VINEYARD MANAGEMENT:

The owners, the managers and the staff of Conner Lee Vineyards take the time to listen to the needs of each vintner customer. This is a partnering process of give and take and truly recognizes the fruit requirements of each individual vintner.

Everyone at Conner Lee Vineyards is focused and committed to produce and provide the highest quality fruit possible for our customers, year after year.

As Rhoady Lee once said, “We don’t want to be second”.


HISTORY OF THE VINEYARDS:

Conner Lee Vineyards was first planted by Dick and Louise Owings of Othello, WA after Dick had retired from the West side of the state as a petroleum products distributor and took his missus East to plant the first varieties of wine grapes at this site. He was carefully instructed by WSU reknowned viticulturist and researcher, Dr. Walter Clore, in how to choose the right varieties for the right site. So he started out by planting a few acres of Chenin Blanc, Merlot and Semillon.

History of Conner Lee Vineyards

Bill Conner, Tom Thorsen, Rhoady Lee

As time went on, it became apparent to the Owings that this “labor of love” was going to take more energy and capital than they had originally envisoned, so they postured an offer to one of their former business customers, Rhoady Lee, a prominent businessman from Seattle. Lee then contacted a good friend and business associate, Bill Conner, a long with former insurance executive Jack Sullivan and together they decided to join Owings in his grape growing endeavors.

Planting of the vineyard began in 1980 and it originally consisted of three vinifera varieties, Chenin Blanc, Merlot, and Semillon, about fifteen acres of each. Around 1987 it was decided to plant about twenty three acres of Cabernet Sauvignon then another ten acres in 1988, followed by ten acres of Chardonnay in 1989 and an additional six acres of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1991 along with thirty more acres of Chardonnay and five acres of Cabernet Franc. Thirty acres of Merlot was planted the next year. In order to let production and cash flow catch up to each other, no more plantings occurred until 2002 with the addition of five acres of Malbec.

In 2004, about fifteen acres of Cabernet Sauvignon clones 2, 4, 6, 21 & 24 were planted, and a little more than an acre of clone 95 Chardonnay, along with about five acres of Syrah (Phelps clone) and about six acres of Viognier.  In 2005, about seven acres of clone 181 Merlot and three acres of clone 332 Cabernet Franc was planted.

The next planting occurred in 2007 with about two acres more of clone 332 Cabernet Franc, and about three acres of clone 9 Malbec. Next in 2009, an additional two acres of clone 95 Chardonnay and one acre of clone 75 was planted.  To make room for customer requests for different varietals, the Cabernet Sauvignon clones 6, 21 and 24 along with some of the clone 181 Merlot were removed. In 2014, we planted about 3 acres of Pinot Noir, a little more than 2 acres of Sauvignon Blanc and the same of Semillon. In 2015, small blocks of Muscadelle, and chardonnay clones 76 and 96 were planted.