By Kori ~ June 16th, 2009.
Townshend Cellar, located north of Spokane in Colbert, Washington, was founded in 1998 by owner/winemaker Don Townshend. An engineer by background and trade, Don first got hooked on the wine business while doing an engineering job for Preston Premium Wines in Pasco in 1979. He moved to the Green Bluff area near Spokane where Townshend Cellars is now located in 1987 and began toying with the idea of making fruit wines. Ultimately, he decided that it made more sense to make traditional grape wines and made his first barrel in 1995. Excited by how his first batch turned out, Don finally made the decision to start his own winery. Now he makes over twenty different wines and produces about 16,000 cases per year.
We had the pleasure to meet Don Townshend at the Spokane wineries tasting hosted by Barrister Winery over Memorial Day weekend. While most wineries bring two or three wines to such a tasting, Don brought his entire twenty wine lineup. We discussed all of them and tasted nine. If you are looking for quality wines at great prices, you should seek out his wines. Townshend Cellar offers great value; all nine of their wines that we tasted had a QPR of 4 or 5 bangs for your buck. Our favorites were the T3 Red Wine, originally produced as a restaurant only wine but now available to the public, and the 2001 Cabernet Sauvignon. The T3 Red Wine is actually a non-vintage wine made from three varietals (43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 17% Cabernet Franc) from three vineyards and from three different vintages.
Don has kept his day job selling commercial air conditioners. Having that extra income has allowed him to employ a director of sales and marketing, Jill Rider. Also involved in the business are Donâ€™s two sons, Michael and Brendon, who Don hopes will someday take over for him and continue the Townshend Cellar legacy.
Over the past decade, Townshend Cellar has grown so much that now in addition to his Colbert location, Don also shares a large production facility with Preston Wines in Pasco. The Townshend Cellar tasting room is still located at their original location near Spokane, and Don has purchased additional land in the Green Bluff area with plans for a new tasting room and expanded production facilities.
If you are in Spokane, be sure to stop by Townshend Cellar to sample their wines. And regardless of whether you are able to visit or not, be sure to try some Townshend wines.
Filed under: American Wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, Five-Bangs For Your Buck Wines, Red Wine, Spotlight On, Washington State Wine