Our Story

Hobbies become obsessions. Obsessions become destinies.
Alphonse de Klerk was destined to make wine. A commercial
photographer trained at LA’s prestigious Art Center, Alphonse
began making homemade wine in the 1980s. He had so much fun
doing it that he attracted other professionals who wanted to learn
wine making.

This likeable bunch of enthusiasts started creating wine together in
1992, and would meet a couple of times a year in the Rolling Bay
area of Bainbridge Island at the home of Dr. Piero and Angela
Sandri. Everything was low tech and hand operated, with lots of
heavy lifting. Over the years, more grapes were purchased, more
volunteers joined in, and more equipment was added. Every
gathering was 80% hard work, 10% spontaneous picnic and 10%
“quality control testing”.

The wines kept getting better year after year, in part due to the
exceptional grapes. Alphonse was born in the Netherlands and in
the 1990s met Alfred Newhouse, a fellow Dutchman, whose family
owns vineyards in eastern Washington that are some of the oldest in
Washington State. Their friendship created a vineyard/winery
relationship that is now in its third generation, represented by Todd
Newhouse, son of Steve and grandson of Al.

After a multi-year journey by the fun-loving bunch of amateur wine
devotees, the Rolling Bay Winery emerged in 2007, launched by
Alphonse, David Verwolf and Piero Sandri. The river rock and arched
doorway little winery itself is a shoulder to shoulder tasting room
built by Piero and Angela Sandri, and stacked to the ceiling with oak
barrels and wonderful vibes. This intimate, character driven winery
has been rated among Seattle Met’s “Top 22 Tasting Rooms in
Washington”.

Since going pro, the combination of Newhouse grapes and the
de Klerk wine making skills have consistently made some of
Washington’s most impressive new wines. The 1,100 cases that
Rolling Bay Winery produces are totally dedicated to the handcrafted
quality that’s only possible with a small winery. That quality has
been rewarded with recognition including gold, silver and bronze
medal awards, and inclusion on Seattle Magazine’s list of the “10
Best New Washington Wines” in 2012.

And the best is yet to come.

Alphonse de Klerk, Winemaker
Rolling Bay Winery