For our customers not familiar with the viticulture of Washington State, you must know that all of the vines from which our grapes are sourced are grown on their own roots. This is contrary to viticultural practices in France, Italy, Germany, California, and Oregon where wine grape vines are grafted onto root stock derived from Vitus Labrusca, native American grape varieties that are resistant to phylloxera, a root louse responsible for devastating the world’s vineyards in the 19th century. We feel this gives Washington State an edge in discovering the true terroir of the wine grape. Following are the fine vineyards where our grapes are sourced.
Alder Creek Vineyard
Grapes Sourced in 2003
This new vineyard yielded some very fine Cabernet in 2003, one of the warmest growing years in recent history. Located above the drainage for Alder Creek near the town of Alderdale not far from the Columbia River, this vineyard is owned and operated by Dave and Fran Groth. It’s also home to many more red varietals and is located not far from Champoux Vineyard. We like the proximity to a vineyard with such a fine heritage. We look forward to making more Alder Creek wine in the future.
Grapes sourced 2002 to present
Owner Bruce Zunser takes great care in managing this warm Mattawa location. It is the source for some truly wonderful Merlot, and it’s precious at that because he’s only planted 5 of his 40-acre plot. Not one to jump head first into a venture, Bruce is searching for quality before expanding his site. We are very glad to be a part of his plans. Bruce is an engineer for Boeing’s flight test program during the winter months and is also a pilot who flies his Cessna 172 to his vineyard near the Desert Aire landing strip.
Grapes sourced in 2003
We made some mighty Merlot from this vineyard in 2003 due to a surprise in availability and a shortage at Ciel du Cheval. Fred has been keeping his grapes close at hand for select wineries, but we hope to get more Artz fruit in the future. This vineyard was planted in the mid ‘90’s with many varietals, but vines are heaviest with red fruit that typifies the virtue of the Red Mountain American Viticultural Area, (AVA for short...this is like the French designation of Appellation). He is surely one of the best growers in the state having learned his craft at Klipsun Vineyard, which he planted in 1984. We’d say he is a seasoned veteran who values the knowledge of science and sensitivity to the environment. At harvest you will notice he manages one of the happiest and most stable groups of workers in the state. Loud Latin tunes are a must...note that’s a winemaking term...as the crew winds down after a day of harvesting, but they don’t go home to party, they stay at Klipsun and enjoy the view.
Grapes sourced 2002 - 2009
Famed for it’s fine Cab, this is one of the oldest vineyards in Washington State with 30-year-old Cabernet vines in what Paul Champoux calls Block 1. While these vines are now reserved for some of the best wineries in Washington State like Andrew Will and Quilceda Creek, Tim had access in the late ‘80’s and is again hoping for the opportunity to more ferment these rare grapes. This not to make light of the grapes Paul has allocated for Tim. All Champoux Cab is tremendous...the colors and flavors are extremely concentrated and intense. This vineyard has the ability to retain acid late into the growing season and is usually one of the last vineyards in the state to be harvested.
Chandler Reach Vineyard
Grapes sourced in 2001, 2002
Construction of the Chandler Reach cave that houses Lenn Parris’s wines is one of the most innovative we’ve seen in Eastern Washington. Ask Lenn to tell you the story of it’s beginning especially if you are at all interested in construction. The winery aside, this is a fantastic site even though it’s planted mostly on a north-facing slope. The Yakima Valley sun is very intense in this warm location just south of the Red Mountain AVA. This may be why we speak of the Chandler Reach wines in the same breath as those from Red Mountain. They have the same deep color and warm climate fruit that we love so much about site.
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Grapes sourced 2001 to present
We are pleased to have had such a lasting relationship with Ciel du Cheval Vineyard over the years. We have consistently sourced Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah. The Syrah is known as the Tablas Creek clone sourced from Tablas Creek Vineyard in Pasa Robles and originally selected from France by the Perrin Family of Chateauneuf du Pape fame.
Founder and owner Jim Holmes has directed the viticulture and has had the support of some very capable Vineyard Managers; for many years it was Ryan Johnson and now it’s Kade Casciato trained in Walla Walla. Jim’s son Richard has stepped in to take over the day to day managerial role, but I still feel Jim’s direction in the way the vineyard produces such fine fruit. This vineyard is blessed with huge tannins and depth of color that always accompany the deep rich fruit in the resulting wines.
Grapes sourced 2011 to present
Arguably this vineyard has some of the best wine country views in the State of Washington, and surely the best pizza in the valley from their wood fired oven. We are in love with Dineen Vineyard and the support we get from Vineyard Owner Pat Dineen and Vineyard Manager Patrick Rawn.
We source our Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the esteemed Catherine’s Block in the back 40 near the Roza Canal. Merlot and Viognier are sourced near the barn and homestead blocks. The growing degree days in Zillah and up Cheyne road to Dineen Vineyard are less than those recorded at StoneTree and Ciel du Cheval putting in on the cooler side of Yakima Valley. We appreciate this temperature difference because it shows in the wine as a more European character with higher acids. An added benefit is later harvest dates that eases the stress on our fermenters.
Soils: Harvard-Burke silt loam and Scoon silt loam with an abundance of stones in areas. Soils are shallow with depths of 8–24". In addition, there is a good deal of Caliche (calcium carbonate) underneath at various depths. Soils are nitrogen deficient with very low vigor and maintain a pH around 7.3.
Grapes sourced 2006 to present
This wonderfully named vineyard is source of some of our most cherished Rhône-style wines. The hills above StoneTree are famous for their petrified wood and paleontologists make annual pilgrimages in the spring to see what the winters weather has uncovered. We so appreciate what Vineyard Owner and Manager Tedd Wildman has accomplished with this vineyard since its planting in 2000. Tedd is famous for his minimal water and vigor as he teases the best concentrated fruit from his vines. We source Syrah, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot from StoneTree.
Soils: The soils are all classified as sandy loams or sandy silt loams, predominately of the Scoon series. The Scoon series consists of very shallow, well-drained soils on terraces and alluvial fans. This is typical of a geological location where windblown loess has been deposited on a more durable substrate. The underlying sediments, glacial outwash, were deposited 13,000 to 20,000 years ago by catastrophic floods of glacial meltwater from Glacial Lake Missoula. The floodwater reached an elevation of 1,450 feet.
In the vineyard, the soil is distributed in a 1-to-3-foot layer over an underlying hardpan "caliche." This is a water-impermeable, limestone/rock aggregate. These layers can be seen in this photo taken during the installation of our irrigation system. The soil varies from moderately rocky at the bottom of the slope, to very rocky at the top of the slope. This rocky soil with a calcium carbonate/rock aggregate base is similar to the soils of the great vineyards of Bordeaux.