RICHLAND--When the definitive history of Washington's wine industry is written, Rob Griffin will be one of the heroes. As we wrote back in May about the results of the Sunset Wine Competition:
Warm days, cool evenings. Aperitifs overlooking the lawn, burgers on patio. The big winner from Washington was Barnard Griffin, with two best-of-class wines, a Rosé of Sangiovese and a Merlot. Winemaker Rob Griffin, the gent at the top left, started at Preston, moved to Hogue, and established his own brand a full 30 years ago.And here he is, at his elegant new facility in the Tri-Cities, as energetic, as humble, as insistent as ever that his job is only to guide, not to mandate what the wine wants to become.
And yet, 70,000 cases? Maybe he knows something the rest of us don't. About what will sell, about what, say, Metropolitan Market will buy, about tulips? He is generous in his praise for others in the industry ("I'm impressed with what Precept has done"), full of plans for even more expansion beyond the Tulip Lane facility (a joint venture to be announced shortly), and enthusiastic about his relationship with Seattle Opera (custom bottlings called "Das Vinegold" and "Red of the Valkyries"). Meantime, almost all the Tulip label wines at the tasting room hit that "magic" price point of $16.95
Barnard Griffin Winery, 878 Tulip Lane, Richland, 509-627-0266