After cashing in his retirement fund and waving goodbye to the life of a propane industry corporate executive, Joel Tefft purchased a quiet vineyard in the Yakima Valley of Washington State in 1987 in pursuit of a more rewarding lifestyle and his dream of producing distinctive, quality wine.
Joel’s first vintage (1989) was made in his garage, as the winery building was not completed until July 1991, the same year in which Tefft Cellars was officially established. The stately blue heron, a frequent visitor to the vineyard from a nearby rookery, has served as the winery’s logo since the early days.
In the Spring of 2009 Joel sold Tefft Cellars to Paul Tollner and Rhonda Taylor, two people who shared Joel’s passions for quality wine and forging a more rewarding lifestyle for their families. Joel spent the next year introducing the new owners to the seasonal rhythms of the vineyard and winery operations. A broken irrigation line, stalled tractor or chaotic harvest day was always accompanied by his dry smile, slow nod and the inevitable “it’s a lifestyle.”
In the fall of 2009, Tefft Cellars opened a tasting room in Woodinville, both to make its wines more accessible to fans living in the population centers of Western Washington and to be a part of Woodinville’s impressive & energetic collection of wineries and tasting rooms.
Paul & Rhonda, co-founders of a nationwide background screening firm in their prior lives, are joined by their spouses and children in the labors of the winery, vineyard and tasting room operations. “Il suo stile de vita!” Tefft Cellars is a lifestyle. It is a way of life with foundations in quality vineyard care, an artisan’s approach to wine making and a sincere appreciation for the efforts of its employees. By keeping these values dear, Tefft Cellars is able to deliver wines of amazing value and complexity to its customers.