Distribution: three liquor stores (Centralia, Chehalis, Lacey); three grocery stores (Fuller's)
Joel began making wine as an amateur in 1990, purchasing "Buffalo" red grapes and Palomino (white sherry) grapes from a group of amateur winemakers in Seattle. Although these wines were well made and popular with the amatuer group, Joel was disappointed with the results.
The next year he began making wines from vinifera grapes from Yakima Valley, working with Virgil Fox (now owner of Birchfield Winery), while continuing to pursue a career in real estate appraising. Joel met with many Eastern Washington winemakers, and studied texts from University of California-Davis' viticulture program, to improve his winemaking skills. In 1994 Joel and Virgil decided to start a commercial venture, but soon went their separate ways to open their own wineries.
His first commercial wine was produced in 1996, the year he also built the winery building next door to his home outside of Centralia.
Widgeon Hill found it's name when Joel and his brother-in-law were looking for property to buy, and they saw a flock of widgeons (ducks) flying overhead. Bero, the friendly winery German Shepard dog, will greet you as you approach the winery.
The Wines: Current releases (Fall 1997)
Joel Mills 1996-present
Of special note:
Joel tries to use plenty of oak barrels (both American and French) in which to age his wines, preferably for 18 to 20 months.
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