St. Charles Winery Story

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Richard Bell - Windermere Peninsula Properties

The following narrative is my second of three Blogs about rural Stretch Island in South Puget Sound for the Mason County Localism Promotion that our local Realtors have embraced.  In Mason County, AR members within the real estate community, are telling their stories about life in our small corner the Country through Localism. Those of us who are actively contributing are encouraging the community to Check It OUT! We are beggining to see positive results.

I hope you enjoy my version of the St. Charles Winery Story.

At the end of Prohibition in 1933, Seattle Realtor Charles Somers and his son C.W. Somers started Washington State's First State Bonded Winery. The winery was named St Charles Winery because Charles was a traditional name in the Somers Family.

 

By 1937 there were Forty-two bonded wineries in the State of Washington. Three of the bonded wineries were on Stretch Island.

 

A Brief history of Stretch Island, Grapes and Wine:

 

Stretch Island is named for Gunners Mate Samuel Stretch, a member of the Charles Wilke expedition of 1841. The expedition was sent to support the U.S. Government's claim to the Oregon Territory.

 

Sometime around 1872 a Mr. Lambert B Evans was rowing his flat bottomed skiff through the waters of South Puget Sound looking for his dream property.  Rumor has it that Mr. Evans was a former Confederate Army Civil War veteran from Florida and was recently released from Prison. It was thought that he raised grapes in Florida

 

Evans homesteaded on the northern end of Stretch Island and he began to plant vines along the Island's shore and bluffs overlooking Puget Sound.  He sold his grapes by rowing his flat bottom skiff 20 miles to Olympia.

 

Along comes Adam Eckert, from the Chautauqua Grape Belt of New York. He is the one I spoke about in an earlier Blog who was responsible for producing the grape variety - Island Belle. He created a large nursery and experimented with different varieties of grapes.

 

Back to my narrative about the St Charles Winery.

 

Realtor Charles Somers bought the Eckert property in 1918. It is said that he liked the soil conditions. As any exceptional Realtor would do to promote his enterprise, he claimed that the area was a "warm early location" in fact, 10 degrees warmer than Seattle. I really like this guy.

 

 In 1933 he started the St Charles Winery. By 1936 the Island had three wineries, all with prime vineyards and two grape juice factories.

 

By the early 1960's, two of wineries closed and vineyards became abandoned and neglected. But the Somers family still had a nice vineyard on the Island.

 

The old winery still exits with some original machinery, lab equipment and some old wine bottles with wine in them.

 

Today the old St Charles Winery building has been turned into "The Puget Sound Museum". The Museum has a huge collection about the history of the Mosquito Fleet in Puget Sound.

My next blog in this Series about Stretch Island will be about the "Puget Sound Museum". Thanks for Reading.

 

 

 

 

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Washington Mason County Grapeview Stretch Island
Groups:
Posts to Localism
Puget Sound - WA Real Estate
Wine Lovers of ActiveRain
Peninsula Real Estate
Mason County Realtors and Friends
Tags:
puget sound
mason county
wine
winery
localism
stretch island washington

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainmaker
329,812
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

I love the local history. I moved here from Seattle just because the difference in temperature- LOL. The more I uncover the history concerning Mason County, the more I realize just how special the area we live in really is. You have inspired me to write a blog on  Anna's Bay- Dinah Lee

Nov 17, 2008 06:47 AM #1
Rainer
11,357
Kristian Schonberg
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA

The old St. Charles Winery is very familiar to me.  Not only did I live there for 3 years, but I helped give tours of the Ship's Museum with pictures of the old Kalakala and mosquito fleet, brass controls and winery press.  In the machine shop, we made thousands of oak sleds for Eddie Bauer.  We used the winery basement for our varnish room.

Nov 18, 2008 07:59 AM #2
Rainmaker
329,812
Dinah Lee Griffey
Windermere Peninsula Properties - Allyn, WA
Managing Broker Windermere Peninsula Properties

Kristian, that is really cool. You must have a lot of great local memories. Could you share a few?-Dinah Lee

Nov 18, 2008 09:48 AM #3
Rainmaker
417,264
Debbie Malone
Londeree's Real Estate & Property Management - Lynchburg, VA
From Lynchburg To The Lake (434) 546-0369

Richard, I've never heard of Stretch Island before. This is a great history of the St Charles Winery. Continued success with your localism posts.

Feb 12, 2009 02:28 PM #4
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainer
79,949

Richard R. Bell

Broker-Manager, Allyn - Belfair Washington State Realtor
Ask me a question
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information