Our vineyards are the absolute key to the quality of our wines. We are privileged to work with some of the finest growers in all the Northwest.
Bacchus and Dionysus Vineyards
Riesling Giesenheim 110 Block 17 1973
Riesling Giesenheim 198 Block 1B 1998
Riesling Neustadt 90 Block 1C 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon Block 14 1998
Cabernet Sauvignon Block 16A 1973
Grenache River Block 2012
Sagemoor is the name used to include four partnerships that are managed by one management group for the 70 partners that make up the individual companies. Sagemoor Farms (1968), Bacchus (1972), Dionysus (1973) and Weinbau (1981) are the names of the individual companies.
Sagemoor Farm is located on a southwest facing slope 10 miles Northwest of Pasco, WA adjacent to the Columbia River. In 1972, Sagemoor planted 85 acres of grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, White Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc and an experimental block. Additionally, Bacchus Vineyard planted 195 acres of wine grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, White Riesling, Chenin Blanc and Sauvignon Blanc. To this day some of these original plantings are producing high quality, highly sought after grapes. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and White Riesling date back to these original plantings. The sloping land facing the western sky provides a warm site with excellent air drainage. Many of the original plantings have never frozen back to the ground despite several killing winter freezes that Washington has come to expect.
Precision farming techniques such as vigor mapping, soil profiling, micro nutrient analysis and green harvest thinning are applied to manage yields, balance canopy with crop load, optimize sun exposure and ensure consistent quality fruit.
Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Grenache Blanc 2010
Grenache Noir 2010
Dick Boushey’s plan was to live in the Yakima Valley for one year. That was in 1975. Like many from the west side of Washington, the wide-open spaces and near-constant blue skies attracted him and have kept Boushey here for near 40 years. Today, Boushey, 62, is one of the top viticulturists in the United States. Not bad for a kid from the Tacoma suburb of Sumner who wanted to be a banker.
“I had an uncle who farmed over here,” he said. “Dad always liked the Yakima Valley and wanted to move here.”
The family bought an apple orchard, and Boushey, who graduated from the University of Puget Sound, moved over first, planning to stay for just one year.
“The one year turned into four years,” he told Great Northwest Wine. “Then I met Luanne (his wife). She grew up in Bellevue and moved here for two years for a teaching job. We’re still here.
Back then, there wasn’t much to the Washington wine industry. But Boushey, who already had cultivated a love for wine, met many of the legends of the industry, including Dr. Walter Clore, a Washington State University researcher known as “the father of Washington wine.” He also met Mike Wallace, who was just starting Hinzerling Winery in nearby Prosser, as well as Chaz Nagel, a WSU scientist who worked closely with Clore.
But Boushey wasn’t so sure the Washington wine industry was really viable until he tasted the legendary Chateau Ste. Michelle 1975 Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that proved great reds could be made here.
“That was so good,” he said. “So I sort of took the gamble, and it turned out.”
Boushey began planting wine grapes on his farm north of Grandview. It wasn’t – and still isn’t – the most sexy area of Washington to grow wine grapes, but it has turned out to be one of the best.
“There was a grape culture here, and there wasn’t in other places,” he said. “It was almost all row crops in Mattawa and the Horse Heavens.”
Otis Vineyard, planted in 1957 by Otis Harlan, is not far from Boushey Vineyard, and that also attracted him to planting wine grapes. In 1980, Boushey put his first vines in the ground, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc.
“Nobody wanted Chenin Blanc, and it got botrytis,” Boushey said, so he pulled it out and stuck exclusively with red grapes for the next two decades.
After a few years, Boushey became interested in Syrah.
“What hooked me was I was over at Columbia Winery
, and I wanted to try David Lake’s 1988 Syrah,” Boushey said. “This was the best wine I’d had in a long time, and I wanted to grow some of it.”
He couldn’t get any plants, but by 1993, he convinced Mike Sauer, owner of Red Willow Vineyard, to provide him with some cuttings. Sauer had planted the first Syrah in the state in 1985, and that is what made the 1988 Syrah that Boushey tasted at Columbia.
“It has done really well,” he said.
Boushey Vineyard’s site is much cooler than Red Mountain, which is less than 30 miles to the east. The difference in ripening time can be two to three weeks, which winemakers love for flavor development.
The first winemaker to take Boushey Vineyard’s Syrah was Doug McCrea of McCrea Cellars in Olympia. Today, the big players include Sparkman Cellars. He now grows more than 38 acres of Syrah – and wishes the block was larger.
“Everybody tells me Syrah is overdone, but I’m always short in Syrah,” he said.
