Today marks the 30th anniversary of the approval of the Walla Walla Valley appellation. At the time the application was submitted, the valley had a mere two wineries and 60 acres of grapes. Since that time, Walla Walla Valley has blossomed into one of the world’s premier wine regions with well over 100 wineries and tastings rooms and nearly 2,000 acres of vineyards.

Below, we look back – then and now – at a handful of the families whose passion and energy helped get the valley started. It is not an overstatement to say that many people in Washington – myself included – would not be doing what they are today were it not for these families’ inspiration and passion. The last picture may well be my favorite as it captures so much of what the valley is about: multi-generational families, friendship, and community.

Here’s a toast to the valley’s founders and all of the people who have followed in their footsteps and worked to make the Walla Walla Valley what it is today. We salute you! May the next thirty years burn even brighter!

Note: The valley is holding a commemorative event on March 20th. Read details here

Left: Gary Figgins, 1974; Right: Amy, Gary, Nancy, and Chris Figgins (Leonetti Cellar)

Left: Jean & Baker Ferguson, early ’80s; Right: Marty & Megan Clubb (L’Ecole No 41)
Left: Rick Small (left) & Gary Figgins, ’81; Middle: Darcey Fugman-Small, ’85; Right: Rick Small & Darcey Fugman-Small (Woodward Canyon)
Left: Casey McClellan, ’82; Right: Vicky & Casey McClellan (Seven Hills Winery) 

Back Row (left to right): Rick Small, Darcey Fugman-Small, Gary Figgins, Nancy Figgins; Front Row: Amy Figgins, Chris Figgins circa ’79 or ’80

Pictures courtesy of Leonetti CellarWoodward CanyonL’Ecole No 41, and Seven Hills Winery. Picture of Federal Register courtesy of Woodward Canyon