How to Build a Good Life – Jan & John Little

Lots of work and play have made a very healthy and happy life for Jan & John Little, owners of Rio Vista Winery.

It’s a family winery, with son John Jr. educated and taking care of the vines (and smoking the amazing salmon), grand-daughter Kelsey at the Cabin in Manson, and artist-daughter Kerry Siderius creating the wine labels and offering up beautiful prints that grace the walls of the only Chelan winery on the Columbia River. Along with 4 kids are 11 grandkids and 2 great-grands. And don’t forget Rocky, the friendly lab that greets you at the parking lot with a ball in his mouth.

The work? That starts way back in 1995 when Jan and John bought the property which was “just a pile of weeds,” says Jan. They planted 100+ vines, put in irrigation; Jan does all the landscaping; John manages to find something that must be fixed every day. John says they learned to grow grapes by trial and error and they were among the first in the valley to grow, along with Tsillan Cellars and Lake Chelan Winery.

The happy? That starts way back, too, with 55 years of marriage so far and counting. They met at Seattle World’s Fair, with each of them attending the UW and working for GE at the Fair. Jan and John love traveling, which so far has taken them to New Zealand, Italy, Spain and Hawaii. They get away 2-3 weeks in the Winter.

The healthy? The expansive grounds at Rio Vista are not level. They purposely choose not to have a golf cart – so there’s lots of walking everyday at the Vineyard. They say working and walking, eating lots of salads and veggies keeps them healthy – along with a glass of wine, of course!

And part of a happy marriage is also “loving where you live,” says John. It’s easy to let cares drift away as you sit and relax at Rio Vista Winery. And the winery name? John says the previous owner used to race horses on the property and had stables. They stable remains on the property by the parking lot, with the name Rio Vista on the wall.


About the Foundation:

For more than 35 years, the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation (formerly the Lake Chelan Community Hospital Foundation) has been committed to helping make the Lake Chelan Valley area a healthier place to be for everyone by encouraging and managing financial gifts, promoting healthcare services for our hospital, and wellness initiatives for the Valley.

Our Mission is to promote healthcare services and wellness initiatives for the Lake Chelan Valley.