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Production: 6,000 cases/year
Vineyards: 6 acres (Chasselas, Muller Thurgau, Madeline Angevine, Siegerrebe, Pinot Gris, and plums, blueberries, and rhubarb); some grapes and fruits purchased from Prosser (Cabernet, Chardonnay, Merlot, Lemberger), Okanogan (Chasselas from Quail's Gate Vineyard), and the local area (Pinot Noir from McCauley Creek Vineyards)
Distribution: limited (60% of production is sold wholesale); wine may be found in a few northern Puget Sound restaurants)
Mount Baker Vineyards was started in 1978 by Al Stratton, a retired military man. He began making fruit wines as well as white wines from Germanic grapes. The winery was successful in negotiating a contract to ship plum wine to Japan, which helped the winery to grow for several years.
In 1989, Stratton sold the winery and a small estate vineyard to Randy Finley, a businessman whose year-long vacation in France has whetted his appetite for the wine industry. (A larger vineyard was sold separately, and later the grapes were pulled out.) Finley took over winemaking duties, continuing with fruit wines and adding some traditional northwest varietals made from Eastern Washington grapes. He has also adopted new growing techniques with his estate vineyards, and will be planting Pinot Noir grapes soon (Pinot Gris was recently planted). The winery is also building a new warehouse for storage of barrels, empty tanks, and cases.
Assistant Winemaker/Vineyard Manager: Philippe Renaud
The Wines: Current releases (Fall 1996)
Al Stratton 1978-1989
Randy Finley 1989-present
Of special note:
Mount Baker Vineyards sponsors several special events during the year, especially "Art in the Vineyard", held in August, and the annual "Grape Stomp" in September.
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