Vital Wine Healthcare Pt 1

Vital Wine Healthcare Pt 1

Bob Larson
Bob Larson
With today's Fruit Grower Report, I'm Bob Larson. A Walla Walla winery is dedicated to helping wine industry employees get the healthcare they need and deserve, no questions asked.

Every penny of profits from Vital Wines goes to the SOS Clinic in College Place, a free, non-profit clinic.

Vital winemaker Ashley Trout says it's been amazing, but not perfect ...

TROUT ... "The problem we run up against in the Washington wine industry is Chateau Ste. Michelle harvests, I believe, 70-percent of the fruit in the state. And, they are a wonderful big brother, that's not the complaint, but the quick math is that you've got 900 wineries vying for one-third of the state's fruit and the average age of a winery is between 5 and 12 years. And, the state that I've heard is that three out of every four wineries never even makes a profit and if they do, they're certainly not making it in the first few years."

Trout says it's a tough spot to be in ...

TROUT ... "When you put all those numbers together, what it means is you've got all these wineries, and vineyards are really no different, that are young and small and broke, and when they go to hire people, because of that, they hire part-time staff not full-time."

She says there's clearly a need ...

TROUT ... "So, if you have this $5-billion statewide, annual industry resting its existence on literally the backs of people who don't have their basic needs being met and yet there's no clear answer, then what?"

Tune in tomorrow for more on Vital Wines or go to

The 4th Annual Vital Wines Benefit Dinner is Thursday night, April 11th.

Vital Wines are quick to sell out, but when available, you can find them through their wine club and mailing list or at select retail outlets.

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