How did a boy from the farms of Iowa and a boy from the plains of Texas find each other in Seattle and create the perfect wine and bbq pairing?

David Merfeld, Lesley Kilp, Mishana Egan and Jack Timmons

David Merfeld came to Seattle from Iowa in the 1990’s, starting his Pacific Northwest career in the construction industry. Remember the King Dome? He worked on that. Soon, David found himself wanting to expand his career and the interests he was pursuing. His life journey took him to the craft beer industry and then one day, the one and only Ste. Michelle Wine Estates (Chateau Ste Michelle) approached him and asked him if he would be interested to work in the wine industry. When Ste Michelle approaches you – you always say yes. From Iowa to construction to beer to wine – David’s life was on a course with a fermented grape destiny. He began working at  Northstar Winery and received his degree in enology and viticulture, learning all that he could about the wine industry. While working at Northstar, David was approached again and asked to start what is now called MERF Wines. His goal was to produce an everyday drinking wine that could be enjoyed by everyone for all occasions. While visiting with his sister during her 40th high school reunion, David came up with some blends that were very popular with her and her friends. Then, bottling up his new creations and using a Camaro as his label (an ode to his first car), he took MERF Wines on the road to promote it with restaurants and build partnerships. This is where Jack Timmons enters the story.

David discussing the bbq and wine pairings to a group of bloggers.

Jack Timmons hails from Dallas, Texas – literally growing up around smokers and bbq’s. After moving to Seattle, Jack worked for Microsoft for 13 years but his passion for all the meaty goodness kept him going for something more. In 2012, he attended a BBQ Summer Camp at the Meat Sciences Department at Texas A&M and toured many of the historic bbq locations of Central Texas. After returning to Seattle, he bought an offset smoker, imported some post oak, mesquite and hickory, and started the Seattle Brisket Experience. He spent five years in three restaurants hosting bbq parties in the Seattle area when Jack’s BBQ was born. Now with three locations at Columbia Tower, South Lake Union and the SODO Headquarters where all the meat is smoked – Jack’s is already a Seattle staple for Texas-style bbq.

Jack Timmons and his smokers.

When David and Jack met, the chemistry of MERF wines with Jack’s BBQ was practically the perfect pairing. MERF’s everyday wines include Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon and I know from personal experience that they can be enjoyed with anything on Jack’s menu. Next time you visit, try pairing the MERF Chardonnay with Jack’s buttermilk hush puppies and chicken or the Cabernet Sauvignon with the buttery Double R Ranch brisket. You don’t want to miss out on this heavenly pairing!
For those cooking from home or looking for a wine to grab ahead of an end of summer bbq, here’s a little more info on each wine:

– MERF 2016 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine is balanced, soft and approachable. With flavors of blackberry, toffee and subtle spice notes this wine has silky tannins and a lasting finish. Pairs well with smoked beef rib and roasted portobello mushrooms.

You can’t go wrong with this pairing.

– MERF 2017 Columbia Valley Chardonnay: The wine is smooth, rich, and balanced. With flavors of fresh apple, pear and tropical fruit with the oak giving it a nice rich mouthfeel and hits of oak in the nose and finish. Pairs great with braised chicken and roasted vegetables.

I didn’t touch the smoker, I promise!

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