A century ago in the area of Whitestone Rock, grapevines were planted by one of the early settlers of the region. They grew so abundantly that during the next thirty-five years, the vineyard became one of the largest grape producers in Eastern Washington.
When Lake Roosevelt was created in 1941 by Grand Coulee Dam, a portion of the Columbia River became Washington State's largest lake. The vineyard, like many other things, ended up underwater - hidden and forgotten as time faded away.
An aerial view of Whitestone Rock and the vineyard along the shores of Lake Roosevelt
That is, until Washington State University viticulturists declared the area to be an ideal place to grow French Bordeaux grape varietals, including Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. Lake Roosevelt Shores Vineyard was planted by Whitestone on the shore of the mighty lake next to the same Whitestone Rock that watched over a successful grape growing operation a hundred years past. Whitestone nurtures its Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and other varieties in this very special place that has the perfect climate and soil conditions for growing high quality grapes.
Whitestone Winery was founded by Walter and Judy Haig in 1992. With the help of Washington State University, the vineyard site was prepped and made ready for planting. In the spring of 1994, the vineyard was planted, officially re-introducing grape vines to the area.
1996 witnessed the first harvest at the vineyard, with the grapes making the long journey down to Walla Walla where they were purchased by some of the fine wineries located there.
In 2001, Walter and Judy decided to start making wine themselves with their grapes. Keeping a small amount of their Merlot grapes, the family made its first batch of wine. The following year the winery produced wine from all three of their grape varietals.
The Fall of 2005 brought with it two big events. The first being the grand opening of the winery and tasting room to the public, showcasing the 2001 Merlot vintage. The second big event was a non-event. For the first time, Whitestone grapes were not exported from the region. 100% of that years crop went entirely into Whitestone wine, as it has ever since.
The vineyard and the winery are a true family run business, with Michael Haig, Walter and Judy's son, running the vineyard and making the wine. Family members assist in the running of the tasting room, bottling, events, and blending parties.
All of the grapes used to make our fine wines come exclusively from Lake Roosevelt Shores Vineyard. The result is a superior tasting wine with extraordinary flavor.