Armstrong Family Winery

Armstrong Family Winery

Winemaker/Co-Founder – Tim Armstrong

What is your/your family’s story around your winery?
Growing up in Wisconsin, wine wasn’t part of our family’s culture. In college, I worked in some local, higher-end restaurants and developed an appreciation for hospitality and service that included wine, but it wasn’t until a few years later that I first tasted a really great wine and began to comprehend wine’s potential. After that first great experience, I was motivated to start down the path of more serious wine appreciation, and it’s been a passion of mine ever since.

When my wife Jen and I first met, wine became something we explored together so it’s always been a part of our relationship. The year we got married, we were living in Chicago with corporate jobs but were learning about wine and tasting as much as we could. That led to remote winemaking classes and then discussions with winemakers and winery owners around the country. After a few years, it was clear that starting a winery was something we both wanted to do. We started looking all over the US for the right opportunity and, during that time, we happened to buy a bottle of Walla Walla Merlot from a local wine shop in Chicago. That bottle opened our eyes to the potential of Washington, so we set out to learn more about the people, the vineyards, and the unique industry here. In 2010, we had an opportunity to relocate our family to Seattle for my job and we jumped at the chance, believing that it was (and still is!) one of the best places in the world to make the kinds of wines we enjoy. We were so committed to starting our winery here that we went out to Woodinville, met some great people, found a way to buy some fruit, and started making our wine in the garage of our rental house – all before our furniture arrived on the moving truck from Chicago.

How did you first become involved in the wine industry and what has your trajectory looked like?
We started making wine in our garage for our personal consumption, but that didn’t hold my interest for long and I wanted to get more involved. I was fortunate to meet some great winemakers early on, including John Patterson who, at the time, was working on the crush pad at the winery he started with his dad in Woodinville. I just showed up one day during harvest and asked if I could help – it was a great fit. They needed the help, and I was willing to do any kind of grunt work just to get experience. Those were the guys that taught me how to drive a forklift, clean a wine pump, operate a press – basically everything we need to do in the cellar. I stayed working occasional nights and weekends with Patterson for a couple of years while also taking a few classes at the South Seattle Community College wine program before going through the viticulture and enology certificate programs at Washington State University. In 2013, we leased some warehouse space in Woodinville and opened the doors of our own winery. Finally, in 2017 we found our current property in Walla Walla and moved our family and most of our winemaking production over here. Living and working in Walla Walla has been an incredible experience – the talent here is exceptional and there is a universal commitment to excellence and collaboration. The bar is very high, but it’s a great environment to be immersed in and a great wine community to be a part of. It’s also a wonderful place to live and raise our family.

How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
2024 will be my 14th commercial vintage – not counting the garage wine we started with.

How did you first begin working with the grower?
We met Nick and Results Partners a few years ago when we were looking for someone to help us farm an existing vineyard that we were taking over. I love small vineyards, but they often don’t warrant a full-time crew. As our needs evolved, we wanted to find an existing vineyard team with a strong reputation, deep expertise, and experience across all aspects of sustainable winegrowing, from record keeping to advanced viticulture techniques and analyses.

What excites you the most about the wines you’re making?
I’m excited to be making more wines from our own vineyards. When we moved to Walla Walla in 2017, we were very fortunate to acquire property that had a small, established vineyard and since then, we’ve taken on another vineyard nearby. The opportunity to be in the vineyard almost every day and to work with fruit from sites that we are farming has really changed my perspective as a winemaker.

What is your favorite part about the Washington state wine community?
It’s well known that Washington has a very collaborative winemaking community which I really appreciate but my favorite part is the diversity. Not only from a cultural, gender, and ethnic diversity perspective but also through the lens of diverse individual values, motivations, and contexts. Collectively, we come from a range of backgrounds and take inspiration from a wide range of styles, so I believe that Washington is the melting pot of wine in America and that diversity is our superpower.

