Spokane Journal of Business

Winery to debut first vintages

Greenbluff’s Townshend Cellars produces Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, port

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A new Spokane winery, Townshend Cellars, is getting ready to release its first wines this fall.

Townshend Cellars (pronounced Townsend) is located on the Greenbluff property of its owners, Don and Michelle Townshend. The couple founded the winery in 1998, but couldnt release its first products until the wines, some of which had been aging here in barrels, were ready, Don Townshend says.

In October or November, Townshend Cellars plans to release a 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon, a 1998 Merlot, a 2000 Chardonnay, and a 1996 huckleberry port, he says. Those products likely will be sold in restaurants, by mail order, and over the Internet. The winery, he says, doesnt anticipate selling its wines through grocery stores because it doesnt intend to produce the wines in large enough quantities to serve that market. I hope to never get above 1,500 cases total, Townshend says.

The retail price of the red wines is expected to be in the mid-$30 range, while the Chardonnay likely will sell in the upper teens, he says.

To produce its wine, Townshend Cellars bought grapes from growers in the Tri-Cities area and had them custom crushed and pressed there, he says. The red wines already have been bottled locally, while the Chardonnay will be bottled in the near future. The huckleberry port was the tiny winerys first venture into the professional wine business, as a cooperative bottling with Preston Wine Cellars, in Pasco, Wash. Townshend Cellars supplied the huckleberries and Preston created the port.

Well split the production in halftheyll take half, and Ill take half, Townshend says.

Townshend, who also sells commercial air-conditioning systems, says he has invested about $250,000 in the winery and his inventory.

The 2000, 2001 is sitting there, aging in barrels right now, he says. My intent in the whole wine thing is to have fairly long barrel-aged wines, and it costs a lot of extra money and time.

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