Second growth

Three average guys now make above-average wines in Washington

Jenny Cunningham

Many of us have flirted with the romantic notion of chucking everything to become a winemaker. But how many actually take the leap?

A lot, as it turns out. Washington's wine industry has grown from just 19 wineries in 1981 to more than 300, and more are springing up all the time.

More and more resources, including the Walla Walla Institute for Enology & Viticulture ( or 509/524-5175) and South Seattle Community College's Culinary Arts Department ( or 206/764-5344), offer the know-how to get you started in winemaking.

Short of taking a class or getting a degree, you can volunteer to help out at various local wineries during fall crush; many top vintners say that's where they got their start. No one's saying it's easy, but learning to make wine is certainly possible, as proven by these three success stories.