Fifty years ago, The Beatles released their first record (“Love Me Do”), John Glenn circled the earth three times, the Century 21 Exposition (the Seattle World’s Fair) opened April 21 for a sixth-month run and Columbia Winery was born when 20 friends — six of them wine-loving professors at the University of Washington — started producing batches of wine.
In the beginning, the 10 friends were known as Associated Vintners; they were united in the belief that European vinifera vines would thrive in the Washington climate, which is, after all, roughly on the same latitude as Bordeaux.
Wine authority Hugh Johnson saluted Associated Vintners in his book “Vintage,” while noting the emergence of high-quality, Northern California wines at about the same time: “Those first years of the 1960s are the turning point in modern wine history,” Johnson wrote.
The Woodinville winery has grown over the last five decades. To mark its 50th year, current winemaker Kerry Norton has developed a special 2009 vintage Cabernet Sauvignon, produced from hand-selected grapes. Some 522 cases will be made available, to be released in June.