Hedges winemaker hurt in accident

BENTON CITY -- Pete Hedges, head winemaker for Hedges Family Estate on Red Mountain, was injured Monday morning while repairing the grape press.

Hedges, who has been head winemaker for the large family winery since 2002, fell while repairing a leak in the press, said Sarah Hedges Goedhart, assistant winemaker.

He was taken to Kadlec Regional Medical Center in Richland with a broken vertebrae, punctured lung and broken ribs. The accident occurred about 7:30 a.m. Goedhart said he would undergo surgery today to repair his vertebrae and he should have no spinal damage.

Hedges Family Estate, one of the state's largest family-owned wineries, was launched in 1987 by Tom Hedges, Pete's brother, and was one of the earliest proponents of Red Mountain as an important grape-growing region.

Hedges built its French-style chateau in the mid-1990s, making it one of the first destination wineries in Eastern Washington.