Gilbert Cellars Tasteful Design

Photo by Chad Bremmerman

Gilbert Cellars’ tasting room may be a relative newcomer to the downtown Yakima cityscape, but with more than 100 years of history in local agricultural, the Gilbert family is no stranger to the Valley way of life. Today the younger generation is making its mark with tasty vintages and a modern take on living well in the Valley – without losing sight of the past.

The stunning black-and-white picture displayed behind the tasting room wine bar is Curtis Gilbert Peak, which was named for a relative who was climbing buddies with William O’Douglas in the 1950s. The Gilbert family takes an annual summer trek to the summit, which is near Mount Adams.

The scrawled signature that adorns the tasting room exterior and original wine label belongs to HM Gilbert, the first Gilbert relative to move to the Yakima Valley in 1897. But also be on the lookout for a new label that will pay homage to the Gilbert siblings who helped launch the family’s wine endeavors.  The first in the series — The Pilgrim — will debut in the next few months.

Though not “officially” family, interior designer (and longtime family friend) Kate Sundquist played an integral part in designing the tasting room, the cellar and wine labels. Using elements both old (reclaimed woods, vintage family photos) and new (custom wine bar, sleek fabrics), Sundquist created a classic, contemporary atmosphere that nods to the remarkable Gilbert family history.  

Artwork by Barbara Smith Gilbert, such as “Chuck Full,” feature vintage photos and the scrawling handwriting lifted from century-old family letters of HM Gilbert’s, written during his homesteading years.

A salvaged smudge pot from the Gilbert orchards takes on a contemporary appearance when repurposed into a wine bar vase.

Gilbert Cellars wine boxes are crafted from reclaimed orchard props. The wine boxes, as well as custom tasting room tables and benches, were built by local craftsman Gary Davis.

With rustic stone walls and contemporary seating, The Cellar Gallery and Lounge, located downstairs from the tasting room, is quickly becoming a Yakima hot spot.  The venue is open weekends and special events as well as by request.

Watch for rotating gallery shows by local talent — like this month’s Chelsea Myers exhibit — as well as frequent live music bookings.

Carved into a hillside overlooking Gilbert orchards, the Gilbert Cave is another buzz-worthy venue locals may want to put on their to-visit list.  Behind a massive entryway and stone wall, the cave houses barrels of Gilbert Cellars wines. Though currently open for special events and private rental, watch for future offerings such as live music and picnic wine pairings.


  1. Bonus: Come in on a Thursday night and mingle with the local Salsa dancing community (use Front Street entrance)!

  2. I wish you would show the photo of the Curtis Gilbert Peak. I would love to see it. One of my favorite stories of Justice Douglas is this fishing story:

    It was an education in the art of survival to be with Roy for a week or so. He knew the habits of fish, and one day at Long Lake while I was preparing to go fishing, he asked me to leave my rod in camp and come with him. We walked to a grassy meadow through which a small creek ran to the lake.

    The creek had a deep quiet stretch of water, and stopping about fifty feet from it, Roy said, “If we walk any closer, the fish will hear us and disperse. They are right under the near bank. The water has washed under the turf, leaving a hollow cave where the congregate in midday, feeding on whatever comes down.

    Go on tiptoe, kneel down, put your hand deep in the water carefully and move your fingers slowly. Soon you will touch a fish. Do not try to seize it. Rub his belly for a few moments and then you can lift him out of the water without a struggle.”

    I followed Roy’s directions and in five minutes had a one-pound rainbow on the grass. (WOD, Go East Young Man, Random House/New York, 1974, p. 233)

    Beth R.

  3. Whatever happened to the old family picutres and letters that used to grace the walls of the tasting room? I really miss the family heritage.

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