The son of a farmer, Melvin Dean Tucker’s farming career began in 1948 with his Sunnyside High School FFA project on the same family farm where members of his family continue the enterprise. While other farmers relied on one or two specific crops, Mr. Tucker believed that diversification was key to sustaining a family farm. Planting a variety of fruits and vegetables, Mr. Tucker believed that direct marketing would lead to success. He along with his wife, Rose and their four children decided to open Tucker’s Fruit Stand near their farm in 1978. This fruit stand has grown to become not only a provider of fresh produce for local buyers, but a visitor attraction in its Yakima Valley location. The family orchards produced grapes for sale to local wineries. Believing that the wine making process would be profitable and add diversity to the family business, in 1981 Dean Tucker and his family established Tucker Cellars Winery. Tucker Cellars created their Indian Summer wine for Anthony’s Homeport Restaurant in Seattle. The Tucker farming operations also provided fresh fruit and produce to the restaurant’s chain. After Melvin’s passing in 1999, Anthony’s Restaurants decided to memorialize a man who had believed that “we must learn to put good wines on the market.” Therefore, a graduate fellowship in viticulture will be established. Mr. Tucker’s belief in learning and his ability to try new ventures were hallmarks of his success in the winery, fruit and produce business. A qualified researcher in the field of viticulture will aid wine and juice grape producers in the state of Washington.
The proceeds from the endowment fund may be used to provide fellowship stipends to be used by the recipient for such things as tuition and fees, subsistence, research expenses, and other educationally related costs. One or more Dean Tucker/Anthony’s Restaurant Fellows will be assigned to the Chateau Ste. Michelle Distinguished Professor in Viticulture.