2016 Honorary Grower and Vintner Announcement

The Auction of Washington Wines is pleased to announce the lineup of honorees for its 29th annual weekend of events August 18-20, 2016. Mike Januik, founder of Januik Winery is Honorary Vintner and Todd Newhouse, founder of Upland Vineyards is Honorary Grower.

“For nearly 30 years, the Auction of Washington Wines has been very fortunate to have such impressive leadership to recognize – and this year is no different,” said Sam Baker, Board President and partner with Oles Morrison Rinker & Baker. “The 2016 honorees are true masters of their craft with deep roots in our state, from forging new wine regions to developing programs and innovations. They have made significant contributions to our industry.”

“This year we honor two individuals who have greatly influenced our industry, from mentoring fellow winemakers to upholding their family’s legacy,” said Norm McKibben of Pepper Bridge Winery and co-chair of this year’s Auction of Washington Wines. “Both Mike and Todd are well-respected and we are thrilled to honor them this year.”

Mike Januik, 2016 Honorary Vintner:

Since his first harvest in the Columbia Valley in 1984, Mike Januik has been at the forefront of Washington wine quality and innovation. One of the most honored winemakers in the state, Washington Wine Report editor Sean Sullivan wrote, “Few in the Washington wine industry can claim the extraordinary level of success that has followed Mike Januik throughout his career.” With literally hundreds of 90+ ratings to his credit, Mike’s wines have appeared on Wine Spectator’s prestigious “Top 100” list a dozen times, and in 2011, Wine & Spirits magazine named Januik “Winery of the Year.”

It is no surprise then that one of the world’s ten “Masters of Merlot,” as Wine Enthusiast magazine deemed him, has also mentored countless rising Washington winemakers, many who worked alongside him during his ten years at Chateau Ste. Michelle. During his time there he established the winery’s single vineyard and reserve programs.

Mike crushed his first grapes under the Januik Winery in 1999, the same year he began consulting on vineyard plantings at Novelty Hill’s estate vineyard Stillwater Creek. It was at Mike’s urging that the vineyard was planted with one of the most innovative clonal selections in the state. He has been making Novelty Hill’s wines since the winery’s first vintage in 2000.

Todd Newhouse, 2016 Honorary Grower:

Todd Newhouse is the latest of a long generation of farmers in the Yakima Valley with a rich history of agriculture. The patriarch of the Yakima Valley Newhouse’s family, Todd’s great-grandfather John Newhouse, first settled in the area and labored in the fields and irrigation canals more than 100 years ago.

After taking over the family business in 2008, Todd filed to name the Snipes Mountain growing region as a distinct American Viticultural Area (AVA). In 2009, the federal government formally recognized the region, thanks to the joint efforts of Todd and Washington State University scientist Joan Davenport. This gave the area and the Newhouse family significant recognition and credence as a thriving AVA in Washington state.

Today, you can find Todd on the farm. He serves as the vineyard manager at Upland Vineyards, where he operates vineyards and orchards on the land once plotted by agricultural visionary W.B. Bridgman in 1917. They grow and produce wine grapes for more than 30 different wineries, from small tasting rooms to some of the largest operations in the state. Todd, along with his wife Amber, own Upland Winery, which was started in 2007.

Todd values the history and legacy of the Washington state wine industry, but also the future. He has served on the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers for several years.


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The Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, DBA Auction of Washington Wines, is committed to supporting the growth and awareness of the Washington state wine industry through a series of celebrated events benefiting our community. We have raised over $63 million since our inception in 1988. 

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