Sometimes a place is so beautiful, you can almost taste it. Joseph is like that. Out there, your views are full of the snow-capped Wallowa Mountains, endless blue skies and a sea of golden grain. To sip on that Western flavor, stop in at the Stein Distillery tasting room, which features the micro-distillery’s rye vodka, rum, huckleberry, blackberry, raspberry and rhubarb cordials as well as rye, bourbon and blended whiskeys.
Co-owner Heather Stein says what sets her spirits apart from other distilleries is homegrown grain from the family farm, where the Steins have been farming for three generations. “We have a 150-acre farm, 50 acres of which is used to harvest grain for the distillery. We do every step by hand. Grain growth, harvest, grinding, mash-making, fermenting, distilling, casking, bottling and labeling is all done by the family.”
The Steins released their first spirited offering — vodka — in November of 2009 and opened the tasting room the following spring. “We had the right material and the right skills and talents in the family to start a distillery. Our research indicated micro-distilling was going the way of micro-brewing, and we decided to go for it.”
Located on Main Street in Joseph, the tasting room is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Their products are available at all Oregon liquor retail stores and in Washington, Idaho, Wyoming, California and Georgia.
For summer sipping, Heather Stein offers the following Stein-inspired cocktails:
Stein Whiskey Spritzer
3 oz. Stein Rye Whiskey
8 oz. ginger ale (or soda water)
1 tsp. lime juice
Stein Rhubarb Spumante
2 oz. Stein Rhubarb Cordial
8 oz. Sparkling Wine