Even though I was adopted by an amazing family at five weeks old I lived an exciting fulfilling life, I always felt like I was missing something. That something was my biological mom. After decades of searching, I found her. Unfortunately, she had passed away a few years earlier. I never had the chance to meet her. To honor my roots and my maternal line, I have named my winery Vanetta, which was her first name. It’s a female name in Greek and means “butterfly”. I am sad I never met her but delighted that her spirit can live on. Let’s enjoy a toast to our family trees!
Dave Balsz is the founder of Vanetta Winery at the Loft, a local high school graduate, and a retired army veteran. After retiring from the service, he obtained a BS in Viticulture and Enology (fancy terms for grape growing and winemaking) at WSU. He then worked in 5 wineries of various sizes, until he was called back to his roots in Spokane and started his own winery!
Dave’s passion for wine started, oddly enough, in Frankfurt, Germany while stationed there. A soldier came to the barracks and yelled to all who could hear, “Get on the bus outside, it’s going to alcohol”. No one knew where the bus was going but assumed it would be to a location with beer. The true destination was a winery along the Rhine River where he heard the history of the family, the winery, and the wines themselves. This fueled his passion to learn new things!
Dave enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and experiencing new cultures. He’s been to 36 countries and 38 states, and especially appreciates being in the mountains! He loves being outside in any weather day or night, enjoys hiking and back country packing, and even braved the Minnesota Boundary Waters Wilderness area in -50° record temperatures dogsledding and cross-country skiing (speaking about freezing temps, ask him to share the story of how frozen grapes are made into wine – it’s fascinating!). He also loves to sail, mostly in Puget Sound/Seattle area for day sails (he has some fun stories to share about wine on the sailboat too)!