Our Rivers, Our Way Of Life: Meet Victor Palencia

How Big Is Wine To Our Region? We grow more...

by Stacey Azure

How Big Is Wine To Our Region?

We grow more than 300 different crops in Washington state alone, and it’s because of our ability to irrigate. Today, the Columbia Basin Project serves about 671,000 acres in east central Washington. We grow everything from apples and potatoes, to hops for beer and grapes for our wine. In fact the wine industry in Washington now includes more than 900 wineries, 350 growers and 50,000 acres of land…all made possible by irrigation. Our team caught up with Victor Palencia of Palencia Winery right here in Kennewick. Here’s his story.


Victor: This vineyard is called “big river” the irony of it all. It’s in a beautiful site, right in the heartland of the Wahluke slope. That happens to be the 2nd hottest region in Washington. And just beautiful, ripe texture color, and flavors,” said Palencia.

Meet Victor Palencia

“My name is Victor Palencia. I’m the owner, winemaker for Palencia Wine Company. We’re here today at Monarcha Winery in Kennewick, Washington. It’s literally the heartland of wine country. Within a 60-mile radius, I can find some of the more premier vineyard sites. This is going to be now my 21st vintage. I was very fortunate that I got an early start naturally. I grew up in Prosser, Washington. The fact that I grew up among wine grapes, helps me understand wine and wine grapes themselves. I think this helps translate into wines that are truly a definition and varietal characteristic and are very unique in nature,” said Palencia.

“The importance of water and wine and it’s crucial and it’s amazing to think that we are literally in a desert land. This is the desert and wine grapes thrive in this environment. I should add to that, it’s not just the grape source, it’s the quality of wine grapes that are grown with this arid climate. We can pinpoint the usage of water in the most efficient manner. In addition to that, we grow the best quality we can,” said Palencia.

“It’s interesting to think we have one of the most efficient growing variety of crops out there because we don’t necessarily require a tremendous amount of water but it is essential. You can’t do it without the water,” said Palencia.


“We are definitely a diverse region and what I love about this place is you get the whole data and you can find some of the best local wine producers, amazing potato farmers, fresh produce. The list goes on and on and it’s all because of our verse region, the rich agriculture but additional to having access to great farming and water,” said Palencia.