Rob Griffin of Barnard Griffin Winery
When Rob Griffin came from California to Washington in 1977 to make wine, many people thought he was crazy. There were only two wineries at the time in Eastern WA, and one of them, Preston Wines, had offered Rob a job as head winemaker. He came north to get winemaking experience, assuming he’d return to California in a couple of years. More than 40 years later, he’s firmly rooted in Richland, Washington where he and his wife Deborah started their Barnard Griffin label in 1983. They began in rented space with fruit borrowed from a friend, and didn’t have their own facility until 1997. Today that Richland facility includes a tasting room, lovely restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating, and fused glass studio that offers classes for every level of experience. Production has grown from several hundred cases of white wines, to over 70,000 cases of white, red, rosé, and port wines. Barnard Griffin is now one of the two largest family owned wineries in the state.
From the beginning, Rob’s goal has been to make wines of consistent high quality at affordable prices. His signature white, red and port wines range in price from $10 to $17, and are amazing for their quality, consistency and character. The Rosé of Sangiovese has won many awards, and all 16,000+ cases are sometimes sold out by July. Rob also makes Reserve and special release wines available mostly at the tasting room or through the wine club. For great wines with a humorous nod to the Rhone, his Côtes du Rôb and Côtes du Rôb Blanc are must tries at the tasting room. No trip to wine country would be complete without lunch or dinner at The Kitchen at Barnard Griffin, where one experiences live music on the weekends, a choice of Barnard Griffin wines, and food that’s “globally influenced, regionally sourced.” Listen to the interview to learn more about Barnard Griffin wines and the history or our WA wine industry from the state’s longest continuing winemaker.
Listen to the Interview: