Westport Winery to create 40-acre arboretum on Washington coast

By on May 5, 2013
Westport Winery

Westport Winery, which is eight miles from the Washington coast, will create an arboretum next to its winery, vineyard and restaurant. (Photo courtesy of Westport Winery)

ABERDEEN, Wash. – One of Washington’s most innovative wineries is adding another level of complexity to its operation by creating an arboretum.

Westport Winery, halfway between Aberdeen and the coastal town of Westport, purchased 40 acres of land last year from Rayonier, a forest products company. It is across the highway from Blain and Kim Roberts’ winery, vineyard, farm, restaurant and nursery operation.

According to Kim Roberts, this will be the first arboretum in Grays Harbor County and Westport will be the first winery in the United States to create one. Of the 22 arboretums in Washington, the nearest to Westport is in Tacoma.

“We want to create a unique wilderness interface featuring great photographic and wildlife viewing opportunities,” said Blain Roberts.

Westport Winery started in 2007

The two launched Westport Winery in 2007, and their two children help with the operation, with son Dana making the wine and daughter Carrie handling general manager duties. They make more than 30 different wines, many using berries grown on their 40-acre farm, as well as from nearby cranberry bogs and top vineyards in the Columbia Valley.

After the Roberts family purchased the adjacent 40 acres last year, it was advised by Don Tapio, the horticulture agent for Washington State University’s Extension Office in Grays Harbor and Thurston counties. Tapio also suggested the family plant its original grapes and launch the winery.

Since starting the winery in 2007, Westport has quickly expanded by adding a full-service restaurant that focuses on fresh local ingredients, a bakery, a nursery and a sculpture garden. It also has a vineyard maze.

Westport Winery Arboretum to have themes

Plans for the arboretum include removing noxious weeds and invasive plants, then creating theme areas that include Japanese maples, conifers, rock plants, ferns, mosses, lilacs, heather, azaleas, rhododendrons and wildflowers.

Kim Roberts, who has earned two degrees in architecture from WSU, will lead the project, which will be called the Westport Winery Arboretum.

“In one day, I observed 25 different bird species on the property,” she said. “We hope to work with Grays Harbor Audubon to record the avian species on the site, create better habitat and teach others how to better appreciate the diversity.”

For more information,  call 360-648-2224.

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is founding partner of Great Northwest Wine LLC and a longtime wine columnist. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books.

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