What excites you the most about what the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
Washington wine is in transition, but so is the entire wine industry. I think that positions us to be in the right place at the right time. For over 40 years, the American fine wine landscape was arguably defined by a single region, but we’ve moved past that and into an era where wine consumers are more confident, more curious, and more empowered than ever to seek out wines they love from producers they identify with. There’s no question that Washington can produce some of the best wines in the world, so the work ahead is the opportunity to help more people discover that for themselves.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
In cooler months, a smoked brisket with Washington Cabernet Sauvignon but warmer weather calls for fajitas and a dry, crisp Washington rose!


Director of Vineyard Operations, Results Partners – Nick Mackay

What is your/your family’s story around wine grape growing?
I grew up on Red Mountain where my family owned 30 acres of land. When I was 14 years old, my father decided to plant a vineyard. I got the opportunity to help develop and work on that vineyard when I was not attending school and very soon after I started, I was hooked.

How did you first become involved in the wine industry and what has your trajectory looked like?
After catching the grape growing bug at a young age, I decided to attend WSU and go through their V&E program. Before graduating college, I was able to secure a job with Mercer Ranches and obtain my first real experience with professional vineyard management.

How long have you been growing grapes in Washington state?
My first vintage after graduating from college was in 2015. The first time I harvested and crushed grapes was 2010, when I was 17 years old.

How did you first begin working with this winery?
Walla Walla is a small industry where you ultimately end up meeting just about everyone involved. I met Tim Armstrong in 2022 and immediately felt like we would be a good fit to manage his vineyard property. He has a tremendous passion for his estate and for the wines he produces. It is very rewarding working for someone with his passion and attitude.

What excites you the most about the grapes you’re growing or the techniques/equipment you’re using?
I spent the first six years in the industry attempting to mechanize as many vineyard tasks as possible, but now I am attempting to bring the same eye for efficiency into the boutique side of the industry. We try and control farming costs by performing most of the tasks by hand.

What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
I have met a lot of great people and mentors during my time in the industry. Particularly, the past four years helping Results Partners establish a presence in the Columbia Valley AVA have been some of the most rewarding professional years of my life.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine?
We appear to have the qualities that will make us successful for years to come: a climate that can grow a wide range of varieties, relatively cheap farmland, and strong industry leaders. Results Partners has been fortunate to have been hired by quite a few new investors that have come into the Washington wine industry over the past years, which says to me that there is still a lot of interest for the area and we could see significant growth in the coming years.

Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
We are planting more varieties than ever before, and year over year we plant a new variety that I have never grown. I believe the diversification of grapes being grown will only continue to increase in the years to come.

What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
It is a bit cliché, but oysters and a chilled Sauvignon Blanc is tough to beat.


Crew Boss, Results Partners – Julio Villagomez

What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
My career in the vineyard began as a field worker. Before working in the wine industry, I was working in cherry and apple fields. I started to become really interested in how grapes were grown, so I decided to apply at a vineyard. As time went on, I was given additional opportunities to expand my skillset: first as a tractor driver and now as a crew boss.

How long have you been working in this capacity?
I have been working in the Washington wine industry for eight years

What excites you the most about working in the vineyards?
There is something new to learn every day. I enjoy being able to take what I learn and teach those skills to others, so we are always improving as a team.

What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I enjoy the responsibility of what my job entails. Being a leader and knowing that I can affect the outcome of something much larger than myself is truly humbling.

What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine?
I think that Washington is poised for growth. I only work in the Walla Walla Valley, but each year Results Partners develop additional acres for wineries and landowners. I am seeing more and more that consumers are leaning increasingly more towards quality wines, and I think we are in a position to be able to deliver the kinds of premium wines people are looking for.

Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
Results Partners are increasingly farming acres organically or herbicide free. It is something we are constantly thinking about during vineyard development so that vineyards are well equipped for floor management without the influence of herbicides.

What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?
The logistics that goes into growing wine grapes is expansive and there are a lot of significant nuances that are initiated throughout each step of the growing process.

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