Ashley Trout is an award-winning winemaker and her accolades in the industry prove just how she is using the power of creativity to pave a unique path for her Walla Walla, Wash., based wineries, Brook & Bull Cellars and Vital Wines.

Named a “Winery to Watch” by Wine & Spirits, Brook & Bull is producing stunning varieties like Malbec, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay and Petit Verdot. Named one of “Wine’s Most Inspiring People” in 2020, Trout makes “varietally driven, nuanced and intricately balanced wines” that shine with personality and character. Brook & Bull Cellars rests on property in Walla Walla where expressive wine, top-notch service and passionate people all come together. 

Not only does Trout express the art of winemaking, she also exhibits the importance of cultivating an impactful mission to take care of the community. Trout’s business vision is making an impact on the hands that till the vineyard and winery, as well as laying the foundation for the next generation of female winemakers. 

In addition to Brook & Bull, Trout owns and operates a second winery, the non-profit Vital Wines. From grapes to bottles and everything in between, Vital Wines is a donation-based winery in which all the proceeds go to the mission of “taking care of each other.” Not only do the proceeds go to healthcare for vineyard and cellar workers, but furthermore “a day at home,” in which vineyard employees can count on daily wages if they can’t work due to COVID-19 exposure and testing.

It’s no wonder that Wine Enthusiast named her “Top 40 Under 40 Tastemakers” for her trailblazing work in the vineyard, winery and business of wine.

Trout has been an integral piece of the Walla Walla winemaking culture since 1999. She started working at Reininger Winery at the young age of 18, in addition to being part of eight harvests in Argentina. (Her first first winery was cleverly named “Flying Trout.”) It was in Argentina that she fell in love with the Malbec varietal, earning her the nickname “the Malbec Queen.”

“It’s a wonderful grape to work with and gives you everything you need on a silver platter — acid, color and tannins — which are the bones of what you really need for an amazing wine,” says Trout.

Of course, there’s so much more to Brook & Bull than just Malbec. For a magnificent summer selection, consider Brook & Bull 2021 Rosé. This vintage has captivated Washington wine drinkers early in the season; this blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Mourvèdre is already sold out. Offering tangible flavors of orange blossom, slate and melon, this snappy, cheerful rosé maintains a super fresh core of acidity. Complemented by a solid structure, the peony pink wine brims with a touch of tannin that gives this Rhone-style rosé an alluring complexity. The realistic black-and-white photo of a horse on the label mirrors the juice inside — it’s all beauty and character.


Kat Shapiro, DipWSET, is a wine and wellness advocate that strives to serve and empower the people through writing, teaching and selling wine. ZenWine is her business where she curates a wine club, wine and yoga events, and educational wine classes. Find more wine and wellness at ZenWineClub.com.