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Washington Wine Month 1st Stop: Columbia Winery

Welcome to the beginning of our journey through the plethora of wineries Washington has to offer in honor of Washington Wine Month.

To start our trip off right, we had to start at the beginning.

Introducing Columbia Winery, the winery that started it all in Washington.


Founded in 1962 by ten friends, six of whom were University of Washington professors, Columbia Winery is Washington State’s first premium winery. Originally known as Associated Vintners, the group was united in the belief that classic European vinifera vines would thrive in the Washington climate and that fine wine could be made in Washington State.

They began by making their wines in the garage of Dr. Lloyd Woodburne, Columbia Winery’s first winemaker, in the Seattle neighborhood of Laurelhurst.

The results far exceeded their expectations.

Columbia Winery has since grown steadily over the past 50 years as a leader in Washington’s burgeoning wine industry. Distribution now includes exports to Canada, Europe and the Pacific Rim.

Master of Wine, David Lake

One man that helped to make that possible was Master of Wine, David Lake.

In 1979, he joined Columbia Winery as winemaker and continued the pioneering spirit of Columbia Winery’s founders. He is most renowned for his experimentation with new varietals and for producing the first series of vineyard-designated wines in Washington. Lake was the first winemaker to produce Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris.

Lake was deemed “Dean of Washington Winemakers” by both Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine, because he believed in the synergy between art and science, and continued the founders’ tradition of innovation.

Tragically, Lake passed away in 2009, leaving behind a legacy for Washington.

All About the Grapes and Vineyard:

Columbia Winery has established a reputation for producing Washington State wines of remarkable quality and boasts an extensive wine selection. In addition to crafting notable red wines such as Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Winery offers distinctive dry white wines such as Chardonnay, Semillon and Pinot Gris as well as the popular Riesling and Gewurztraminer.

Columbia Winery’s vineyards lie on the same latitudes as the premium wine-producing areas of Europe and the winery continues to strive to produce distinctive Washington wines from European vinifera grapes grown in the Columbia and Yakima Valley regions of eastern Washington .

The area’s long, hot, sunny days and cool, clear nights are ideal to produce grapes full of complex flavors and aromas.

About the Wines:

Columbia Winery offers an extensive portfolio of wines. Their wines exhibit the rich fruit flavors indicative of Washington from the refreshing Cellarmaster’s Riesling to the rounded berry-filled Merlot to the smoky Syrah. Wine lovers will find that each wine has a superb balance of fruit and acidity to complement any meal or occasion.

Be sure to check out Columbia Winery for yourself by visiting their website at or by making a trip to their tasting room.

14030 NE 145th Street
PO Box 1248
Woodinville, WA 98072

Phone Numbers:

Tasting Room
425-482-7490 or 800-488-2347  

Internet & Phone Orders

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    Theresa Dillon

    Theresa Dillon
    Theresa Dillon earned her bachelor’s degree in print journalism from the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU. In her spare time she enjoys reading, attending concerts, weekly trivia nights, watching movies (especially her favorite The Wizard of Oz), and of course wine.