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Art & Culture Center of Whidbey Island

Ott & Murphy in Langley: Award-winning wines, plus a charming cabaret

Author: Carolyn Tamler

Date:

Ott & Murphy in Downtown Langley has become known as a place to sample award-winning wines. It’s also a place to enjoy local entertainers

Ott & Murphy in Downtown Langley has become known as a place to sample award-winning wines. It’s also a place to enjoy local entertainers in a classy cabaret.

Of the five wines Ott & Murphy submitted to the Wine Enthusiast review, three drew top ratings of 91 points.

The beginnings of Ott & Murphy Wines

Diane Kaufman and David Ott moved from Seattle to Whidbey Island in 1983. They bought a five-acre farm with an old farm house on Swede Hill Road in Clinton that later became Swede Hill Cellars.

Ott & Murphy is starting the new year with the release of two new two new single varietal wines, a 2012 Syrah and 2012 Malbec. They have been aging very nicely, having spent around three years in the barrel with some additional time in the bottle!

David and Diane commuted from Whidbey to jobs in Seattle for several years. When their youngest daughter opted to attend a private high school in Seattle, they rented an apartment in the city. In order to help ease expenses, they agreed to look for someone who could rent a room in their home.

The housemate was Eric Murphy, who became the Murphy of Ott & Murphy. Eric and David both had experience as award-winning beer makers. They decided to have fun making beer together.

In 2002, a friend of Eric’s offered to get some grapes from Eastern Washington so that Eric and David could experiment with making wine. Their first wine, which was a Syrah (at Diane’s suggestion), tasted so good that the winemakers abandoned brewing for wine-making, and Swede Hills Cellars was born. Eric offered to work summers with a winemaker friend in California, learning how to make the Old World style wines Ott & Murphy is known for today.

Their first commercial wines won national and Washington State awards that encouraged the winemakers to expand their wine selections—beyond Syrah, Viognier and some rich Rhone blends–to include Bordeaux style blends, Grenache, and Tempranillo.

The Ott & Murphy Cabaret

ottmurphy2In January 2010, Diane learned about a vacant space in Langley that she believed would make a perfect wine tasting spot in Downtown Langley. The Ott & Murphy Tasting room, at 204 1st Street, with its stunning view of Saratoga Passage, became an overnight must-visit place for locals and for tourists. Cabaret performances started in June of 2011; now, performers approach Ott & Murphy to perform at the cabaret, and several have become identified as Ott & Murphy regulars.

Ott & Murphy’s highly lauded wines are available exclusively on Whidbey Island, in Langley at Ott & Murphy’s tasting room, The Star Store, and the Goose Grocery. In Coupeville, Ott & Murphy wines are featured at The Bayleaf, Christopher’s, the Oystercatcher and Front Street Grill.

For the cabaret performances, list of wines and other information, visit the website or find the Ott & Murphy Winery Tasting Room on Facebook.

Reservations for the cabaret are recommended: 360-221-7131.

Article originally published on WhidbeyLocal.com.

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