Get All Access for $5/mo

Blending Science and Art In Washington wine country, Bookwalter winery is producing elegant wines as they blend science and art.

Blending Science and Art

Bookwalter Winery
Richland, WA

The name Bookwalter, Mennonite Swiss for "tender of Beechwood forests," has also come to stand for "maker of very fine wines," thanks to Bookwalter Winery.

When Founder Jerry Bookwalter welcomed his son into the business in 1997, John brought with him ten years of marketing experience. John made some sweeping changes, and by the year 2000 he became the winemaker. That same year John hired Zelma Long, one of California's best-known winemakers, as a consultant. Zelma grew up in The Dalles, so it was no stretch for her to return to the Pacific Northwest.

"She maps the plays, I execute them on the field," says John using a football analogy. In addition to changing the way the grapes were handled, harvested, fermented, and barreled, Zelma and John also redid the label. The result of all this was overnight praise from many publications and increased standing, earning "Winery of the Year" in 2005 by Wine Press Northwest.

"Winemaking is a perfect blend of science and art," John says. "You can't produce a good wine without the use of both."

Recognizing that the greatest joy is in the tasting, John went about creating an ideal environment for discovering Bookwalter Winery's final product: a wine lounge. Now, wine tourers visiting the winery in Richland can relax in the bistro-like atmosphere of the only wine lounge in the state. Comfy chairs dot the lounge, and patio and wine tourers are encouraged to linger and enjoy the wines by the bottle or glass.

To enhance the experience, a menu featuring carefully selected Northwest cheeses, baguettes, balsamic vinegar dips, and chocolate tortes and truffles is offered. The winery offers a tasting studio in Woodinville as well, giving day-trippers from Seattle a chance to discover Bookwalter wines.

Today, when the name Bookwalter is mentioned, people are certainly more apt to think of a bottle of fine Merlot, Riesling, or Cabernet Sauvignon than a forest of Beechwood trees. And that's a very good thing.

What to Buy:
'06 Foreshadow Merlot Sandalwood, Bing cherries, resin, violets $38
'06 Columbia Valley Preface Merlot Black tea leaves, cherries, red currants $30
'06 Columbia Valley Preface Cabernet Sauvignon Caramel, black olives, plums, cherries $30


894 Tulip Lane
Richland, WA 99352
Tasting Room Open Sun 10-6; Mon-Tues 10-8; Wed-Sat 10-11

14810 NE 145th St. Bldg. B
Woodinville, WA 98072
Tasting Studio Open Sun-Thurs 12-5; Fri-Sat 11-6

Getting There:
Directions can be found on the website or by calling the winery.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.

Growing a Business

He Immigrated to the U.S. and Got a Job at McDonald's — Then His Aversion to Being 'Too Comfortable' Led to a Fast-Growing Company That's Hard to Miss

Voyo Popovic launched his moving and storage company in 2018 — and he's been innovating in the industry ever since.

Business News

Sony Pictures Entertainment Purchases Struggling, Cult-Favorite Movie Theater Chain

Alamo Drafthouse originally emerged from bankruptcy in June 2021.