Winemaking in Washington State can be traced back to 1825. These early homesteaders who produced wine for their own consumption had little idea of the lasting impact they would have on the state’s economy and future generations of winemakers to come. Now, Washington ranks second in the nation after California for premium wine production with over 60,000 acres of vinifera grapes planted. And in a study from WineAmerica, Washington’s wine industry was found to have generated over $9.5 billion for the U.S. economy in 2022.*
Over the decades there have been several major figures in the rise of Washington winemaking—including one of Columbia Valley’s most acclaimed winemakers, Mike Januik of Novelty Hill-Januik Wineries. Since 1984, Januik has witnessed how the demand for local wines within the Pacific Northwest has grown dramatically. As he told Puget Sound Business Journal, “When I first started making wine 30 years ago, there were probably a couple dozen wineries and now we are pushing 1,000 wineries and we’re still selling to the same audience.”
Novelty Hill and Januik are two independent wineries that share a destination tasting room and state-of-the-art winery under Januik’s direction. The partnership between the two wineries began in 2000, shortly after Mike began consulting on the planting of the Alberg family’s Stillwater Creek Vineyard on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Columbia Valley. Though an uncharted growing region at the time, Mike liked what the site offered and was intrigued by the Albergs’ interest in planting a diverse selection of clones. He encouraged the family to consider making wine from the site; they agreed, provided Mike serve as winemaker. Novelty Hill was born. Since 2000, Januik has gone from producing 3,000 cases annually to 12,600.
Novelty Hill-Januik has always been a family-run operation with Mike Januik’s son, Andrew Januik, joining his father in the cellar full-time. Every year they produce impressive and elegant wines that consistently receive 90+ scores from top critics—and their ambition only grows. In addition to Andrew releasing his own label in 2011, Andrew Januik Wines, he’s ventured to South America with his project “Southern Sojourn” to become a part of the global winemaking community.
As the premier distributor of wines from the Pacific Northwest, Winebow offers a breadth of Novelty Hill and Januik wines in many of our markets. Reach out today to learn more or schedule a tasting to see why customers across the U.S. enjoy their smooth and sophisticated wines.
*Sources: WineAmerica - 2022 National Economic Impact Study of the Wine Industry by John Dunham & Associates
"Winemaking for two pays off for Mike Januik" by Coral Garnick, Puget Sound Business Journal