John, a Washington winemaker and chair of the Washington Wine Commission, has been in the beverage industry his whole life. His family owned a winery, but after college in Arizona, he worked the corporate life for ten years, including stints at Pepsi, Gallo and Coors. John said, "I kept moving closer and closer to home." At Coors, he met and was inspired by people who were starting their own path. Coupled with missing the entrepreneurial side of business, John found his way back home and back to Bookwalter Winery. "My father was one of the pioneers (of Washington wines). It makes us one of the 'old guards' of Washington, but our brand isn't that old."
When John travels for work, he has the advantage of getting to a know a city more intimately then the average traveler, as he's often guided by the local sales reps. "I get more exposure. I do get to see the area and see the different personalities." Although he hasn't been in Kansas City for a few years, one of the things he admires is our old buildings and the growth he has seen (in KC and encouragingly, in many other cities as well). When John is not traveling for work, he likes to visit Mexico. His idea of relaxing includes "a bucket of beer, sand and sun."
J. Bookwalter wines are all named in a literary theme: Anecdote Riesling, Subplot 25 (Red Blend), Foreshadow Merlot, Foreshadow Cabernet, Protagonist (Bordeaux Blend). Washington State appeared on the cover of Wine Spectator for the first time ever this past December and John's wines, the 2007 Foreshadow Cabernet and 2007 Protagonist both scored 93 points. Great job, John!
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