The Westport Winery Garden Resort on the highway to Westport is now home to a distillery as well. Ocean’s Daughter Distillery’s tasting room will open at noon Friday, Nov. 29.
The husband-and-wife team of Blain and Kim Roberts opened the winery in 2008. Kim and the couple’s daughter, Carrie, got the idea for a distillery on a tour a few years back, and now Carrie’s brother Dana, already the head winemaker, is also the lead distiller of Ocean’s Daughter Distillery.
A limited selection of flavored vodkas, gin, rum and liqueur will be available Nov. 29. There will also be some flavored bourbons available, but with the time it takes to properly age straight whiskey, Kim Roberts said it could be six months or so before their own is ready to taste. As for the tequila, that is another lengthy process and while they will eventually be part of the selection, that is also down the road.
The Roberts family connection runs even deeper with the crafting of the whiskey selections still in progress. “It was so cool to go to my Uncle Jill and Uncle Stan’s farm in Reardan to pick up a truckload of their soft white winter wheat this fall,” said Carrie Roberts. “I enjoy a great whiskey, and I can’t wait until we release the single malt we are making from our family’s farm.”
As you enter the winery resort at 1 S. Arbor Rd., you’ll find the tasting room to the left, at the entrance to the Sea Glass Grill, opposite the wine tasting room. The two tasting rooms must be separate to meet state liquor laws.
“Our tasting room is tiny,” said Kim Roberts. “We can only accommodate about six people at a time.”
All ages are welcome in both the winery and distillery tasting rooms, but of course to take a taste you need to be at least 21 years old. There is a selection of non-alcoholic Riesling grape juice for a sober choice.
Dana Roberts, who learned the art of wine making after the family developed the idea for the winery more than 10 years ago at Washington State University, has thrown himself into the art of distilling spirits.
“This is a new craft for me to learn,” he said. “I’m especially excited to use our wines to distill some of our new spirits. It is an extension of the work I already love.”
Dana Roberts is distilling press fractions from his winemaking to create neutral spirits. The spirits are proofed using their own water system to reduce it to the appropriate consumption level. “Drawing water from our natural aquifer gives each of our products its own local flavor,” he said.
Ocean’s Daughter Distillery will be open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. They plan monthly additions to their list throughout the next year. Guests who have tasted in the distillery will have the option of enjoying cocktails crafted from these spirits in the adjacent Sea Glass Grill.