John Bookwalter, second generation winemaker and owner of J. Bookwalter, did not join the family winery right away. J. Bookwalter was founded in 1983 by John’s father, Jerry, but it wasn’t until 1997 that the younger Bookwalter officially joined the winery. Since then, John has become one of the leaders in Washington wine, not only as a winemaker/owner but also as a Washington Wine Commissioner. Known as a marketing genius and “idea guy” John has successfully updated the brand, opened a wine tasting studio in Woodinville, a restaurant addition to the Richland winery and created Bookmark, a second label. The Columbia Valley winery is best known for its premium, small lot wines and its use of literary terms for cleverly named wines (Anecdote, Foreshadow, Protagonist) and their wine clubs a.k.a Book Clubs. Learn more about the man behind the wine below in this profile.
Name: John Bookwalter
Winery: J. Bookwalter
1. Who or what inspired you to become a winemaker?
Father (Jerry Bookwalter) and Zelma Long (J. Bookwalter consulting winemaker since 2000)
2. If you weren’t working with wine what do you think you’d be doing instead?
Selling beer or trinkets on the beach in Mexico
3. What current wine trend do you particularly like (or dislike)?
The pre-selling of European-like red wine by winemakers in Washington from cold vintages (2010 & 2011)
4. What is your go-to wine (varietal, region) – other than Washington, of course!
5. What advice can you offer to a first time wine drinker?
Drink as much of the wine you like at whatever price you can afford.
6. If you could make wine with any winemaker in the world, who would it be?
Australian winemaker Chris Ringland
7. What do you like to do when you are not making wine?
Travel/exercise/spending time with family and friends/reading/snowboarding/boating
8.What charitable organization pulls at your heartstrings?
Anything to do with literacy