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Vineyards: 5 acres
Bonair Winery is the culmination of Gail and Shirley Puryear's dream, which began when they moved to California in 1968 as newlyweds and often visited the Napa Valley. A hobby of amateur winemaking began, becoming a serious avocation as the years passed. In 1979, they had the opportunity to return to their native Yakima Valley. Aware of the potential growth of the Yakima Valley wine industry, they decided the time was right to start making their dream a reality.
The five-acre vineyard site was chosen for its excellent growing conditions and the spectacular view of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier. An experimental vineyard of 100 plants each of Chardonnay, White Riesling, and Cabernet Sauvignon was planted in the spring of 1980. The first amateur efforts were made in 1982 and won awards at the Central Washington State Fair a year later. The Cabernet Sauvignon proved to be susceptible to winter damage and the White Riesling was readily available from other growers, so in the spring of 1982 the balance of the Chateau Puryear Vineyard was planted to Chardonnay. The first crop from these grapes was sold to another winery which included it in their award winning Chardonnay.
In the summer of 1985, the Puryears decided the time was right to
start their own winery. In six hectic weeks the winery was built and
equipped. Final approval from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and
Firearms was received one day before the first crush and BONAIR
WINERY, BW WA 121, was born with a first-year production of 1500
gallons. The 1993 crush was about 14,000 gallons. Since most of the
wine is sold directly from the winery, production will only expand
The Wines: (Spring 1996)
Gail Puryear 1985-present
Ken Rehkopf (asst. winemaker) 1991(?)-present
Of special note:
The vineyards and winery are a family operation and are great fun to visit. Gail is the winemaker and Shirley the general manager. Visitors are welcome at the winery daily from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Enjoy a country picnic in the picnic area or in the gazebo. Midwinter the winery is open on weekends and Monday holidays or by chance. Large tours and special tastings may be arranged in advance.
Bonair Winery produces small lots of premium Washington State wines. The latest equipment and technology are combined with traditional wine-making methods to ensure varietal characteristics. The winery expects to produce a consistently excellent product while emphasizing the difference of each unique vintage. All wines are bottled in traditional containers and cork finished.
The label is the work of designer David Lund. It pictures Chateau Puryear, which was designed and built by Gail and Shirley in 1980. Mt. Adams is in the background. Bonair will also make custom labels for weddings, etc.
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