YAKIMA, Wash. – Tony Lombardo moved from one bar to another, and now he has become the head winemaker of Kana Winery.
“I’ve done almost 25 years as a lawyer,” he said. “I enjoyed my career, but I had a passion for something that is more hands on. This is what I really want to do when I grow up.”
Lombardo earned a degree from Walla Walla Community College’s Center for Enology and Viticulture in 2009 as well as a viticulture certificate from Washington State University in Prosser.
He joined the Yakima winery last year as enologist after spending time at Spring Valley Vineyard in the Walla Walla Valley and interim winemaker at Ash Hollow Estate Vineyards & Winery, also in Walla Walla. He also interned at Long Shadows Vintners.
Lombardo graduated from Willamette University Law School in Salem, Ore., prior to creating a law practice more than a quarter-century ago.
Palmer Wright, owner of Kana Winery, said he is excited with the path Lombardo will take the operation.
“Kana Winery has developed a loyal following because our wines are made with some of the best fruit Washington state has to offer,” he said. “With Tony’s winemaking ability and direction, Kana Winery will strive to continue a tradition of small-production, award-winning wines.”
Lombardo, 57, learned his love for wine from his mother, who was from Italy.
“I spent a lot of time in my godfather’s cellar and vineyards,” he told Great Northwest Wine. “There’s a lot of nostalgia for me.”
The first wine Lombardo made for Kana from start to finish was the 2012 Katie Mae Zillah Ranch Riesling from the Yakima Valley, which won a gold medal at the Seattle Wine Awards. He said his experience at Long Shadows helped because most of his winemaking experience has been with red wines.
In addition to Lombardo’s promotion to head winemaker, Kana also is expanding its retail operation in downtown Yakima. The winery is in the 82-year-old Larson Building. By this summer, it will have created more space by expanding the tasting bar and added more bistro seating and event space.
Kana makes about 2,000 cases of wine annually and was one of the first wineries to locate in downtown Yakima when it launched in 2004.
The winery tasting room is open from noon to 6:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday, noon to 8 p.m. Friday, noon to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday. It offers live music each Friday evening.
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