LEWISTON – In 2007, Art and Doug McIntosh of Lewiston launched an effort to add vintners to their resume. Theirs was already impressive, including fourth-generation grain farmers, work for the Associated Press as a photographer, and as jazz musicians who toured Europe.
And since American saxophonist Kenny G opened for the McIntosh brothers, rather than vice versa, it may be safe to say the McIntoshes are the rock stars of the Lewiston wine scene.
Art related how he finds it interesting when he shops now he will have community members stop him and ask if he runs the Lindsay Creek Winery, which the duo opened in September of 2014 with their wives, Michelle and Brenda. He says he can’t remember when he was asked if he was a grain producer.
“When you tell people you’re a grain producer, ah well,” he said expressing boredom. “You tell them you are a wine producer and suddenly their eyes light up.”
The decision to diversify was two-fold. Art had already been making beer for several years and their experience in agriculture seemed a compatible combination. The pair opted to enroll at Washington State University, Art studying enology – or wine making – and Doug studying viticulture – grape growing.
With so much focus in the industry for value-added production, it seemed a logical leap to expand into viticulture and enology. Value-added production is another term for diversification. The McIntoshes already owned land and had a wealth of experience in ag production.
The pair also had an impeccable comprehension of the soil in their region. They understood the sediment deposits from flooding ages ago had left a fertile soil offering the perfect composition and drainage grape vines require.
Everything began when Art and Doug planted the first crop of 150 sticks of mostly Bordeaux grapes. This was followed by several varieties of the Rhone grape. Today, Doug maintains 11 acres of grapes for Art to crush at their facility.
Lindsay Creek Winery not only is the site of the growing and production of the wine, the brothers also offer space for events and a wine tasting room.
“We didn’t expect the events end to take off the way it did,” Art said.
Art and Doug also team up with merchants in downtown Lewiston during the monthly art walks. Doug will pour wine in one of the businesses during the event to market and promote the winery.
“We get more business from that,” he said.
The pair hasn’t completely left grain production either. They worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to obtain certification that they are organic and began milling their soft durum wheat. Doug said the certified organic flour is sold at Blue Lantern in Lewiston, M&M Market in Moscow and the Primeland Stores.
The brothers also recently signed a non-exclusive pact with Porchlight Pizza in Pullman to have all its crusts made with the organic flour.
The pair said they couldn’t have accomplished so much without a strong work ethic. They both expressed the reality of long, hard days and increased physical labor.
But the effort has been duly noted. The McIntoshes were recently notified they were nominated to receive the Governor’s Award for Excellence in Marketing Innovation.
“We’re very flattered by the nomination,” Art said while sitting in the tasting room of the winery. He had just completed a tour of the facility with Doug, and took a moment to speculate on the future. There are dreams of expansion and widening the scope of events offered at the facility.
With the McIntosh brothers’ understanding of marketing and ag production, Lindsay Creek Winery seems destined for growth.