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Adams Bench, part 1

Life enhancing moments

Words spoken, suggestions made, moments appreciated. All these nudge us in directions we may or may not have anticipated. Adams Bench came to fruition from these life enhancing moments.

Owner/winemaker Tim Blue grew up in north central Indiana on the edge of his grandfather's farm. The nearest village was inhabited by 100 people. He attended Adams Elementary as his dad's parents and his dad and uncle had. His father became a teacher, was Tim's 5th grade teacher, and went on to become a school principal and school superintendent. Tim played sports throughout his school years. Eventually, the Adams school was scheduled to be torn down. Tim's dad salvaged the clock from the 6 th grade classroom that rang the school bell, which Tim still has. He also salvaged the disciplinary bench that sat outside the principal's office, now about 120 years old. "My dad sent me to the bench a few times," laughs Tim. "It was a feared object in the school. In 2005 when we were naming our company, we decided on 'Adams Bench' and had the bench shipped to us. I noticed that the arm of the bench that was nearest the principal's office was clean, while the other arm had kids' initials carved into it. You could only get away with it sitting on that end of the bench!"

Tim's first career nudge came in junior high from his dad who asked him what he might want to do. Tim thought basketball coach or teacher. His dad suggested that since he had no interest in science (so no med school), he spoke well, was a good thinker, and had respect and admiration from his peers, he might want to think about becoming a lawyer. "He told me I had the inherent gifts I'd need to do this and, if this was meaningful to me, I'd also make more money than I would being a coach or teacher. From that moment, I never seriously considered anything else. If mom was driving into town, I'd ride along so I could go to the courthouse. I got to know the bailiff and judges. If lawyers were coming into town for a trial, the bailiff would let me know so I could watch." Tim went to college, became a lawyer, and practiced law two blocks from Adams Elementary.

One of Tim's friends had grown up in Seattle. "He always talked about the beauty of Seattle and the Northwest. I could tell he was not long for our small Indiana town, and eventually he moved his family to north Seattle. I was a small town kid, but after clerking at a large law practice, and working two-and-half years in a law practice, I thought I probably needed to get to a bigger city. I decided to visit my friend in Seattle and since I'd be there anyway, I sent resumes and set up interviews. I ended up with 16 interviews in April of 1982, then got call backs from a few firms. By the time I returned home, I had job offers. It was not an easy decision to leave everything I'd known. In 1982, I joined the, then, law firm of Williams, Lanza, Kastner and Gibbs in Seattle, becoming a partner in 1989."

At the age of 43, Tim had been a lawyer for 16 years and lived in Seattle for nearly 14 years. His wife Erica's dad loved wine. "He knew about as much about wine as you can as a lay person. He loved to cook and liked his family to join him as he cooked and sip along. I didn't drink. During the 1996 holidays, he asked me why I didn't drink. I told him I grew up near a village of 100 people and that village had two Baptist churches. There was no drinking, dancing, movies, card playing. I'd been an athlete and played college football. He said 'Tim, I appreciate that, and wherever this leads, I still love you. Wine is a special product that has been appreciated through the centuries. It brings people together around a table. What was the Lord's first miracle?' Turning water into wine, I answered. 'Bingo! And if you read Genesis through the old and new testaments, wine is all over the place. Real wine, not the Welches you get at Baptist communion. There's nothing in the bible against drinking, just do it in moderation. And if you've checked the mirror lately, you don't look like an athlete anymore!'"

In May 1997 at a Vancouver, B.C., restaurant, Erica's family was celebrating birthdays. Tim tried the Sangiovese. He told Erica, 'I'd rather have a Coke' but had a second glass. By his third glass he thought it might just be the greatest day of his life. During that summer he had wine occasionally. "I got interested in wine and read all about it. I always have to jump in feet first when I'm interested in something. That year, Erica and I traveled to Healdsburg, California. I started to appreciate the red Zins from Dry Creek Valley, and we drove to the Russian River Valley. We walked the dirt of the vineyards and I realized that growing grapes wasn't so different from what my grandfather did; it's agriculture and I know agriculture. It touched something in me. That trip was significant and was the first of many." Between 1997-2004, they made 25 trips to northern California, including Napa. They visited 250 wineries, in California, Oregon, and eastern Washington, and worked a few days of crush in Healdsburg. "Wine was what we did when we weren't working. Erica graduated from the University of Washington Medical School, took her Residency at UW in Ob-Gyn, and practiced as an Ob-Gyn physician at The Everett Clinic for many years before migrating into administration there. Her science knowledge is so helpful. While not involved in production, she is part of blend trials, fermentation, and chemistry issues."

Connie Adams/February 2021

Watch for part 2 next month

Adams Bench
14360 160th Pl NE
Woodinville, WA 98072

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