Rudolf Werberger emigrated from Germany in 1904, and married another German immigrant, Marie while working as a miner in the town of Roslyn WA.
They spent some years working with Rudy's brother's wine wholesaling business in St. Louis, and returned to WA state in 1918. They bought 7 acres of land along Pickering Pass across from Hartstene Island (just south of Stretch Island). They planted a thousand cuttings of mostly Island Belle grapes, and some White Diamond (or Chasselas) gotten from Adam Eckert (see Old St. Charles). They recognized that the grape business would expand with the coming of prohibition.
The winery was owned and operated by Rudy's son Bill until the early 70's. It was sold, but failed and closed.
In Feb-2007, I was contacted by Catherine Smith, whose father, James McGoldrick, was a close friend of "Rudy" and Marie Werberger. From an email with her, regarding the first photo:
"their Werberger truck parked in front of the winery with a group of people (I recognize Marie & Rudy, my parents with another woman & my maternal grandmother - some of the others are probably Bill, daughter Elsie Wilson & her husband, but I am unable to recognize them.)"
Catherine also included some small sections of 8mm movie film that I have no mechanism for viewing. I will be contributing these materials to the WA Wine Museum in Tacoma.
Follows is almost the entirety another email with Catherine:
"The building & vineyard were right next to their house, which I think was on a bay in Shelton. [...] My memories are: that my parents were driving back to Olympia from visiting Rudy & Marie when they heard on the car radio that Pearl Harbor had been bombed - I was less than 6 mos. at the time; over the years as a child we visited many times, usually after church on Sun. - we NEVER got out of the car until Rudy came out because of the guard dogs; many times they were having "lunch" & invited us - I was not interested in trying the blood sausage or head cheese, but sure liked the pastries which Marie had; they had one of the 1st TVs & it was a fairly large console with a round screen; I can remember the "smells" of the winery, bringing home a variety of grapes in the fall & bottles of their wine. My parents spoke of the hard work Rudy & Marie had done over the years & how the winery had grown - they could remember 1st visiting & Werbergers were using galvanized tubs & garden hoses in the wine making process."
Note: frequently small vineyards keep loose dogs for deer control; a
single deer can easily knock back a dozen plants in a night by
nibbling tender new shoots in spring.
Of special note:
If you have any details about this winery which you can add, please, please, please send email to mikel
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