A little family history
Known today for its namesake wines, the Jones Family also has a well-earned reputation, stretching back decades, for growing other bountiful crops in the Quincy area and Columbia Basin.
In the early 1950s, W.E. (Web) and Millie Jones began farming potatoes, just as the "spigot" was turned on releasing water from Grand Coulee Dam via canals to the Columbia Basin. Quincy had long been home to sandy soils, but scant annual rainfall made it virtually impossible to grow crops. What were once arid and dry lands were quickly transformed into an oasis.
The Jones' first farm lands were east of the town of George and north of what is now Interstate-90. Potatoes were sold from the community of Winchester, located just east of Quincy.
Over the next few decades, the family operation led by son Jack Jones harvested — in addition to potatoes — corn, beans, onions, apples and several other crops. As others began farming in the area, the Columbia Basin evolved into one of the most productive and diverse growing areas in the entire United States.
In 1997, the first Jones Vineyards were planted on the Wahluke Slope, and the first grapes Jones sold were to a large Western Washington winery looking to expand production. In 2001, an interest in wine, along with some uncontracted grapes, propelled Jack Jones to get a winery license and Jones of Washington was born. In 2003, Jones of Washington released its first wine, a 2001 Merlot.
The timing was good — Jack Jones' diversification into vineyards came just as the Columbia Basin was gaining itself a reputation as one of the best wine-grape locations in the nation.
Today, the Jones Family owns several vineyards in the Quincy and Mattawa areas and co-owns a Mattawa bulk wine producer, J&S Crushing. The family also continues to harvest many row crops.
Jack Jones’ son, Greg, manages the family’s vineyards; another son, Jeff, manages other crop production; daughter, Megan, is involved in Jones' marketing; and daughter, Maureen, helps out with special events.
In 2012, the family's long farming history reached a new plateau when Jones of Washington was named Washington Winery of the Year by Wine Press Northwest.
"We just want to do a good job with what we're doing," says Jeff Jones of the family operation. "And if you enjoy what you are doing — like we do — it makes it really worthwhile."
When our winemakers point to why Jones of Washington wines are so good, they always point first to the origin — our vineyards. Since 2003, family member Greg Jones has served as vineyard manager, working to grow the best grapes possible. Greg holds a bachelor's degree from Washington State University.
Megan Jones was born and raised on the Jones family farm in Quincy. In 2002, she began working alongside her brother, Greg, in the family vineyards. While learning about the science of growing wine grapes, Megan started laying the framework for Jones of Washington. In 2003, that work led to Jones releasing its first wine, a 2001 Merlot. Today, Megan participates in many of the creative decisions as Jones of Washington's design and special projects manager.
Q: For you personally, what is the most appealing aspect of helping operate a winery?
A: For me, it's been creating the label and designing the tasting rooms. I get excited beginning new projects.
Q: What are you most proud of when it comes to Jones of Washington?
A: I am most proud of the affordable quality of Jones of Washington wines.
Q: When Jones of Washington first started, where were your talents used?
A: The creation of Jones of Washington stared with uncontracted wine grapes that we decided to have custom crushed, which opened up the possibility to start our own winery. I began formulating a brand and vision for us as farmers that could bring forth authenticity to the consumer about the importance of having ideal growing conditions and about the importance of growing excellent wine grapes. When I first thought of the name, Jones of Washington, I was thinking of an umbrella name for the Jones farms.
Q: What do you like most about the "tasting room" experience?
A: I enjoy the atmosphere and architecture that most wineries try to create for the consumer.
Q: What's your favorite memory growing up in a farm family?
A: Driving four wheelers around the farm!
Q: What is your favorite Jones vineyard? Why?
A: When I was working and learning about our vineyards, my favorite was Unit 9, a vineyard located northeast of the town of Mattawa. It has rows of Cabernet, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Syrah and Cab Franc. It was fun to watch them grow next to each other and to see how each variety reacts differently to the growing conditions. I've always been excited to visit this vineyard.
Q: What is your favorite Jones wine? Why?
A: My favorite wine always depends on the occasion and weather and mood I'm in that day as well as the food I will be eating.
Q: If there is one thing that you think most people don't know about Jones of Washington, what would that be?
A: That we are in the fourth generation of the Jones family as farmers.In 2002 Megan began working beside her brother Greg in the family vineyards. Irrigation management, shoot measurements, soil sampling, crop counts, and pedal analysis are among the many tasks that have given her a foundation of knowledge about grape growing and the terroir of the family vineyards. While learning about the vineyards, she began creating Jones of Washington winery. In 2003 Jones of Washington released their first wine, the 2001 Merlot. Megan is the Design and Special Projects Manager for Jones of Washington. She also helps in the Winery.