Our story is told through the lives of four generations of men named Pete. From Pete Taggares I, who established the family name in the U.S., to Pete Taggares IV, a savvy young man with a vision for growing his family’s business, our story is not unlike the very orchards and vineyards we cultivate.
Pete Taggares I arrived in the States, from Greece, at 18 years of age. He settled and started his family in Prosser, WA. He quickly became a man who made something from almost nothing. He spoke little English, but started a small farm in Othello, growing apples, wine grapes and other crops. Pete I also owned a local car dealership, hardware store, grocery store and a majority interest in Sunny Jim Jams.
His son, Pete Taggares II, bought the family’s first major parcel of land in Othello in the late 1950s. He was in his early 20s, and he saw a business opportunity. What started as only bare land would eventually grow into fertile farmland of over 3,000 acres of farmland. Pete II established Washington State’s first french fry plant, Chef Reddy, in the 1960s. The potato processing business flourished under his leadership, making it possible to build additional plants in the midwest. While operating one farm and multiple processing plants, Pete II also founded 3,000 acres of land in Burbank, WA. Like his father, he imagined fertile soil where there was only bare ground and a newly built irrigation system. The land became known as the Snake River Vineyards, home to apple orchards and grape vineyards; at one time, its claim to fame was being the largest concord grape vineyard in the world with more than 2,388 acres. Farming was always at the heart of Pete II’s ventures. He’d built a strong, respectable reputation as more than a businessman. He took pride in the Taggares name and created a brand that was recognizable to anyone in the industry. His family is proud that part of this brand was helping smaller farmers in the Pacific Northwest, often by loaning money for much-needed equipment.
Fortunately for the industry and the Taggares family, Pete III spent a considerable amount of time entrenched in the family business after attending, and playing football at, the University of Washington. He became a Vice-President and co-owner of PJ Taggares Company in 1975 and oversaw operations of Snake River Vineyards from 1991 to 2014. He will remain a consultant for Taggares Fruit Company, focusing on consulting management on matters related to farm operations.
Pete Taggares IV has been involved in the farm since he was five years old. Whether helping move irrigation pipes or “driving” a tractor on his grandfather’s lap, he loved having a part in the daily operations. Entrepreneurship is in his blood; growing up, he knew he’d eventually help run the family business. Pete IV earned two business degrees from the University of Washington and an MBA from Arizona State University. He worked in finance and development in a variety of industries before returning to the family business. Now, armed with new ideas and a different perspective, he intends to grow the farm for the next generation.