The Oddfellows of Forges and Flights of Wine in Walla Walla
written by Joni Kabana
Walla Walla is well known for its bevy of wineries, but very few are as dedicated to the uniquely creative pairing of art and wine processes as can be found at Foundry Vineyards. In 1980, long before vines were planted and the winery was operating, Mark and Patty Anderson opened the Walla Walla Foundry with one client, sculptor Manuel Neri. Soon after, word traveled around many artists’ circles about the level of professionalism and dedication to the craft of casting and fabrication. Usage grew quickly and significantly.
The Foundry buildings were once used to mold such useful accouterments as manhole covers, iron fire hydrants and tractor parts. Today, after its initial start as a bronze casting operation, the Foundry’s range handles copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, silver and zinc in addition to silicone and wax, super sized 3-D printers and an enormous paint room. Engineers, designers, craftspeople and administrators are available to assist artists with their visions. Jim Hodges, Maya Lin, Paul McCarthy, Yoshitomo Nara, and Robert Rauschenberg are a few notable artists who have used these facilities.
Foundry Vineyards, started in 1998 with the planting of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, produced their first vintage and commissioned artist Jim Dine to design the label. The yearly flagship release of their “Artisan Blend” celebrates individual artists and includes a label made by the selected artist. In addition, their single varietal series feature labels with photographs of abstract surfaces found throughout the Foundry.
Mark and Patty’s children, Jay and Lisa Anderson, are continuing their parents’ passion for art and wine pairing as they manage today’s operations. The Foundry Vineyards online calendar, in both Walla Walla and Seattle locations, is bursting with a host of activities focusing on exquisite and thoughtfully curated art shows and other activities such as tours, tastings, musical performances, yoga and small shop pop-ups. Perusing their past shows online beautifully documents the work of artists and serves as an ongoing introduction to many surprising art forms.
For more information, see www.wallawallafoundry.com and www.foundryvineyards.com.