Why we're here. Growing up on our father's farm, we've always loved agriculture and the rural way of life. Our family's farming tradition goes back many generations and we want to build on that, but also make it our own and pass it to our kids one day.
We are passionate about wine. Our expansion into wine comes from this obsession but also from our desire to add value to our fruits and diversify the business of our family's existing berry farm. A winery, we thought, would be a simple next step.
But it wasn't so simple.
Starting from scratch. In 2000, we began building. Our winery was not to be in the mild, dry Columbia or Yakima Valleys, but rather in the cool, damp Nooksack River Valley in the northernmost corner of Washington's Puget Sound Appellation.
Our plans were modest--not to create an elegant chateau (at least not right away!) but rather to convert an old dirt-floored dairy barn to an up-to-date winery and upscale tasting room at one of our father's raspberry fields near Lynden, Washington.
Dhar started the exasperating task of obtaining permits and regulatory approvals, while Rob along with some outside help applied old-fashioned elbow grease mucking out cobwebs and sawdust from the old cow parlors.
Acquiring the craft. Meanwhile, under the watchful tutelage and expertise of Canadian born, UC Davis-trained winemaker Ron Taylor, Rob developed product, fermenting batch after batch, testing, tasting, and learning.
Open at last. On June 8, 2002, the winery's doors opened. There were wines for sale and a place for folks to taste them. We called it Samson Estates in honor of our father, Sam.
We built a sparkling stainless steel production floor replete with oak barrels and a viewing window for visitors. Our lovely public tasting room has wood beams, fire hearth, and terracotta tile in warm welcoming colors. The patio, for warm weather picnicking and wine bibbing, has a view of our fields and the Cascade Mountains.
Family matters. As you can see, family is of the utmost importance to us.
Rob is the winemaker and horticulturist and manages not only Samson Estates, but our Dad’s berry farm as well. Dhar does winery administration and marketing, while working full time in nearby British Columbia.
Fruit of the vine and vineless wines. We offer several viniferous varieties, using only Washington State grapes; off-dry fruit wines, and dessert wines from local berries and hazelnuts.
We're most excited about our fruit wines, not only the traditional dessert varieties, but our quaffable, true to the fruit, off-dry berry wines that have already begun to get notice and win awards. Because of the right soils, mild winters and cool summers, the Nooksack River Valley grows 65 percent of the raspberries grown in North America. To be able to grow our own fruit (or buy it from our neighbors) is one of the exciting community aspects of what we're doing.