Two Mountain Winery – Meet the Maker

Two Mountain Winery - Yakima Valley Winery

Two Mountain Winery – Meet the Maker

December 19, 2023

Four generations after their grandfather planted Schmidt Orchards, Patrick and Matt Rawn are growing and crafting award-winning, estate-grown wines on the same lands. From their youngest days as the farm “help” they’ve been imbued with an inherent love of the land. “This place becomes a part of who we are,” they say. That bond and love of the land is evident in their commitment to stewardship and sustainability, earning the first Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing certification.

Matt Rawn and Patrick Rawn – Two Mountain Winery

What does it mean to you to be stewards of the same lands your family has worked for generations?

We view our role as just that.  Stewards, not owners.  We are just the family’s current iteration of stewarding this place.  It is our job to care for this place so it can continue to provide for future generations in the future.   A big part of this stewardship is taking a long-term view and making every decision in the context of its impact on future generations. 

How did your commitment to sustainable growing and winemaking develop?

Our journey toward becoming sustainably certified, under both Rules for Sustainable Winegrowing and now Sustainable WA, has been simultaneously a long process and the most natural thing we have done for our business.  It took us some time to get our heads around the concept of having our farming practices certified by a third party.  Once the stubbornness toward a third party wore off it was a very natural fit.  Once we began formal certification, we realized we were already operating in compliance with the standard by and large.  Now we can leverage the best practices defined in both certification programs as benchmarks toward continuous operation improvement.  It creates a virtuous cycle within the organization.

You’ve taken sustainability to a higher level with involvement in the creation of the new Sustainable WA certification, as well as earning certification for your vineyards. Do you see those practices growing in the Yakima Valley moving forward?

An increasing amount of the valley’s acreage will most certainly become certified over the next couple of years.  My guess is we will see at least half of the vineyard acreage become certified within five years.  Most growers do a great job and really care deeply about their farms and the valley at large.  Taking the step to become certified gives a grower the opportunity to tell the story of good things they are doing.  It gives one a seat at the table.  Additionally, Sustainable WA is built on the best science and practices that exist.  Investing in meeting the standard provides a roadmap towards continually getting better as a grower. 

What should wine consumers know about sustainable practices in winegrowing and winemaking? Do you see consumers considering this when choosing wines?

Consumers care where their food and beverage come from.  How it was grown and that that was done in a way that is additive to the community in which it was grown matters.  Becoming certified shows one’s customers just that. 

There should not be a binary choice between a great wine and one that supports the community it was grown in.  Certification helps consumers not have to make compromises in that rubric.

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