Cheers to the Women of Washington Wine

Here in the Tri-Cities we’re not just celebrating women this March—we’re also celebrating Washington Wine! March is the perfect time to recognize women of Washington wine. From owners and winemakers to tasting room and wine club managers, women make the Tri-Cities wine scene a “must visit” destination for wine aficionados.

Join us in raising your glass in celebration of a few of the women who are vital to the Tri-Cities wine industry. Cheers!

Women & Wine

Anelare Winery (Italian for “desire” or “yearn for”) is a boutique winery in Benton City led by Proprietor Kahryn Campbell and General Manager Kim Gravenslund. These two women have created an amazing wine experience through exceptional customer service and, of course, great Washington wine.

Established in 1983 by Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard, the Barnard Griffin name is synonymous with Washington wine. Rob, the longest practicing winemaker in Washington state, is conveying his years of knowledge to daughter Megan Hughes, assistant winemaker and enologist. And it’s not just great wine, Deborah is an accomplished fused glass artist and oversees the db Glass Studio—the only glass studio on a winery campus in the world. The studio offers classes fit for any skill level. Barnard Griffin is a popular gathering place because of their creative programming and events, thanks to Liz Woerman, Director of Hospitality.

Shae Frichette of Frichette Winery is a local Tri-Cities celebrity thanks to her dynamic personality, famous hospitality and involvement in the community. Shae and her husband Greg have curated a reputation for great wine paired with “edutainment” and award-winning customer service, literally. Kathy Nutt, Wine Club Concierge, received the 2021 Visit Tri-Cities Excellence in Service Award because of her dedication to an outstanding customer experience. Stop by this welcoming tasting room on Red Mountain to enjoy wine, hospitality and learn how Frichette Winery came to be with the flip of a coin.

Hedges Family Estate sits on an elevated section of Red Mountain, with a French Chateau overlooking the winery’s biodynamically farmed vineyards. Sarah Hedges Goedhart, daughter of founders Anne Marie and Tom Hedges, has led the winemaking team at Hedges Family Estate since 2015. Her creative approaches to winemaking have led to award-winning wines.

Kelly Hightower of Hightower Cellars, not too far up the road from Hedges, began her winemaking journey with a glass of cabernet and a book. Knowing this was her destiny, Kelly and her husband Tim founded Hightower Cellars in 1997 in Woodinville before moving their operations to Red Mountain in 2002. The Hightowers are known for making wines that taste distinctly Red Mountain—meaning powerful and well-balanced. While the skills of the Hightowers and the exceptional wine grapes of Red Mountain can take much of the credit for their amazing wines, the efforts of their winery dog, Riley, only add to the hospitality and success of Hightower Cellars.

We are successful women in wine, but there's women behind us on our team that make us look great and make us successful. Amy Johnson, Purple Star

Amy Johnson and her husband Kyle of Purple Star Wines are known for their delicious and approachable wines. With their tasting room situated among winemaking operations, visitors often have the opportunity to talk wine with Amy and enjoy an immersive experience. Amy relies on her team, made up predominantly of women, to make Purple Star a great visitor experience.

Wautoma Springs in Prosser’s Vintners’ Village is led by Winemaker Jessica Munnell and General Manager Rachel Mercer. Jessica started her career in viticulture, then went on to winemaking for renowned wineries such as Ste. Michelle Canoe Ridge and Mercer Estates before settling into her own label. With the palate and culinary creativity of Rachel, Wautoma Springs is tasting experience that can’t be missed.

Other woman-influenced and/or -operated wineries in the Tri-Cities include Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard & Winery, Gordon Estate Winery, Kitzke Cellars, Longship Cellars, Market Vineyards, Red Mountain Trails Winery, Tagaris Winery, Terra Blanca Winery & Estate Vineyard, Thurston Wolfe Winery and Upchurch Vineyard.

Tri-IDEAs is a program exploring and celebrating Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility through tourism in the Tri-Cities.

At Visit Tri-Cities, we believe travel is transformative on multiple levels. Exploring new destinations exposes us to different ideas, cultures, history, heritages and people. Through Tri-IDEAs, Visit Tri-Cities will connect with local business owners, community leaders, event organizers, residents and more to highlight, share and celebrate the diversity of the Tri-Cities that can be experienced through travel and tourism activities.