Dr. Wade Wolfe

Although Wade Wolfe majored in bio-chemistry as an undergraduate, an Introduction to Wines for Americans class he took in the 1960s at the University of California at Davis launched him on a career in the wine industry.  He decided to pursue doctoral work in viticultural studies, and also took classes in winemaking.  In 1978, he came to Washington to accept a job as technical viticulturalist for Chateau Ste Michelle, and by the early 1980s he and Walter Clore were working to create the Columbia Valley AVA.  Wade and his wife Rebecca opened Thurston Wolfe Winery in Yakima in 1987, which was the first winery in Yakima.  They moved the winery to Prosser in 1996, where it exists today in Prosser’s Vintners’ Village.

Wade is passionate about exploring lesser known varietals to see how they will do in WA state.  For example,  he was one of the first to recommend planting Albarino in WA, and he makes an Albarino wine.  His PGV white wine is an unusual and delicious blend of pinot gris and viognier.  He also makes blends and single varietal wines with Lemberger, Zinfandel, and Petite Sirah.  Even his Rosé  is typically made with Lemberger.  The Thurston Wolfe Port is one of the best in the state, and since 2011 has been made with 100% Touriga Nacional.  Listen to this interview to learn about the role of sub-appellations, the potential for additional vineyard acreage in WA, why Lemberger is an ideal varietal for Rosé, how WA and CA Zinfandel differ, and much more.