Estate grown, with an unwavering attention to detail from soil to sip.
|Founded in 2006, Gård Vintners is a family-owned and operated estate winery in the heart of Washington’s Columbia Valley AVA, with vineyards on the Royal Slope, wine production in Walla Walla, and tasting rooms in Woodinville and Ellensburg.
The winery was founded by brothers Sandy and John Lawrence, who have farmed the Royal Slope for more than 50 years, along with John’s son Josh, who joined the operation in 2002. The winery is managed by Josh and his wife, Lisa, who oversees sales and marketing, while Josh oversees the vineyard and other farm and orchard operations.
In 2011 Aryn Morell joined the team as winemaker, and winemaking is now managed at M&L Production in Walla Walla. Gård, meaning "farm,” is a tribute to our family's Scandinavian heritage and farming tradition.
|Josh & Lisa Lawrence, Proprietors
Gård Vintners was created in 2006 from the vision of managing partner, Josh Lawrence, to reflect the quality of their estate vineyard in the glass.
Josh grew up in Royal City, a small agricultural town located 30 miles south of Moses Lake and 45 miles east of Ellensburg in the Columbia Valley. Read more about the Lawrence Farm's history here. He went to Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma where he majored in business administration and met his future bride, Lisa Lawrence, who majored in communications and grew up in Olympia.
Josh returned to Royal City after college to farm for a few years, then moved to Redmond, Wash., where he married Lisa. At the time, Lisa was riding the dot-com wave in marketing and public relations, while Josh was working in sales and later started a wine importing business.
The couple moved to Royal City in 2001, and not long after Josh started Lawrence Vineyards in partnership with his dad, John Lawrence, and uncle, Sandy Lawrence, who have been farming the Royal Slope for more than 45 years. Together, they launched Gård Vintners in 2006.
Josh and Lisa raise two daughters and a son on the farm in Royal City. Josh oversees operations at Gård Vintners, as well as their estate Lawrence Vineyards. Josh, along with his dad, John, also manages Lawrence Enterprises (which includes apple orchards, cherry orchards, and a variety of other crops, such as wheat, hay and beans). Lisa oversees sales and marketing operations for Gård Vintners.
Aryn Morell, Winemaker
Aryn grew up in Western Washington and left to attend the University of Nevada Las Vegas, originally for the golf program but ended up studying Chemistry at the College of Sciences there. Looking to continue that path to a career in Chemical Engineering, he spent a weekend in Napa Valley and was convinced by his brother that he should come to the Valley and experience the wine industry. After a few great meals and some great bottles of wine, Aryn began work in the wine industry of Napa Valley in late 2003. He started as a lab technician for Golden State Vintners, who at the time was the fifth largest winery in the United States. He soon moved to share time at their ultra-premium property, Edgewood Estates. Aryn left GSV to go through an official winemaking internship at Silver Oak, Napa Valley. Looking to further his knowledge, he then went to work for a company that focused on Chemical Engineering within the wine industry from 2005 – 2008, and it was here that Aryn says he gained huge insights on the industry as the company had almost 900 clients. Through this company Aryn personally worked at wineries such as Joseph Phelps, Quintessa, Hundred Acre, Husic, Hartwell, Chimney Rock, Caldwell Vineyards, Vineyard 29, Chappellet, Rutherford Hill, Spring Mountain Winery, Stags Leap Winery, Turnbull, Elyse and countless others. He has always said that being able to achieve something in the winery usually means you needed to experience it at another place. Well, having been in most of the wineries that we all love, he has the unique ability to say he has actually seen those things first hand.
Aryn has been in Washington state since 2007 after taking over the winemaking at Matthews Estate in Woodinville. Since that point he has made some of Washington's highest rated Sauvignon Blancs, as well as Syrahs that have never scored below 91 points in Wine Spectator. He also makes the wine for Tenor Wines, a new winery with a reserve-only program focused on making Washington's greatest single varietals and one proprietary red blend.
Isidro Mondragon, Vineyard Manager
Isidro Mondragon has been with the Lawrence operation since 2000. He oversees the family’s orchard and vineyard growing operations. Originally from Michoacan, Mexico, Isidro and his wife have raised four sons in the Columbia Basin of Washington.He worked in Fresno, CA when he was younger in orchards and vineyards gaining valuable experience.
The popular red blend "Don Isidro" was honorably named after Isidro, when his employees address him, they refer to him as "the Don", which in the spanish culture is a sign of high respect. The Don Isidro has been in production since 2006 and remains our best selling red garnering multiple awards.
Eric Swikard, National Sales Manager
Born and raised in San Diego, California, Eric grew to appreciate a taste for California-fresh cuisine and Napa style wines. With a food and wine backbone, he decided to attend New England Culinary Institute’s (N.E.C.I.’s) Hospitality & Restaurant Management program in Burlington, Vermont. Graduating from the accelerated Bachelors program with nine other graduates, Eric honed his skills in food and beverage and began to appreciate wines outside of just Napa Valley. Here Eric had the rare opportunity to study under Dellie Rex, co-author of the acclaimed book About Wine- who was the first to introduce him to the true potential of Washington wines.
After completing the N.E.C.I. program, Eric moved back to California to help open Decanter Restaurant & Wine Lounge in Rancho Santa Fe. Here, he worked under owner/sommelier Jayson Knack who encouraged Eric to pursue his passion for wine by further educating with the Court of Master Sommeliers.
In the fall of 2009, Eric moved to Seattle to work for one of Seattle’s top restaurateurs- Eric Banh of Monsoon Restaurants. Here he worked as the Wine Director and received recognition for his wine program from the Washington Wine Commission. In 2015, Eric founded Vin2U Wine Group and partnered with Gård Vintners to expand their national and international sales.