Maury Island Winery is a small, family owned and operated vineyard and winery in the Puget Sound American Viticultural Area (AVA) dedicated to producing high quality estate-grown wines. We have been growing wine grapes on our property since 1980. Licensed in 2008, we are now producing about 150 cases per year of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and a sparkling rosé we call Crémant de Maury.
In truth, we gave absolutely no thought to vineyard potential and we certainly never envisioned owning a small winery when we bought this property back in 1978. But the passion for wine-making, especially from home-grown fruit, was always there. And luck was on our side.
I met Gerard Bentryn shortly after we moved to Vashon Island in 1977. He is the founder of Bainbridge Island Vineyard and Winery and the driver behind the legislation that created the Puget Sound AVA. And about that time I met a local school teacher named Les Street who happened to have a commercial grape vine nursery. He looked at the hillside behind our house, dug his fingers into the sandy loam soil and agreed that this could be a very good site for wine grapes. "What do you want to grow?" he asked.
Good question. Although Gerard Bentryn and Les Street had inspired me, I had no idea what grape varieties might do well in this "enological frontier." So I planted 13 different varieties, many of them French-American hybrids with odd names like Pearl of Csaba and Leon Millot. After 20 years of experimentation, I went back to see Gerard Bentryn and bought Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris cuttings. If nothing else, I knew I had a warm site, warm enough to ripen Pinot Noir, the premium cool climate grape. So in 2000 I started over, ripping out all those old vines and planting a few hundred cuttings. In 2003 I made my first Pinot Noir. It was really good!
When I retired from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2007 we decided to go for it. We applied for a winery license and planted another half acre of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Then in 2011 we planted half an acre of Pinot Précoce, the earliest ripening clone of Pinot Noir. We expect to produce around 200 cases a year once all the vines have matured.
For now my wife Jan and I stay very busy keeping all the vines happy and the barrels full. It's been said that wine is made in the vineyard and I could not agree more. The wine "maker" in my view is more like a mid-wife, creating the proper conditions for natural processes like fermentation to run their course. When the fruit is good and all goes well in the winery, the result should be a very pleasant sipping experience. We hope you can come visit! Cheers!