Richland's Barnard Griffin Winery expands

Tri-City HeraldOctober 13, 2012 

— Award-winning Barnard Griffin Winery recently has grown into a second-generation business, but the family long had realized it needed to renovate and expand its 15-year-old facility in Richland.

This summer, Barnard Griffin completed a major remodel of its tasting room -- first built in 1997 -- and added a wine bar/bistro and events center.

"I wouldn't really call us a destination winery, but we've given people a stronger reason to visit, besides quality wine and fair prices," said winemaker Rob Griffin, who founded the winery with his wife, Deborah Barnard, in 1983.

The scope of project spanned about 10,000 square feet.

"It's something we as family and a business have known we needed to do," he said. "It cost north of a million bucks. It was definitely a major commitment on the financial side for us."

Customers seem to appreciate the remodeled tasting room.

"There's a lot more space in there now. It was really cramped before," Griffin said.

The makeover and expansion makes for a more pleasant experience with new opportunities.

"Wine club members have been asking for more events," said daughter Elise Barnard Griffin. "The old tasting room -- when we had a Christmas party with 100 people in there -- it just didn't cut it."

Elise and her sister, Megan Hughes, joined their parents' business since they both graduated from Washington State University in Pullman. Megan serves as the winery's enologist. Elise handles marketing and public relations.

"We have big shoes to fill, and our parents' success has inspired us to continue their legacy," Elise said. "Working with my family is a blessing. Of course, there are days we don't see eye to eye, but we're all working for the same goal -- to make Barnard Griffin an outstanding family business."

For years, the wines at Barnard Griffin have won top awards and drawn customers to the tasting room, but when it came to food, hungry guests often have walked next door to either Bookwalter or Tagaris wineries.

Now, the wine bar and patio allow guests to enjoy small plates with Barnard Griffin wines such as the 2011 Rosé of Sangiovese, chosen earlier this year as the best rosé at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition -- the world's largest judging of American wines.

Across from the patio is db Gallery & Studio, where Barnard creates her fused glass art and teaches classes.

Adjacent to the tasting room is a new event room that seats 65 people.

"It can hold quite a few more than that for a standing up cocktail party," Elise Barnard Griffin said.

Chervenell Construction of Kennewick was the general contractor for the project. Brian Johnson and Mike Marley of CKJT Architects developed the design.

"A lot of work went into making our old tin-box tasting room into an appealing tin box," Rob Griffin said. "We've always had a pretty landscaping program, but dressing up a metal building is difficult."

The tasting room is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.

The wine bar is open from 4-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, from noon to 9 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.

The winery is at 878 Tulip Lane, Richland. Call 627-0266 or go to www.barnardgriffin.com.

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