Stretch Island Winery: Need History Detectives

by Shona Milne on July 24, 2009

belleI came across an interesting posting on Craig’s List a few weeks ago. It was a request for help to labelfind out about a wine mystery and not much information has been found yet. The wine bottle in question is a half gallon “Belle Isle”,  Produced and Bottled by Stretch Island Winery, Inc. Grapeview, Washington. This bottle was found under the Whistling Post Tavern in Skykomish. whistlingSo far the only information has been that this winery was in business before prohibition but then disappeared, but has not been verified.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Steve Snyder 07.24.09 at 10:18 am

Shona, that bottle is probably from the St. Charles winery, the first bonded winery in Washington state. It was founded on Stretch Island http://www.winesquire.com/articles/2005/tomassi0505.htm

Island Belle is a grape which they still grow and make wine out of at Hoodsport winery. The grape is also known as Campbell’s Early.

There is quite a museum of old wine paraphernalia still there if you are interested.

I buy grapes from a grower in Grapeview. He mainly grows Regent for us… I think you’ve blogged about the wine here before. Let me know if you want any more information!

Shona Milne 07.24.09 at 2:40 pm

Yes, the more info the better. The posting on Craig’s list didn’t get much attention. I’d love to know more!
I remember writing about the Regent Grape that you use. Loved the wine.

Steve Snyder 07.26.09 at 7:36 am

My friend Ron Irvine who wrote the book “The Wine Project” which chronicles the Washington state wine history says it’s all in his book if you want to learn more about Stretch Island Winery…

Shona Milne 07.26.09 at 11:47 am

I’m loving this story. Can’t wait to get the book and see what it tells me about this mystery.

Heather 09.03.09 at 8:57 pm

I grow Island Belle grapes on Stretch Island. Grapes were originally planted there in the 1870s by Lambert Evans; the Island Belle coming later by the hand of Adam Eckert. They were first sold as table grapes, then the St Charles Winery opened and wine was made, then they were made into juice. The grapes were also used in the production of Stretch Island Fruit Leather (The fruit leather business was started in my home). We now sell our grapes to Hoodsport, as do a few other viticulturists on the island. We have found they make great jelly as well. Harley Somers has a maritime museum on the island and his family has been growing grapes there for years.

Susan Winter 10.15.10 at 11:31 am

Being a curious history nut, I ‘googled’ the name of our aunt’s old winery in Grapeview,WA. I came across the name of the winery in her old address book. I was surprised to find this query. She and her husband bottled this label years ago in Washington. As she is now 101 years old, she could not remember the exact name of the winery, but immediately said the name of the wine…Belle Isle…before I showed her the picture. She confirmed the label immediately when I showed her the picture on the computer. When asked when they started the winery, she could not remember the year, but knew it was the first year Washington became “wet”. The govenor of the state was “dry” and the paperwork was VERY difficult. I will ask more questions later. This was fun to discover.

Shona Milne 10.17.10 at 9:37 am

I had a great journey solving this mystery. If you are really interested in Washington wine history you should get “The Wine Project” Washington State’s Winemaking history book. I found mine on eBay and have enjoyed learning our wine history.

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