Diversified grower, rancher, and founder of Goose Ridge Winery Arvid Monson, 73, died December 1. The long time Yakima Valley, Washington, cattleman will be remembered for his handshake business dealings and innovations in tree fruit and wine grapes.
Monson grew up in Yakima and graduated from Selah High School in 1959. He attended Yakima Valley Community College, where he met his future wife, Suzanne Villaume-Monson. They were married in 1961.
After working with his father in a feedlot in Selah, Monson got into the cattle feeding business on his own when he purchased a 25,000-head feedlot operation in 1975 in Sunnyside, Washington. Monson and his partners then purchased a meat packing company in 1977 and formed Washington Beef, which they owned and operated until 1988. In 2004, the family moved their feeding operation from Sunnyside to the Midwest.
His involvement in Washington’s tree fruit industry began in 1979 when he planted a Red Delicious orchard in Outlook. In 1993, Monson and his family purchased property on the Snake River and were early adopters of high-density apple orchard systems.
Four years later, he led the development of Goose Ridge Estate Vineyards, under the guidance of the late Dr. Walter Clore. Today, Goose Ridge has 2,200 acres of wine grapes. Through the years, Monson and family developed and planted more than 2,800 acres of wine grapes, apples, and cherries.
Monson is survived by his wife, Suzanne, daughter Valerie of Richland, Washington, son Bill and his wife, Darci, of Kennewick, and daughter Molly Stutesman and her husband, Rob, of Richland.
Melissa Hansen is the research program director for the Washington Wine Commission. Hansen previously was an associate editor at Good Fruit Grower from 1996 through 2015. Read her stories: Author Index