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Production: ? cases
In 1951 Lloyd Woodburne picked up winemaking as a hobby. Dr. Phillip Church, a meteorologist friend of Woodburne did extensive weather pattern and grape variety research, and they convinced a group of winemaker friends to buy five acres in Sunnyside. These 10 men individually produced their own wines from their portion of the vineyard. I believe they became a bonded winery in 1962.
In 1966, the wine writer Leon Adams visited and tasted some of Woodburne's wine and responded with great enthusiasm about its quality and he suggested they start a winery. A year later, Andre Tchelitscheff was served one of Woodburne's Gewurtztraminer wines with a salmon dinner and was enthralled. This was enough to push the group into a winery project.
In 1972 a 60 (80?) acre farm was purchased and two more stockholders were added. The initial planting of 25 acres was mostly destroyed over the first winter by abnormally severe weather.
The winery operated out of a small warehouse in Kirkland under the name of Associated Vintners as a communal weekend project until 1976 (Woodburne became the first full-time employee) when they moved to a much larger facility in Redmond and doubled their volume. The name was changed from Associated Vintners to Columbia Winery in 1984.
The Spirit of Washington Wine Train now stops at Columbia Winery.
In 1995, Columbia bought out
Paul Thomas Winery, which at
this writing no longer has any public tasting room, though the Paul Thomas
wines are available for tasting at Columbia's tasting room. In March 1996,
Columbia bought Covey Run Vintners,
who have maintained their Zillah facilities. In 1997, they've
acquired another winery, this one a very large one, 125k cases per year --
Chateau Ste. Chappelle in Idaho.
The Wines: (Spring 1996)
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