While Yakima may be one of the biggest contributors to Washington’s wine industry, with nearly 40% of the yearly wine production, they’re not the only ones around getting in on the action of the delicious libations creation. There are plenty of wineries throughout the state showcasing craftsmanship in the wine-making community, and some of those wineries are right here in our very own Tri-Cities area.
Badger Mountain Organic Winery
1106 N. Jurupa St., Kennewick
The first vineyard to be marked USDA Certified Organic in Washington is Kennewick’s very own Badger Mountain Organic Winery. Founded in 1982 by legendary and late Bill Powers, the winery earned the certification in 1990, just three years after Bill had committed himself to organic viticulture and wine production. It was a vision that began after Bill saw the importance of our responsibility to the environment and extended to produce a completely natural product under their Badger Mountain Vineyard label.
The year 2022 marks their 40th anniversary, and they couldn’t be more thrilled, planning a string of upcoming events to celebrate the occasion, including a Spring Barrel Party on April 23 and a Cinco de Mayo Celebration on May 5.
Bookwalter Winery and Richland Tasting Room
1695 Malibu PR NE, Richland
Deep roots, family heritage, and a centuries-old commitment to the land are the three main qualities that make up J. Bookwalter Winery and Richland Tasting Room. Ten generations of the Bookwalter family have been involved in American agriculture, but they didn’t get into viticulture until generation nine. That was when Jerry Bookwalter, father of current company president John Bookwalter, led the family into the business. Jerry himself graduated from UC-Davis in 1963 and then spent 13 years farming in California’s San Joaquin Valley afterward. Eventually, he moved his family to the Tri-Cities in 1976 and once there, he firmly stamped the Bookwalter name on the state’s emerging wine industry.
From 1976 until 1982, Jerry helped manage three iconic vineyards’ plantings, Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Dionysus. It was then, in 1982, that he leveraged his vineyard connections and industry knowledge to start the J. Bookwalter Winery. Today, J. Bookwalter has grown from one of Washington’s oldest wineries into one of the Pacific Northwest’s most recognized boutique wine brands.
844 Tulip Lane, Richland
Fine dining of fresh Mediterranean food paired with world-class wine in a cozy little spot where you can experience luxury uncorked is at Tagaris Winery in Richland. Their story actually began nearly a thousand years ago and 26 generations back, when Emanuel Tagaris, the Commander in Chief of the Greek Army during the Byzantine Era, became a member of the royal family by marrying the King’s niece. He then encouraged his new family to plant their first vineyards and started the family tradition of wine-making in the 1300s. Many generations later, the family made its way over to America and picked their years of generational farming up in Washington.
Now Michael Tagaris presently farms approximately 2,400 acres as well as the winery. They work to bridge the information gap between farmer and consumer at the winery, showcasing their commitment to representing local farmers and purveyors. All their produce is bought exclusively from a collection of amazing local farmers while working hard to make the wine for their dinner guests. In the end, it all comes together to create a decadent meal and delicious wine pairing.
404 Bradley Blvd., Suite 100, Richland
In the center of Washington wine country is the family-owned and operated Longship Cellars. They have been specializing in hand-crafted, barrel-aged red wines since 2013, mainly focusing on the production of Tempranillo, Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon and a splash of various white wines.
The name, Longship, is a nod to their family’s Scandinavian heritage, as well as the symbol they proudly showcase of a Viking Longship, which they feel boldly embodies their journey to produce some of the finest wines in the Pacific Northwest. Since then, they have added a tasting room to create a space for the community while also featuring their wine. These tastings are offered until 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday and so venture in for a glass.
8101 W 10th Ave., Kennewick
Tri-Cities native Steve Sauer brings an easy vibe and a sense of passion to his Farmhand Winery, where he works hard to provide community members with a world-class wine tasting experience. Steve grew up working in the family orchard since he was a young boy. It was there that he developed a deep connection to the land and immense respect for this valuable resource. His farming expertise, combined with his sensibility, has enriched his passion for growing grapes and producing exquisite wine in the Columbia Valley region. The end product he serves is a fun yet complex drink that’s easily enjoyed and leaves you wanting more.
Of course, these aren’t the only wineries offering sweet sips in the Tri-Cities. Others like Wicked Cider, Kitzke Cellars, and Bartholomew Winery also call the area home. Forget the Bar Crawl. It’s time for a Wine Walk in the Tri-Cities.