The First Ten Years: Tips from the Pros

Does a decade make a difference? We think so! As part of our anniversary celebration, we reached out to three West Coast wine professionals that are also celebrating their first ten years for some advice that they have learned along the way. Joanne Dunham, co-owner of Dunham Cellars in Walla Walla, Washington. Joanne, her husband Mike and their son Eric founded Dunham Cellars after rave reviews for Eric’s 1995 Cabernet. Joanne has recently taken over the operations of the winery, which was named the 2008 Pacific Northwest Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest. When we first started out, I didn’t have any experience in the wine industry. Since then, I’ve learned that one of the hardest parts of making the business a success is in maintaining quality in our wines with the fruit we use, and with our barrel program. Another challenge is actively marketing throughout the country. Since the first year, the biggest changes I’ve seen are growth — these days we produce 20,000 cases. We’ve expanded our facility to include a barrel storage building and are