Let’s Talk Wine!
Bainbridge Island is home to seven unique wineries. When planning a visit to Bainbridge Island, be sure to include a stop at one or more of the wineries. Bainbridge Island Wineries. Fletcher Bay Winery recently completed an extensive remodel and we sat down with the owners to talk about the change. Come visit us on Bainbridge Island, and check out this beautifully renovated space in downtown Winslow.
Tucked away in an unassuming business park on the north end of Bainbridge Island, Fletcher Bay Winery is a boutique winery with big things happening. Jim Wilford began creating wine at his Bainbridge Island home back in 2008. Using his garage as the winery and a cottage as the tasting room he developed a unique blend of full bodied, unfiltered red wines, as well as a few flavorful whites. Fletcher Bay Winery was in his garage until production and popularity increased and the winery moved to its current location in Coppertop Business Park in 2012. The winery is named after Fletcher Bay, where Jim and his wife live on Bainbridge Island. “I didn’t discover wine until I was almost 30 years old”, says Wilford. “I first fell in love with wine when I was asked to bring a bottle to a dinner party. The host was making something Italian, so I asked the store clerk what kind of wine went well with Italian food. I showed up to the dinner with a bottle of Sangiovese. It was at that party that I discovered how great food and wine worked together and how a meal can be enhanced with the right wine paring. After that, I was hooked!”
After five years in the current Coppertop Business Park location (located next to Bainbridge Brewing and across the parking lot from Bainbridge Distillery) the homey and eclectic winery underwent a major remodel. The winery worked with Bainbridge Island interior designer, Ruth Cashell, on setting the vision for the new winery space. The look and feel is nautical and was inspired by their logo and location. The walls and floors were painted, new furniture, fixtures and custom lighting was purchased and they hired Alan Vogel and David Kotz, two Bainbridge Island wood workers, to build a completely customer bar and 13-foot communal table. Both were built using reclaimed wood from a mill in Portland, Oregon and the winery sourced other materials as locally as possible. Brooke Huffman (along with her husband Johnathon) are the new minority owners of the winery. Brooke is the marketing and operations director and was the driving force behind the winery remodel. “We wanted the winery to reflect the nautical vibe of island life and be sophisticated yet approachable. Our regular customers tell us that the winery feels like an extension of their living room and we hope to continue with the warm and welcoming feeling, with an upscale twist”, Huffman said. The winery hopes the remodel will elevate the tasting experience and attract more Seattle millennials as well as locals. Their robust wine club and special wine club only events will certainly help. The wine club offers four annual shipments of 3, 6 or 12 bottles of wine at a 20% (3bottle member), 22.5% (6 bottle member) or 25% (12 bottle member) discount. The winery also offers a15% military discount.
Fletcher Bay Winery is in growth mode, increasing production from 800 cases last year to just over 1450 this year. Their focus and the wine maker’s passion remains full bodied red wines, but they are also aware of their consumer and try to make a variety of wines that will appeal to all levels of wine drinker preferences. They recently brought on a fruit wine maker sourcing local, Kitsap Country fruits to make wines with flavors like strawberry, cranberry and plum when customers started asking for sweeter, fruit wines. The next wine to be bottled will be a 2016 Rose of Sharon named after the winemaker’s wife and made from 100% Dolcetto grapes. The next red to be released is “The Bainbridge”, a red blend, predominately Petit Verdot.
Don’t miss Wine Down Wednesday for a great mid-week happy hour. Every Wednesday from 6-8pm with live music, $5 glasses of wine and a food truck. The winery is a comfortable place to enjoy a glass of wine among barrels of wine. Follow them on Facebook or Instagram @fletcherbaywinery to stay up to date on events and wine releases.
Fletcher Bay Winery is located at 9415 Coppertop Loop NE, Suite 102, Bainbridge Island, WA and is open Monday, 1-5pm, Wednesday, 2-8p, Thursday & Friday, 1-7pm, Saturday & Sunday, 12-7pm. Choose any 5 wines to taste for $10. Tasting fee is waived with a two-bottle purchase. Fletcher Bay Winery