Great Wine for the Greater Good with Tinte Cellars

Photo credit: Brad Johnson/Tinte Cellars

Tinte Cellars, a family-owned winery with two other locations in Woodinville, opened up their new tasting room in Georgetown in December 2020. It’s on the main strip of Georgetown right by some local favorites, like Fonda La Catrina, and there’s plenty of street parking on the weekend. Right now, they are reservations only and upon arrival, every guest must answer a health questionnaire. There is a maximum of five people allowed at each table and the wines are pre-poured to limit contact with staff. The patio space is covered overhead but make sure you are still dressed warm because you are outside! There are space heaters as available for use and if you’re lucky, one table has a fire pit. The staff are kind and gracious—keeping their distance for safety—while still making sure you feel welcomed and and available if you have any questions.

I got to chat with one of the co-owners of Tinte, Teresa Spellman Gamble, who runs the winery with her husband, Tim Gamble. My first question for her was, how do you pronounce the name and is there a meaning behind the choice?  While she said no one pronunciation is necessarily wrong, in the case of this new Georgetown gem, the “e” is silent. Teresa shared that “tinte” means different things in different languages; for example, in French it means the sound of two wine glasses clinking together. For the sake of their winery, Tinte stands for Ti = Tim, n = and Te = Teresa. Clever, right? I thought so!

Teresa & Tim are multi-generational Pacific Northwesters. They both grew up in the Seattle area, which seems to be an increasingly rarer trait as this region grows. While neither of them have backgrounds in the wine industry, when it came time for them to switch careers, it all just kind of came together. Going back to when Teresa was 18, her dad posed this question to her and her siblings: what would you do if you had all of the money in the world and didn’t need to work? It took her two years before she was able to give him an answer; to have a Washington state product that she sold in her own shop and every year, she would choose a different non-profit organization to donate the proceeds to. The product wasn’t decided but the goal was to ignite passion in their community and leave the world a little better than they found it. So when two wineries William Church & Cuillin Hills in Woodinville were both selling their space at the same time, Teresa and Tim jumped on the opportunity and Tinte Cellars was born. Yes, their business is wine but their mission is what drives them—to give back and encourage others to do the same, hence “great wine for the greater good.”

Since they have been in business, they have consistently donated to various organizations in the area and encouraged guests to do the same. If you’re a Wine Club member, they will donate $150 to an organization of your choosing and match donations (up to $150) from their employees to a organization of their choosing. They also jump at any opportunity to help sponsor events and donate wines for fundraisers/galas/etc. Local artists can showcase their work for free, as long as they donate 10% of their sales to a mutually agreed upon non-profit.

In 2021, five percent of their retail sales and ten percent of their wine club sales will be donated evenly to four organizations that both Teresa and Tim selected themselves; Mary’s Place, Northwest Harvest, Seattle Children’s Behavioral Health Crisis Care Clinic and Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic. Teresa shared that they take a very “hands on” approach and look at how non-profits are run and dive into their financial details, looking to see if at least 75% of the finances are going directly to programs. She mentioned that the Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic was a little less than that so she called them up, they had a conversation and they committed to have 100% of Tinte’s donations go directly to programs. Teresa and Tim care about where the money goes so they vet and approve each organization—they don’t just want to donate for a tax write-off—they want to know that the money will reach the communities that need it.

As someone who works in the social services sector, I was curious how they came to select the four organizations they did for the year. Teresa says, “Simple. Family values”. Teresa’s mom was very active in local food banks. They have a family member who suffers with mental health issues. They believe in Mary’s Place’s mission to empower families. They acknowledged that farm workers—a majority of the folks being undocumented immigrants—ensure that the agriculture is there to support the wine industry and the reason they are able to have a winery at all. Talking to Teresa, I could tell that the wine is secondary (she admitted that like me, she’s not a white wine drinker, even going so far as putting ice in her red wine on a hot day rather than drinking white wine!); her passion is the community and she wants to remind others of that too. While this is a vibrant, diverse area, we have a lot of issues we need to take care of and it’s all of our responsibilities to do so.

Lucky for us, the wine, in addition to the mission, is great. I was able to visit the new Georgetown location last weekend and I admit that I even liked the white wines they poured and enjoyed the others so much that I joined the Wine Club that day! This was before I even knew about their mission! As someone who has previously joined-a-wine-club-under-the-influence and then cancelled later, I’ll be keeping this membership.

If you purchase a bottle of wine over $30, not only is your tasting fee is waived, they’re currently giving away a free bottle of their 2019 “Raise the Roof” rosé as well! So great wine + supporting local causes + free bottle of wine, do you need any more convincing?

They’re open daily from 12:00 – 6:00 pm and you can book a reservation here. If you’d prefer to taste in the comfort of your home, they also offer Virtual Tastings and “Tastings To Go” kits. You can learn more here.