Family owned and operated, Foundry Vineyards is not just a winery with a gallery, or a gallery that serves wine—it’s an internationally recognized art foundation, surrounded by a vineyard, in the heart of Walla Walla, Washington. Mark and Patty Anderson, founders of the Walla Walla Foundry in 1980, have always had a deep love of the arts, as well as the synergy between art and wine. Their kids, Jay and Lisa, both followed in their parents’ footsteps and have active roles in the company, as Creative Director and Sales & Event Manager, respectively. Here, you can have your art and drink it too.
Coming from an arts background, Mark, why did you want to plant a vineyard?
Mark Anderson: Our reason for planting a vineyard is different than most. As a born-and-raised Walla Wallan, I saw it changing in a good way. Wine was being talked about. New faces were asking questions about the wineries. So to keep abreast of this new and exciting movement, we planted Stonemarker Vineyard. The Hendrickses of Seven Hills Vineyard [one of the first commercial vineyards in Walla Walla] managed our vineyard for the first few years.
Lisa, how much did your father being an artist influence you and your brother into the art world?
Lisa Anderson: We grew up around artists. This was very impactful as a young adult. So much so that I chose to study art history through the influence of [artists as well as husband and wife] Jim Dine and Diana Michener—Jim Dine was our first label in 2003.
In what ways do you think art and wine overlap?
Jay Anderson: They both allow the viewer-slash-taster to have a nuanced sensory experience, one being taste [or] smell, the other visual and sometimes tactile.
LA: Just as we can learn about new world perspectives and history through art, the same is true about wine. Experientially they are similar—knowing who (artist or vintner), what (medium or varietals), when (year created) and how (the method and materials used) are vital in the understanding of both art and wine.
Art and Wine Through Time
1890, The Drinkers, Vincent van Gogh; oil on canvas, France
1882, A Bar at the Folies Bergère, Édouard Manet; oil on canvas, France
Which was your first love, wine or art?
JA: It was art. I was about 14 when we planted our vineyards, but art was a part of my life from the beginning.
Patty Anderson: Mark shared his passion and appreciation of art with me—it wasn’t until the 1990s that we began exploring our love of wine together.
MA: Art is my first love, but it pairs well with wine.
LA: Our family has always conceded that our love of art came before our journey into viticulture and enology.
What does the Artisan Blend represent?
JA: We wanted to make a wine that paid homage to the varieties that established Walla Walla as a wine region. The label of the Artisan Blend is by a new artist every year, who then exhibits in our gallery.
MA: It is our desire that those who visit Foundry Vineyards enjoy the art presented in the bottle and exhibition that hangs on our gallery walls.
Do you see winemaking as artistic or scientific?
MA: For me, the allure of winemaking is that it uses the same approach as making fine art. The artist/winemaker has to have a concept of what is to be made. A series of choices on every aspect of the creative process is utilized, manipulated and refined until the final object of art is finished.
How do you select the artists for both exhibition and label artwork?
LA: As a family, we select exhibitions that are run through our foundation, the Anderson Foundation for the Arts. It’s our goal to bring in artwork that would normally not be seen in a rural area. We work to blend what we love, it is neither solely about art or wine, yet each receives our full attention since quality is what we strive for in all things.