MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
Covey Run Vintners
1500 Vintage Road, Zillah, WA 98953
Phone: 509-829-6235

[Label source: Beth Schoenberg]
  • Tours: ?
  • Tasting room: ?
  • Official website: http://www.coveyrun.com/
  • BW-WA-?; bonded 1982(?)
  • Owners: Associated Vintners
Click here for map/directions.
YVWGA member winery
Page last updated: 4-May-2003, Page generated: 11-Sep-2005

Old label
Closed Kirkland
tasting room
Production: (1995-capacity) 90k gals, (1989) 38k cases, (1986) 38k cases
Vineyards: 100 acres

In the fall of 1979, Jack Inions asked his friend Alan Mortensen (then head of Eastern Washington vineyards for Ste. Michelle), about planting wine grapes in a field he owned with three of his associates. Alan refered them to Stan Clarke (then in charge of grower relations for CSM), who looked over the site and made some suggestions. Two years later they approached Stan with their vineyard ready to train up and no vineyard manager -- he took them up on their offer! In Fall of 1981 Stan also worked for Tucker Cellars and made their first vintage.

The Quail Run Vintners founders were Jack Inions, Gary Remy, Chuck Bohlke, and Charles Holtzinger; Stan started with them in May of 1981. (The Holtzinger family runs a notable fruit packing company in the valley.) In 1982, with about 100 acres of grapes and new partners the Willard Family (Leon and Helen, and son Jim and Karla) of Prosser joining the partnership, Quail Run became a reality. They gave Stan (a U.C. Davis grad) the chance of a lifetime -- free reign to design the entire deal from ground up! In 1982 they brought in winemaker Wayne Marcil, another U.C. Davis grad who had been winemaker at the Monteray Penninsula winery in California. Wayne had a severe biking accident in 1987 and moved to Preston Vineyards. David Crippen (yet another U.C. Davis grad, with experience at CA's Kendall-Jackson Winery) was brought on as the winemaker begining in 1988.

Stan intended to capture the market with a great riesling, which was where the market was heading at the time, but it seems that White Zinfandel took all the Riesling customers. 1984 and 1985 were very small years of production, but by 1986 the grapes really started pouring in. However, many of them were Riesling, Chenin blanc, and Gewurztraminer, and sales were tough. Stan did bring to market varietal bottlings of both Aligote and Morio Muskat and the first label approval for a WA Lemberger. Stan left in early 1989 to work for Hyatt Vineyards.

In 1986 Quail Ridge (a California winery) was upset that people kept coming into their winery asking for Riesling and Morio Muskat (a Sylvaner, Pinot Blanc cross), so they contacted a big San Francisco law firm. When threatened with a huge lawsuit, it was decided that the prudent thing to do would be to change the name to Covey Run rather than fight. Soon afterwards, they were sued by an Idaho outfit that wanted to use the name "Covey Rise", but this one they fought and won.

In 1986 they had a satelite tasting room, urh, I mean a Sparkling wine facility in Kirkland (a Seattle suburb). They had this spot for several years (4 maybe) but it was eventually closed (click on photo above for more details).

They've since purchased Zillah Oakes Winery (1987). As of March 1996, Covey Run itself was purchased by Associated Vintners.

In 1999(?), Associated Vintners was bought out by spirits giant Canandaigua. At that time the facility was plundered of everything that wasn't bolted down (and some things that were), leaving only an empty shell with the lovely tasting room.

In 2001(?), Silver Lake managed to buy the facility and the approx. 200 acres just over the hill behind the winery. The story continues on the Silver Lake page.
Sources: [AWN-Clark] [WWAN-Meredith] [Stan Clarke] [AWN-Clark] [NwWG-Hill] [NwWW-Hill]

David Crippen 1988-1999
Wayne Marcil 1982-1987

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