J. Bookwalter Winery

President/Owner – John R. Bookwalter

1. What is your/your family’s story around your winery?
My family lived on a small farm in the central valley of California until dad took a job managing Sagemoor Farms which operated Bacchus and Dionysus vineyards.  Dad moved to Washington for the harvest of 1975 and the family followed during Christmas break of that year.  We moved into the house located directly above the Dionysus vineyard for the next five years.  Dad continued to manage those properties until 1982 when he left to start his own companies all related to agriculture.  He brokered wine grapes, managed vineyard properties for absentee owners, developed agricultural land and one year later he started Bookwalter Winery in Pasco in 1983.   

2. How long have you been making wine in Washington state?
My first year in the cellar was 1997 and I took over winemaking in 2000 when I partnered with Zelma Long as my consultant winemaker.   

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
The sense of collaboration and pioneering that still exists in Washington state.  We are truly unencumbered and our only limitation to what we can accomplish stylistically and qualitatively with our wines is our lack of imagination.  

4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
Washington state wines will continue to see favorable demand and growth for the foreseeable future due to the diversity and quality of the wines, not to mention the impact climate change is having on regions that have grown similar varieties as Washington state.   In the wineries there will be a focus on packaging recyclability and how we adapt to the changing culture of wine consumption by the younger generations.  In the vineyards there will continue to be a focus on sustainable farming practices and our overall stewardship of the land.    

5. What is your favorite wine and food pairing?
I tend to not overthink this question, drink your favorite wine with your favorite food and you most likely will be pretty happy with the pairing.  


Viticulturist, Lawrence Vineyards – Matías Kŭsulas

1. What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
I have a background in Naval Engineering and Agricultural Engineering from Chile. Decided to transition into soil science and discovered the wine industry. Left my country in 2011 to become a traveling winemaker and had the chance to meet amazing people and beautiful wine regions. Finally based myself in France where I had the chance to study Viticulture and Winemaking in depth. Interacting with experienced winemakers and wine growers across the globe, taught me the importance of understanding viticulture to make memorable wines. Luckily, my career has allowed me to be on both sides of the industry and continue gaining experience growing quality fruit, which to me, is the most important variable of winemaking.  

2. How long have you been working in this capacity?
I’ve been officially working on the vineyard side since 2013. There is still a lot to learn, but I do know enough to realize that every single season is completely different than the next one, ergo you can’t treat them the same way.  

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
I like the fact that we are a young region, and we are still growing. There are so many unplanted places to discover and luckily for all of us, Washington has a wide range of terroirs, with the potential to provide high quality fruit.   

4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I’ve been here only since 2016 but I think quality is improving exponentially. You see every year better practices from growers and producers, in addition to a more dynamic involvement of professionals in research and innovation, under the umbrella of WSU. I hope we can see more Washington wines not only across the country but across the globe. I believe California became the wine region it is now because it “fought” France and won. I think we need to start pushing our wines abroad instead of holding most of them in local markets in order to show the world how great of a quality Washington has to offer. To do that, we need to unify ourselves as a region, working together symbiotically, growers and producers, in order to consistently deliver every year a better product.   

5. What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?
Besides the fact that I get to play with toys like tractors and four-wheelers, which is really fun, I drive over 600 miles every week checking on vineyards which allows me to listen to around 20+ audiobooks a year and dozens of Joe Rogan experience podcasts, which I really enjoy.    


Vineyard Worker – Enrique Alvarez

1. What is your background, how did you come to work at the vineyard?
I came from Michoacán Mexico when I was 10 years old to Washington. I came to work at the vineyard because my parents used to work here and thanks to them, I got an opportunity to work at Conner Lee, and follow in their footsteps.  

2. How long have you been working in this capacity?
I started working in the vineyard in the summer of 2009. 

3. What is your favorite part of being a part of the Washington state wine community?
I like that I get to train vineyard workers, and teach them from pruning to harvesting wine grapes.  

4. What do you think the future holds for Washington state wine? Where are we headed or what trends are you seeing?
I think Washington is set to keep growing in small steps. I believe that in the near future Washington wines should be recognized as one of the best in the world. 

5. What fact can you share about your job that wine-drinkers might not know?
It takes a lot of hand labor to complete the jobs in a vineyard. Also, every single growing season is different, and unique.  

AUCTION OF WASHINGTON WINES

2200 6th Ave Suite 411
Seattle, WA 98121
(206) 741-0212
aww@aoww.org

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The Northwest Wine Benefit Foundation, dba the 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 $55 million since our inception in 1988. 

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