The name WILLIS HALL was drawn from the names of two members of John Bell’s family and was chosen to honor two special individuals who were significant in John’s life. WILLIS was John’s father’s middle name, and HALL was John’s maternal grandmother’s maiden surname. Even today, long after their passings, John feels a continued connection with them and the love they shared while in this life. By crafting his wines with passion, John feels that each bottle of WILLIS HALL wine has been touched with this special feeling, a connection that he wishes to share.
John Bell is the winemaker and sole owner of WILLIS HALL, LLC. In the early 1980s, John developed an interest in wine appreciation. Pursuing all avenues to learn about wines for over 15 years, John determined that further learning could come about only by his actually making wine. Because he was an employee of The Boeing Company, John availed himself of the opportunity to join the Boeing Employees’ Wine and Beermakers’ Club, a.k.a. the Boeing Wine Club, giving him access to the accumulated experience of fellow members, some of whom had started commercial wineries, as well as access to some of the most highly regarded vineyards in Washington State.
John’s palate, which had been developed from his earlier wine education, enabled him to fashion wines that were awarded Best-of-Class, Gold, and Best-of-Show awards. The next logical step for John was to start WILLIS HALL, so that his wines could be made available for general purchase, consumption, and enjoyment. Vintage 2003 was the inaugural vintage for WILLIS HALL. In 2004 John retired from Boeing and is now making wine full time at WILLIS HALL. And in April 2006 in their inaugural Washington Wine Awards, Seattle Magazine honored John by naming him Best New Winemaker in Washington.
In keeping with the family-naming theme, occasionally a wine will be so significant that it will bear the name of a special member of John Bell’s family. The names for these wines will be added to this page when the wines are released. Please check current releases and wine club for wine availability.