MikeL's Guide to WA Wineries
Tefft Cellars
1320 Independence Rd., Outlook, WA 98938
Phone: 509-837-7651, Fax: 509-839-7337

[label source: Beth Schoenberg]
  • Tours: When not too busy
  • Tasting room: Friday through Monday, noon 'til 5pm, or by appt.
  • Official website: http://www.TefftCellars.com/
  • email: click to email (winemaker)
  • BW-WA-182; Bonded: Nov-1991; first vintage 1989; Tasting room opened Mar-1992
  • Owners: Joel & Pam Tefft
Click here for map/directions.
YVWGA member winery
Page last updated: 15-Apr-2005, Page generated: 15-Apr-2005

Tefft Winery
Old Penguin label
2000 Viognier label
Newsletters: Apr 2005, Apr 2004, Apr 2003 (another), Apr 2003, Nov 2001 (.pdf 23k), Feb 2001, May 2000, Jun 1999, Mar 1999, Feb 1999, Nov 1998, Sep 1998, Jun 1998, May 1998, Mar 1998, Jan 1998, Fall 1997, Spring 1997.
(To display the .pdf files, you may download a free copy of Adobe Acrobat Reader from http://www.adobe.com/.)
Production: (1995) 4,000 cases
Vineyards: 4 acres
Distribution: Winery and limited Seattle Wine stores

In the early 1980's, Joel and Pam Tefft allowed their growing interest in wine to dictate a vacation to Washington State. They were so taken, that they moved to the Yakima Valley in early 1987 and purchased the current property. It had an existing concord grape vineyard which they're replanting with vinifera grapes. Their intent right from the beginning was to one day become a winery, which was achieved when the tasting room was opened in early 1992.

The first vintage (1989) was made in the garage as the winery building was not completed until July 1991. During those early years, they were both well entrenched in the Washington wine industry, Pam working for Stewart Vineyards as Bookkeeper and tasting room manager, and Joel working at Hyatt Vineyards as cellarmaster to Stan Clarke (started in 1990). When Stan left in 1993, Joel took over the winemaking duties. Joel left Hyatt in November 1994, so that he and Pam could both devote all their energies to Tefft Cellars.

In those first few years, Tefft Cellars made a few wines under the label of Penguin Cellars in cooperation with a friend, Mark Wysling. In 1991 Joel and Mark and also made a Cabernet Sauvignon Champagne under the "Jomar" label. This business relationship has now ended as Mark pursues his medical career and raises a family.

Pam and Joel have worked with many of the areas wineries giving them great practical knowledge and support, as well as short courses from UC Davis.

Tefft Cellars purchases 90% of their grapes from other valley vineyards. Their vineyards consist of: 1.5 acres Sangiovese 0.5 acres Syrah 1.0 acres Chenin Blanc 0.5 acres Nebbiolo 0.5 acres Marsanne 0.5 acres Viogne Joel is experimenting with these "starter plots" to see how these vines wlll do in their little micro-climate. His plans are to pull the remaining 10 acres of Concord grapes from his propertyin the next few years and replant with these varieties.
Sources: [the winery]

The Wines:
As the winery has an official website with detailed wine notes, I'll leave this section to them. Please visit the link (above) for current wine info.

Previous releases: Spring 1996.

Joel Tefft 1991 - present

Of special note:
Our belief in the future: We have planted small lots of unique varieties of wine grapes in our vineyard. These grapes will be used to produce limited quantities of hand-crafted, quality wines. Our motto being "ELEGANCE, FINESSE, HARMONY", we believe only a total commitment to the romance of winemaking can achieve a finished product that one can be proud of.

Calendar of special events 1996:

Chocolate and Red wine appreciation weekend February 17-19. Join us for specials on all our red wines served with handmade truffles to celebrate the occasion. Featured will be our premier release of Tefft Cellars 1994 Sangiovese.

March 15-17 Celebrate our 4 & 1/2 anniversary with the special pre-release sales of our 1994 Merlot.

June 15-16 Start Summer off with our special barbeque, call for details and reservations.

Stop by anytime to view the Yakima Valleys' newest mural. Muralist Janet Essley created a wonderful mural using the paintings of some of the great Impressionist painters to depict our image of the wine industry.

November 29-Dec 1 Nouveau Release

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