Producers: Bill Powers
Located in: Kennewick, Washington
Supplying PCC since: 2000
Down to earth, deliciously.
Try Powers “PCC Farmland Trust” Cabernet Sauvignon or Chardonnay
What do you call a man whose handshake is as good as gold, a man who would rather make something than buy it, who planted the state’s first organic vineyard just because it was the healthy, sensible thing to do, who is a gentleman, a farmer, and the self-described luckiest guy on earth? Call him Bill Powers.
A farmer's farmer
Talk about having your feet firmly on the ground. Let others chase ratings, live the golden-hued, gracious life and schmooze the Wine Spectator types. Bill Powers has better things to do. For some, wine means glitz, glam and various shades of uppity glory. For Bill, it's about farming — and just as about any agricultural type in Washington will attest, Bill Powers is a farmer's farmer.
Born into a family of farmers in Oklahoma, Bill came to Washington as a young man and promptly put down roots, spending the next 20 years as an orchardist. Seeking greener pastures, he sold his orchards and next tried his luck in the cattle business. Just a few short years were enough to convince Bill that ranching wasn't his strong suit, so he cashed in his chips, betting his hand on growing wine grapes. Consulting with Washington wine guru Dr. Walter Clore, he found the perfect parcel of dirt and planted Badger Mountain Vineyards in 1982. From 1985 to 1987 as the vineyard came into production, he sold grapes in bulk to Chateau Ste. Michelle.
“ I’m the luckiest guy in the world, because I get to wake up every day and do what I love. ” — Bill Powers
In 1988, the first wines to be sold under the Badger Mountain label were produced — at the same time that Bill's approach to farming was changing dramatically. Having grown concerned at the high incidence of illnesses among former Hanford workers and considering his own vineyard's proximity to the nearby community, Bill displayed his customary practicality and common sense, converting the vineyard to organic viticulture. In 1990, Badger Mountain became the first Certified Organic Vineyard in Washington State.
In addition to common sense and pragmatism, Bill possesses a natural curiosity and a desire to constantly improve quality in every aspect possible. In 1996, Bill embarked upon a two-year project to change the trellising system of the vineyards. That same year, he was recognized by his peers as Washington Wine Grower of the Year, both for his progressive techniques and for his strategy in responding to the catastrophic freeze earlier that year.
Rounding out his tool kit are a keen business sense allied with a bedrock honesty. Bill's word is as good as gold, he always pays his bills on time. No need to draw up a contract when doing business with Bill Powers — his handshake is widely known to be worth more than a skyscraper full of attorneys.
Add modesty, and the picture is complete. Bill wasn't informed in advance that he would be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at a Washington Wine Grape Growers dinner in 2007, for fear that he wouldn't attend. Upon being presented the award, his acceptance speech was brief: "I'm the luckiest guy in the world, because I get to wake up every day and do what I love."
To which we only can add, "Amen."