By Liz Pleasant

For the past 25 years Bainbridge Vineyards has proudly called itself the only winery on the island that grows all their own grapes. Their seven acres of vineyards sit on Day Road, where both the farmers and their guests enjoy beautiful sweeping views of the Olympics. Throughout the years, Bainbridge Vineyards has stayed closely tied to that land's history and sense of place.

Gerard and JoAnne Bentryn, the winery's original owners, purchased the land from Akio Suyematsu, a local Japanese-American farmer, back in 1982. Not long after he and his wife opened Bainbridge Vineyards, the Bentryns hired Betsey Wittick as another set of hands to help both on the farm and in the winery. Originally from New Jersey, Betsey visited the area for the first time during a cross-country bicycle trip. She fell in love with the Pacific Northwest and wound up moving here after finishing her graduate studies at Cornell.

Now, 26 years later, Betsey runs both Laughing Crow Farms and Bainbridge Vineyards. She's been a huge part of the local food community on the Island, and believes local wine is a natural extension of that.

"Our philosophy is that we'll have wines that we've been involved in through all stages of production," said Betsey.

The Bentryns retired in 2013. With the winery in danger of closing it's doors, Betsey decided to take on the business. Although it's legally licensed as an LLC, Betsey's new business model is structured more like a cooperative. The winery now has many different owners who have a stake in the company and help with everything from pruning to bottling and selling wine at different farmers markets in the area.

"I knew that I couldn't do it alone because it's a lot of work to get involved in," said Bestey. "So I was looking into some kind of partnership to make it all work."

Adding to the workload was managing the organic certification process which they pulled off just last month.

Robin Bodony, a co-owner of the winery, is part of what Betsey calls the "next generation" of farmers. "I've always just been really interested in what it means to be a local consumer and to eat locally," explained Robin. "It's been really fun to learn about what wines from climates such as ours are like."
Robin and Betsey also work together at Laughing Crow Farms. They typically involve two interns at any given time who are given the opportunity to grow veggies, work in vineyards, and learn basic wine making.

"Part of my mission and part of why I got involved in farm internships was to pass knowledge on," explained Betsey. "I get a lot back from young people too. I get their enthusiasm, their ideas, and I get to see that there are other people really interested in this, like me."

With the reorganization of the business and organic certification out of the way, Bainbridge Vineyards is now experimenting with different types of grapes and wine. It take years from when the grapes are first planted to when their wine will be ready to sell, but Betsey hopes to add a fuller bodied red wine to their production list soon. And, they've already begun testing out different sparkling wines.

"Our wine list has a really good range," states Robin. "We've got dry, sweet, table, our rose, and our pinot."

Under the new ownership, it sounds like that range will continue to expand.

Bainbridge Island
Gets Beer

Bainbridge Brewery opened its doors in July of 2012 and has been growing steadily ever since. It has doubled its production and reached establishments all across the state.

By opening the island's first brewery since Thomas Kemper left in the late 1980s, father and son ownership team Chuck and Russell Everett have helped Bainbridge keep pace with other communities.

"Half the breweries in Ballard are buddies of mine. And, I thought I could be the thirteenth brewery in Ballard, or the only one on the island. That's when my dad got involved," explained Russell Everett, who grew up here on the island. "It's a family business."

Although the brewery is only two years old, Russell began brewing beer long before that. "I started home brewing in my dingy college basement in 2001," said Russell about his first brewing experiences during his undergraduate studies at the University of Washington. "My then girlfriend, now wife of nearly a decade, made a terrible mistake and got my college roommate and I a Mr. Beer Kit," said Russell. "We made horrible basement beer in our horrible basement apartment. It was atrocious."


"So about a year later I thought what if I actually got some real equipment and proper know-how and started brewing that way? Those beers came out great."

The beers have only been getting better. Russell has been entering Bainbridge Brewery beers into the Washington Beer Awards since they opened. This year their Belgian Blonde won gold in the Belgian Ales category and their Eagle Harbor IPA took silver, beating 42 other IPAs made in the state.
With so much growth the future for the brewery is bright. Production is way up and Russell recently made the decision to sign up with a distributor. Now, instead of spending full workdays delivering kegs across the Puget Sound region, Russell and his crew can spend more time on Bainbridge.

Next, Russell is interested in bottling his beer, but will need a lot more space to do that. "There is a lack of industrial space on the island that is suitable for us so it's tricky, but we're doing the best with what we've got."

Russell plans on keeping the brewery and the tasting room local. So whether you're enjoying a Puget Sound Giant Hoptopus IPA here on the island or a Battle Point Stout down in Vancouver Washington, Bainbridge Brewery is dedicated to bringing good beer, and a little bit of Bainbridge, to every customer.

