Living Wenatchee, Tourism, Wine in Wenatchee

Tom and Virginia Bowling, winemakers of Virginia Thomas Winery

What do you do when you are ready to open Wenatchee’s newest winery in Spring of 2020, and Covid hits? You hit “pause” and wait and wait and WAIT. That is what happened to father-and-daughter-team Tom and Virginia Bowling. Tom and his wife, Maria, retired to Wenatchee from Torrance CA in 2015, and Virginia moved to Wenatchee in 2014. Virginia is an assistant pharmacy technician at Fred Meyer when she is not making wine. Tom spent 40 years in the Freight Forwarding industry.

Tom had always dreamed of having a vineyard and making wine, and learned a lot from his friend and mentor, Tony Marabella. He studied all he could from UC Davis and WSU Viticulture and Enology, and later learned more by working in the vineyard owned by a Craig Robertson, a former Wenatchee winemaker.

He developed a vineyard on his property in the Eagle Rock Subdivision, planting Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Chardonnay grapes. In addition to those varietals, he and Virginia produce a Merlot Reserve and a Meritage (a blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, and Cab Franc wines).  They are a small winery, producing about 375 cases. They enjoy experimenting with their grapes, trying different yeasts, or adding other fruits to get a different flavor profile. Their Chardonnay will be an old-style chardonnay when it is bottled in the coming weeks.

Their 2015 Merlot wine won a silver medal at the 2020 Texas International Wine Competition, and bronze at the 2020 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.

In 2020 they had planned to open a tasting room at 527 Pierre St., between Pierre St. and Riverside Drive in Wenatchee, next to the Inner Circle Gym. The gym has since closed, and they are considering moving into that space for a tasting room. They are waiting for the state to open more from Covid restrictions, approval from WSLCB, and a better time to open a  new winery.  When they do open, the tasting room will be filled with bright-colored paintings painted by Maria Bowling.

How have they sold wine up until now? Their wine is available through the Chamber Tasting Room, the Bottle shop, and the Riverhouse Cigar Bar. They are hoping to be carried in local restaurants, but most restaurants  need to sell the wine they purchased before they were shut down by Covid before ordering more. They cancelled their wine club but offered the wine club discounts on all ordered sales from their website, www.VirginiaThomaswinery.com. Tom’s phone number is 509-888-0947. They offer free local delivery.

Virginia’s favorite wine is Cab Franc, and Tom likes them all, but if he had to pick one: Merlot. Maria’s favorite is the Old-Style Chardonnay (also known as Ramato.)

Virginia and Tom Bowling are truly very patient people, and we look forward to the opening of Virginia Thomas Winery tasting room very soon!

Jan Lutz