We have a unique vision in Woodinville, to produce wine from grapes grown in Woodinville. We are the only winery in Woodinville that has taken on this task of growing grapes at our winery and producing a wine that we sell at our tasting room just feet from the vineyard. It has been a labor of love that has not always produced grapes, but I was bitten by the grapegrowing bug before I really got into winemaking and it’s still my first passion. I think no matter where I go, I will always have a small vineyard nearby.
This all started back in 1998 when I attended a grape growing class at Bainbridge Island Vineyards/Winery and I fell in love with the idea of growing grapes in my backyard and making wine. After living in the Seattle area for several years I just never thought we could do it in the Puget Sound region. I learned it was a matter of finding a good piece of land and planting the proper grapes.
We found our current vineyard on a drive through the “country” to get our first son to sleep. (Those of you with kids know what I mean about the magic of driving a cranky kid around in a car) There was this house for sale on a hill with a couple of acres. We were kind of looking around for a house because becky was pregnant with our 2nd son at the time and we needed more room and the price was right, it just needed a lot of work. BUT, there was about 1.5 acres of open land that I could plant grapes on and eventually have a winery.
Fast forward about 10 years and I am still the only vineyard in town…. well not 100% true since Chateau St. Michelle has a pretty nice looking vineyard out front and I have heard that the winemaking staff has tried to make wine once in a while with the grapes, but it’s not for sale. My vineyard, at the time of planting, was going to be a showcase for what grapes we could grow and make great wine. I picked the latest and greatest clones of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay on the best rootstocks. I’ve learned a lot in 16 years of growing grapes and if I had to do it all over again, I would make different choices. Chardonnay as it turns out, actually ripens later than Pinot Noir. Everything I had read was that it ripened the same time. Not true really. We have only gotten 3 Chardonnay harvests in 10 producing years due to inadequate ripening.
On the other hand, Pinot Noir has turned out to be quite nice. I have only missed a couple of harvests in 10 years. Like last year where we had 7 inches of rain in one month. 7 times the normal amount of rain. All the grapes rotted on the vine, but that happens even in the best growing regions. For instance, this year 2014, many vineyards in Burgundy were wiped out by hail. We all have our cross to bear…
If you are at all interested in very locally grown wine, stop in and see what we are doing. We have probably the most unique tasting room experience in Woodinville!