Contributed by Liz Pleasant


Bainbridge Island's
Puget Sound
Naval Academy

Little is left of Bainbridge Island's Puget Sound Naval Academy. The academy was housed in the stuctures that now house Messenger House, an elder care facility. The facility began in 1906 as Chataquas Resort community. It was later purchased by Frank Moran – son of Robert Moran, a shipbuilder and former Mayor of Seattle. It became the Moran School in 1914 and for two decades it educated the sons of Seatlle's leading families. After falling into financial straits during the Great Depression, the school was purchased by Joseph A. Hill, for back taxes amounting to $5,000. Hill opened the Puget Sound Naval Academy there in 1939 and stood as its first president in addition to Hill Military Academy in Porland, Oregon. The Bainbridge school lasted until 1951 preparing young men for leadership positions in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard.

Predating the Messenger House Care Center founded in 1960, the buildings became the Stonehall Rehabilitative Center, advertising salt air and physical therapy for those with crippling diseases. While Messenger house occupies much of the remaining structures, the four-story theater building has been left for the most part un-occupied. It has fallen into disrepair. In 2010, the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation listed the building as one of the "10 Most Endangered Historic Properties for 2010."


Across the few miles of Puget Sound lay the Seattle skyline, poking into low-lying clouds, the old Smith Tower now no longer the tallest building. Ahead the road rose away from the beach front, twisting sharply to the left. […]

He rounded the bend, as if it were yesterday, instantly recognizing the surroundings. […]

Houses, mostly new, a few familiar, moved quietly by. He waited anxiously for the final turn directly ahead. As the nose of the Buick rounded the bend, there was… the academy?

Where were the tall white wooden columns which held the heavy crossbar? And the huge white mailbox where the postman delivered his letters and packages filled with those delicious treats from home? And even the road wasn't right. He stopped the car, shut off the engine and got out. Then he realized what was wrong; there was no drill field. A long row of houses, flanked by shrubbery, blocked the view of the sound. […]

The old flagpole no longer stood at the far end of the property. He looked up at the building once called the "U.S.S. Bainbridge," or "Bainbridge Hall." On the top left side were the windows of the room he and Eddie shared. The building looked deserted now, yet the front door was open. He walked over and stepped inside.

"Hello? Anyone home?"
A workman stepped from what had been the superintendent's office. "Help you?"

"Oh, I just wanted to look around a bit, if it's alright. I used to go to school here. I won't get in the way or anything."

"I guess it'll be alright. Excuse the mess, we use it for a storage building now, y'know. Go ahead."

Charlie looked in the opposite office where he'd gathered his share of demerits at Captain's Mast. He walked into the auditorium and looked at the sloping floor leading to the stage. All the seats were gone but even so, how small it seemed now.

Walking back out he climbed the steps to the first landing. On the wall a black piece of wood was all that remained of the pay telephone. […]

He sighed and mounted the next few steps to where a big red machine once held ice -cold Cokes. Of course, it too was gone. The ship's store, where he'd bought paste, shoe polish, paper, pencils, ties, hats, Scotch Tape, Wildroot Crème Oil and those precious rate patches… empty.

On the next floor he wandered through the deserted school rooms. They, too, seemed much smaller than he remembered them. […]

Climbing the back ladders, he remembered with each step how often he'd swept, swabbed and polished them. […]

He walked slowly up the passageway. […] He went into room 13 which he shared with Ken. It was tiny! […]

He looked out the windows, the old ropes still holding onto heavy iron counterweights. The trees had grown huge, blocking the view of the old drill field. […]

Everything was so different … yet so familiar.

He walked down the front ladders, which had been available to him only as an officer, past the school deck, past the old ship's store, past the telephone and down to the bottom floor again. He stuck his head in the office

"I'm done now. And thanks a lot."[…]

Excerpted from Charles W. Lindenberg's novel, The Academy, a true account of his experiences at the Puget Sound Naval Academy, published in 1998 by Morris Publishing,  Kearney, NE. Mr. Lindenberg now lives in the San Juan Islands.


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Flickr Photos

Ambrose F. Grow

Ambrose Grow and his wife, Amanda, and their family came to Eagle Harbor in 1881. He was a Civil War veteran and came because of the descriptive letters he had read in the New York and Kansas papers telling of the virtues of Bainbridge Island. Selling his large farm in Manhattan, Kansas, he homesteaded 160 acres here along the waterfront. In addition to being a charter member of the Eagle Harbor Congregational Church and the Madrone Schools, he was a prolific correspondent to the happenings in Eagle Harbor and environs.

The Grow Family Homestead
Still stands today as home to
Harbour Public House

Parfitt Way Management • 231 Parfitt Way S.W. • Bainbridge Island, WA 98110 • Phone: 206- 842- 0969 • Email: click here