Ott & Murphy in Downtown Langley has become known as a place to sample award-winning wines and for its classy cabaret featuring excellent local entertainers in an intimate setting.
Diane Kauffman and David Ott had been living in Seattle, but in 1983 they made the move to Whidbey. They bought a five-acre farm with an old farm house in Clinton, that later became Swede Hill Cellars.
David and Diane commuted from Whidbey to jobs in Seattle for several years. When their youngest daughter opted to attend a private high school in Seattle, they rented an apartment in the city. In order to help ease expenses, they agreed to look for someone who could rent a room in their home.
The housemate was Eric Murphy, who became the Murphy of Ott & Murphy. Eric and David both had experience as award-winning beer makers. They decided to have fun making beer together.
In 2002, a friend of Eric’s offered to get some grapes from Eastern Washington so that Eric and David could experiment with making wine. Their first wine, which was a syrah (at Diane’s suggestion),tasted so good the winemaker’s abandoned brewing for wine-making. Eric offered to work summers with a winemaker friend in California, learning how to make the Old World style wines Ott & Murphy is known for today.
After several years of making wine for fun, in 2007, Ott & Murphy made its first commercial wines. At their first “Taste Washington” event in Seattle, Ott & Murphy wines were discovered, and in the following months, they were invited to participate in several wine pouring events in the Seattle area. Those first commercial wines won national and Washington State awards that encouraged the winemakers to expand their wine selections—beyond Syrah, Viognier, and some rich Rhone blends--to include Bordeaux style blends, Grenache, and Tempranillo.,
In January 2010, Diane learned about a vacant space in Langley that she believed would make a perfect wine tasting spot in Downtown Langley. The Ott & Murphy Tasting room, at 204 1st Street, with its stunning view of Saratoga Passage, became an overnight must-visit place for locals and for tourists.
Diane felt the space would be a good venue for local entertainers. For the first year performers and musicians held forth in a corner of the small tasting room. Then, when the business next door left, Ott & Murphy broke through the wall to combine the tasting room with this additional space, creating a small stage for their Cabaret by the Sea.
The Ott & Murphy Tasting Room is open every day in the summer months, and the cabaret features a variety of performers, Thursdays through Saturdays from 7:30 to 9:30. Cabaret reservations are recommended: 360-221-7131. Visit the website: or find Ott & Murphy Winery Tasting Room on Facebook.