Tim & Kelly Hightower of Hightower Cellars

A special book and alcoholic beverage law are responsible for getting Kelly and Tim Hightower interested in wine.  While carpooling between Columbia Winery and downtown Seattle, they hatched a business plan for Hightower Cellars, which began in a Woodinville Warehouse in 1997.  On this 20th anniversary they reflect back with no regrets and many awards for their red wines.  Red Mountain grapes were their choice of fruit from the beginning, and in 2002 they persuaded some original residents of the area to sell them 15 acres of ideal vineyard land.  Much to their surprise, they left Seattle behind and settled into a life of farming.

The original winery plan included one Cabernet wine.  Twenty years later, Tim and Kelly produce a variety of mostly Bordeaux varietal wines under two labels:  Hightower and Murray.  They share a winemaking philosophy that can be summed up by their motto “handpicked—handsorted—handmade.”  Although they source mainly from their estate vines for the Hightower wines, they also produce a Merlot from Pepperbridge Vineyards and most recently obtained some fruit from Red Willow Vineyards.  They’re committed to sustainable farming methods and building principles, as you can see from their very unique tasting room construction.  In this interview they reflect on their 20 years in the industry as a husband-wife team.

Listen to the Interview: