UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN
In the Spring of 1997, owner Len Parris and his wife, joined three other couples on a trip to Tuscany. A trip that would change the course of their lives. The couples rented a villa at Montestigliano, in the quaint town of Rosia, just southwest of the city of Sienna. During the trip, the men did all of the grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning. Each day they would visit the local market to purchase goods for their evening meal; being sure to bring jugs to fill with the local wine. By their third visit to the little market in town, they were family; greeted with hugs each day at the door. Surrounded by great friends, great food and great wine; it was the familial experience, so prominent in Italy, that inspired the Parris family to create their own piece of Tuscany in Washington State.
AN OLD BRICK WALL
The group spent nearly three weeks at Montestigliano, easily adapting to the Italian way of life. Each day, with a jug of Sangiovese (made right there in town), Len Parris would take a seat on an old brick wall overlooking the Tuscan countryside. He would tell his friends, "I could get used to this....the lifestyle that is". He started thinking he could build a clubhouse, a place to hang out, maybe plant about three acres of grapes…that was about it. But that night at dinner, his friend’s wife whispered in his ear, “I’m so excited. You’re going to build a winery?”Another friend chimed in, “So you’re really thinking about building a winery?” His father had a hobby farm. 21 1/2 acres adjacent to what is now Chandler Reach Vineyards. He began thinking it would be great to have 42 acres to do something with.
AN UNEXPECTED YES
The property neighboring his father's hobby farm was not currently for sale but he decided to call the family who owned it anyway. The answer was unexpectedly, “Yes.”
With the 42 acres he envisioned, Len Parris set to work. The only problem was, he had no idea what he was doing. To his good fortune Bill Den Hoed, one of the major growers in the state and former Grape Grower of the Year, stopped by on Parris’ first day of working the vineyard and asked if he could use a hand. Parris jumped on the opportunity, and in the spring of 1999 the vineyard was planted with starts off of Jim Holmes’ illustrious Ciel du Cheval vineyard. “Before I knew it, I had little grape vines coming up. I was ecstatic. I thought I’d won the lottery.”
Little did he know that even in their first year, the grapes were good.
Check out where the Parris Family stayed during their inspirational Tuscan Getaway: Montestigliano Luxury Farm Holidays
Our Winery Family
Meghan Potter (Parris)
Len & Lenita Parris