The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
– *not quite* aristotle
Barnard Griffin is one of the oldest and largest family-owned and operated wineries in Washington state – alongside the family is a core of winemaking, cellar working, wine serving and selling individuals that elevate the day-to-day into something magnificent.
Rob Griffin, Founder and Head Winemaker
Rob Griffin fell in love with winemaking at an early age. In the late 1960s, he grew up near what has now become the most recognized wine region in the United States, the Napa Valley. In his youth, he frequently visited his uncle’s vineyard, eventually enrolling at the University of California, Davis when he was 17, later graduating with a B.S. in Fermentation Science with the dream of becoming a winemaker.
After gaining a few years of experience in Sonoma, Rob decided to forge his own path and travel north to work in the undeveloped, yet promising, Washington State wine industry. He began in 1977 as head winemaker at Preston Cellars before moving to The Hogue Cellars in 1983. While there, he began making his own wine with his wife and partner, Deborah Barnard. Barnard Griffin Winery was established in 1983 with a small truckload of borrowed fruit and a rented cellar.
Barnard Griffin has since grown into one of Washington’s most acclaimed wineries, and Rob recently celebrated his 43rd vintage in Washington. As one of the elder statesmen of Washington wine,he holds an unrivaled knowledge of the region’s various terroirs. His long-standing relationships with some of the State’s best growers give him premier access to the very best grapes. Rob continues to be fully engaged in the winemaking and leadership of Barnard Griffin while ushering in the second generation of the family, passing on his wisdom and experience to Megan, his daughter and right-hand at the winery.
Deborah Barnard, Founder
Deborah Barnard is the co-owner of Barnard Griffin Winery. Rob and Deborah initially met while undergrads at University of California, Davis, and reconnected years later when Deborah was earning her Master’s Degree in Healthcare Administration at the University of Washington.
They married in 1980 and Deborah worked in hospital administration until 1996, at which time the growing winery needed her full attention.
With an eye for design and color composition, Deborah started working with fused glass in 2006, later establishing db Studio at Barnard Griffin, a state-of-the-art glass fusing studio, in 2012. Deborah is the resident artist at db Studio and has stunning installations at the winery as well as the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau, the WSU Wine Science Center and the Hope Lodge in Salt Lake City.
When not in the glass studio, Deborah stays involved with organizations close to her heart, including the American Cancer Society where she was Chair of the Great West Division Board. She is also involved in the Tri-City Chaplaincy, TRIDEC, Visit Tri-Cities and as a founding board member of the Tri-Cities Wine Tourism Council.
Megan Hughes, Second-Generation Winemaker
The youngest daughter of Rob and Deborah, Megan’s passion for Washington wine began at an early age while assisting her parents at the winery, her salary entirely made up of M&Ms. She has since looked up the legality of this and while it is a legitimate means of compensation, she now appreciates her salary coming in the form of legal tender. With full disclosure, in her youth, she was thrilled with her good fortune at finding meaningful recompense for her labor…
Megan officially joined her parents, Rob Griffin and Deborah Barnard, in the family business after graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Viticulture and Enology from Washington State University. At present, she oversees the majority of Barnard Griffin’s white wine production, working side-by-side with her father on a daily basis.
Megan currently sits on the board of the Association of Washington Business and is a member of the Washington Winegrowers Association and the Washington Wine Technical Group. Megan also volunteers with the Boys and Girls Club and Junior Achievement,striving to be a resource for young women in the community who are interested in the wine industry and other STEM fields.
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