a hefty price tag of $50 a bottle. (Note: You can save 10 of those smackaroos on Triumph’s retail price by joining the wine club.) If you’re pinching those pennies, The Whistle Punk Red is a more wallet-friendly $18 a bottle.
The way I see it, C.R. Sandidge wines enhance the Lake Chelan experience. How do you figure that, you ask; how does a wine improve on this 55-mile lake and recreational playground. Well, when you visit Lake Chelan, you experience a paradise where you relax, have some outdoor fun and soak in the natural beauty. Ray’s wines also take us to a wonderful place, one where we can pause and experience the simple, pure pleasure of a delectable drink. But discover this for yourself: Find a spot with a view of the lake and open a bottle of Ray’s Stone Tree Red; see if the dapples of sunlight on the water don’t sparkle just a tad more.