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Whitestone Winery

An accidental discovery or a destiny finally fulfilled? Hailed as one of the best growing regions in the state in 1970 the Lake Roosevelt area (formed by the creation of the Grand Coulee Dam) remained virtually unplanted until the accidental discovery in 1992. Walter and Judy Haig were flipping through a scrapbook from the original homesteader that listed an old US Agriculture map identifying what crops were planted in 1900.  Wine grapes were on the list and the journey to fulfill the lands destiny began.

The Haig family wine story began with providing world-class grapes to wineries across the state through 2004. With the 2005 vintage, son Michael Haig, took over vineyard and winemaking responsibilities. It’s obvious in talking with Mike that he loves his fruit and he loves the process. “My job is to stay out of the way and produce wine that tells the story of the vintage.”  “Too often,” he says, “wineries try to make a wine that doesn’t fit the style of the grapes they have.”  We talked about fads in the wine industry and Michael is a believer in staying true to what his vineyard produces (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc.) “We are 100% estate grown. We don’t buy grapes from anyone.” A fact he is very proud of and the only one in the city that can make this claim.

Whitestone has a tasting room, storage facility, and production facility in Wilbur, WA (about 16 miles from the vineyard). In April 2009, they opened a tasting room at 111 S. Cedar in West Downtown’s Carnegie Square. “Business has been great, but every day we still hear from people who had no idea we’re here.”  Part of the successful launch can be attributed to Whitestone’s commitment to Social Media like Twitter and Facebook. Whitestone is successfully taking advantage of this medium to connect with their customers to drive brand loyalty. Mike, a self-professed techie says, “With Facebook we can post an event notice and see immediately who has responded.”  Visit their website, or become their friend on Facebook to learn about their live music series at the Spokane Tasting Room. October through March, we feature food, wine and music.

Currently producing 2400 cases per year, they are pursuing a new production facility – preferably right on the vineyard. Haig says, “Too often people are pre-occupied with being the ‘next’ Chateau St. Michelle or whatever, I want to be the ‘first’ Michael Haig. Whitestone is finally seeing the destiny of the land fulfilled 40 years after its original proclamation.

Location: 111 S. Cedar

Hours: Thursday – Saturday 12-6pm (later on First Friday)

Phone: 509.838.2427

Website: www.whitestonewinery.com

Twitter: @pieces_of_red

Facebook: Facebook.com/WhitestoneWinery

This article was published in the November 2010 issue of Spokane Wine Magazine


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