Badger Mountain's Powers named to Washington Wine Hall of Fame

By the Herald staff August 4, 2010 

PROSSER -- Guy W. (Bill) Powers of Badger Mountain Vineyard and Powers Winery and the late David Lake, the longtime winemaker for Columbia Winery were announced Tuesday as 2010 Legends of Washington Wine and will be inducted into the Legends of Washington Wine Hall of Fame.

The Walter Clore Wine and Culinary will honor the two at the 2010 Legends of Washington Wine gala to be held Aug. 28 in the Willmsen Memorial Garden on the grounds of Washington State University's Irrigated Agriculture Research and Extension Center in Prosser.

Legends of Washington Wine are selected for their contributions of historical and lasting significance to the community and the wine industry. Nominations are received from the public, and an industry-based selection committee evaluates and scores recommendations based on specific criteria.

Previous inductees include: S.W. "Bill" Preston, Preston Premium Wines; John and Ann Williams and Jim and Pat Holmes, Red Mountain pioneers; Stan Clarke, a 30-year industry veteran; and John Anderson, a visionary and mentor to the Washington wine industry.

Powers planted his Badger Mountain Vineyard in 1982 after consulting with Dr. Walter Clore and, in the late 80s, began exploring the possibilities for low-impact and organic viticulture.

He set out to convert to organic practices in 1988, and in 1990, Badger Mountain Vineyard was the first vinifera vineyard to be certified organic by the Washington State Department of Ag.

Powers was nominated as an "organic pioneer" and growers interested in reducing or eliminating conventional input continue to seek his wisdom guidance on the subject. His innovative techniques have helped Washington state move forward to lower input, sustainable, organic-based viticulture.

Powers also led Badger Mountain and Powers Winery to become one of the state's top producing brands while guiding the second and third generation Powers toward future leadership. His latest venture has put solar energy and biodiesel conversion into the business plan for Badger Mountain.

Powers was one of the original members of the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers and, in 1996, was selected as "Grower of the Year" by his colleagues. Powers received the WAWGG "Lifetime Achievement Award" for his industry work in 2007.

Lake, described as the "Dean of Washington Winemakers" by both Wine Spectator and Decanter Magazine, began his career in the wine industry in 1967. In 1975, he became a Master of Wine, being one of the limited few to pass the tastings and written tests that are widely recognized as the world's most rigorous professional examination in the art and science of wine.

Taking over from Dr. Lloyd Woodburne, Lake joined Columbia Winery (then Associated Vintners) in 1979. Lake was the only Master of Wine in North America to produce commercial wine from 1975 to 1995.

Lake is most renowned for his experimentation with new varietals and for wine innovations. He was the first winemaker in Washington to release a series of vineyard-designated wines and is regarded as the first to bottle Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Pinot Gris in Washington.

In the late 1990s, Lake was honored for his achievements and was featured at Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.

Lake served as a director of the Washington Wine Institute and was an experienced judge of wine. For many years, he served on the judging panels of several major wine competitions across the U.S. and in Australia.

He died in 2009 and is survived by his wife, Connie Sile-Lake.

Legends of Washington Wine is a program of the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center. Scheduled to open in 2011, the Clore Center will be a learning center that promotes Washington wine and food by engaging visitors to experience the diversity and quality of Washington's food and wine products.

Tickets and sponsorships for the Legends Gala, supporting the Clore Center, are available via PayPal at

www.theclorecenter.org or by downloading a reservation form from the website.

More information is available by calling 509-786-1000.

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