Townshend Cellar is dedicated to producing quality wines from the state of Washington. Our wines derive their distinctive flavors from extensive oak aging in small French and American oak barrels and the selection of grapes from some of the finest vineyards in the Columbia Valley. We also produce a truly unique Huckleberry port-style wine made from Wild North Idaho Huckleberries.
Our story at Townshend Cellar started with a winery in Tri-Cities, an air chiller unit, and fruit. In 1979, Don Townshend was working with Preston Winery on installing an air chiller unit for their winery and was exposed to wine making for the first time. With no previous experience in the wine industry, Don was intrigued about the industry and the wine making process. Nearly ten years later in 1987, Don moved to the Green Bluff area North of Spokane. Where he moved into a home surrounded by local fruit growers of apples, apricots, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, and pears. By 1990, Don started toying with the idea of opening a small business on his property where he would make wine completely from locally grown fruit. After analyzing the complexity and cost of making fruit wine, he determined that making fruit wine would be far too difficult because of the price he would have to charge for the wine. For now, Don shelved the idea of becoming a fruit wine maker...but the story doesn't end there.
With the thought of winemaking routinely on Don's mind, he was determined not to give up on the idea of becoming a winemaker. The idea of making fruit wine from locally grown farmers soon shifted to making traditional wine from grapes. In 1995, Don made a barrel of Cabernet and Merlot. Three years later, in 1998, he bottled the wine. As he recalls, the wine..."was as good as any California or Washington wine I had ever had. That was all it took. I filled out the paperwork and started my winery immediately." And Townshend Cellar was born!
In October 2001, Townshend Cellar released its first vintage of the 1998 Cabernet, 1998 Merlot, a 2001 Chardonnay, and a Huckleberry Port he made from pure locally grown Huckleberries. The wines were an immediate success with wine consumers and with wine experts at competitions. In 2003, Townshend's 1998 Cabernet (his first wine ever produced) won the Wine Press Northwest's Fab Cab Award. Competing against higher priced and much older and experienced wineries. The award showed the incredible natural ability of Don's winemaking.
Don's two sons, Michael and Brendon, also are deeply involved in the wine business, making Townshend Cellar a truly family run operation. Don hopes someday that his sons will someday take the helm of the winery. But for now, in between school, his two sons will keep their titles of "Official Corker" and "Official Filler."
Today, Jill Rider is the general manager of Townshend Cellar and manages the tasting room, private tasting parties, events, and marketing for the winery. The winery has grown from two barrels of wine in 1998 to over 10,000 cases of wine today and offers over 20 different wines. We invite you to explore our wines and become a part of the Townshend Cellar wine experience. Our story is as unique as the wines we offer.