In 1983, with a small truckload of borrowed fruit and a rented cellar, Rob Griffin and his wife Deborah Barnard established Barnard Griffin Winery. More than 35 years later, Barnard Griffin has grown to become one the most enduring and award-winning wineries in Washington. Knowing his life’s passion at an early age, Rob enrolled at the University of California, Davis when he was just 17 years old. He worked diligently to earn his Bachelor’s degree in Fermentation Science with the dream of becoming a winemaker. After gaining a few years of experience in the Napa Valley, Rob took a leap of faith and traveled to Washington State. At that time, the region was unexplored and those who dared to grow wine grapes were considered pioneers in the wild-west of winemaking.
Nearly half of Barnard Griffin’s wine production comes from their estate vineyard, Caroway, in the Columbia Valley. The remaining fruit is sourced from some of this valley’s best vineyards. Situated in the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia Valley accounts for 99% of viniferous acreage in Washington. The rain shadow, along with the cataclysmic events of the Missoula Floods, contribute to great soil diversity. Most sites are situated below floodwater, where well-aerated sand with loess over basalt is ideal for viticulture.