Overall, Boushey has planted 160 acres of wine grapes, of which 15 percent is white varieties. Starting in 2003, he began planting such Rhône whites as Marsanne, Roussanne, Picpoul, Grenache Blanc and Viognier. He also grows Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon, which he sells primarily to DeLille.
Boushey also grows another 140 acres of apples, cherries and juice grapes. He is a big deal in juice grapes, sitting on the board of directors for National Grape, the farmers cooperative that has owned Welch’s since 1952. With about 200,000 tons harvested annually, Washington is the nation’s largest grower of Concord grapes.
In addition to his home vineyard, Boushey also has branched into other areas of the Yakima Valley. A few years ago, Ste. Michelle Wine Estates recruited him to manage its Col Solare estate vineyard on Red Mountain. Now he also manages Red Mountain vineyards for Fidelitas Wines,Ambassador, Upchurch, Efeste and Thurtle – a total of 175 acres of grapes in the most premium region of Washington wine country. He’s also working with Hamilton Cellars to pull out an orchard on Red Mountain and replant it next spring with wine grapes.
“I hate to tell all of them this, but it’s a lot of fun,” he said with a laugh.
Charlie Hoppes, owner of Fidelitas, uses grapes from Boushey’s vineyard as well as several on Red Mountain.
“Dick has a great ability to balance crop and canopy,” Hoppes said. “He knows he’s in a cooler site, and he’s patient. He has a lot of wisdom, and he’s not one to panic. He just lets things get ripe.”
Hoppes said Boushey loves the winemaking side of the business, and that helps make him a superior grower.
“More than any other grower, Dick understands wine,” Hoppes said. “He drinks wine. He has a different perspective than other people. He’s pretty dialed in on the wine side.”
Boushey has been a home winemaker since 1975, and he loves sitting in on blending sessions with winemakers.
“That’s really helped me to be a better grower,” Boushey said. “I understand the chemistry. That’s why I like working with the winemaker – you can go back and tweak things in the vineyard.”
So might there be a Boushey Winery one day? The thought crosses his mind constantly.
“I think I don’t have time,” he said. “Maybe someday. It would be fun, but then I’d have to sell it.”
Plus, Boushey loves what he does now.
“I’m going to farm until I fall off the tractor.”
-article by Andy Perdue
Ciel du Cheval Vineyard
Syrah Tablas Creek 2000
It was 1979 and Jim Holmes was pleasantly surprised – maybe even a little shocked -- when he sampled the very first wine made by fellow Groundbreaker Rob Griffin at Preston Winery from grapes he and grown with his partner John Williams at Kiona, the first vineyard planted on Red Mountain.
Syrah Sarah Lee 1994
“It was the most wonderful feeling. We said, hey, this actually tastes something like Cabernet Sauvignon, not something from outer space. We were hoping for something that people wouldn’t spit out and it turned out to be much better than that,” he recalled.
Holmes – who now owns Ciel du Cheval vineyards – was an engineer doing research at Hanford in those days, and grape growing was a hobby. He and Williams planted the original 80 acres using an antique 1940s-era John Deere M tractor and the sweat equity of friends and family. “I’d like to say we had this vision and knew what we were doing, but that would be a lie,” he said, chuckling. In the beginning, these fledgling growers planted cuttings – a practice that’s now considered outdated. “We put two sticks in each hole in the ground and some of them came up, others didn’t,” he said. They also used a trellising technique based on a tradition established in the then-Soviet Republic of Georgia, designed to protect the vines from bitter winter cold, a practice they later abandoned. “We learned so much by trial and error,” he said.
One of the most dramatic changes made over time is in the approach to irrigation in that high desert area.
“Twenty five years ago, the county extension service put out an irrigation guide that said you needed 30 inches of water a year to grow grapes. If you take a ruler and measure that and then imagine how much water that is over the entire vineyard, well, that’s a great big swimming pool,” Holmes said. He cited some “terrific research sponsored by Ste. Michelle Wine Estates” as a real game changer: “The research found that, oh my gosh, you could grow grapes with between 8 and 12 inches of water and have a higher quality product, too.”
With every successful harvest, the partners were encouraged to add and expand. In 1991, they purchased Ciel du Cheval – also planted in 1975 – and when Holmes retired from Hanford, the partners amicably parted and Holmes took sole ownership of that vineyard in 1994. Since then, it has nearly doubled in size and Holmes now sells to 25 vintners, including the first producer to feature the vineyard on his label, Chris Camarda’s Andrew Will.
“In the 1980s, you didn’t see many vineyard designated wines,” Holmes said. “Everything just got blended together. But after Chris put it on Andrew Will’s label in 1989 and that wine got a great deal of attention, then the vineyard started getting a lot of attention.”
A new project launched by Holmes’ son, Richard, will bring a new level of attention to Ciel, as he collaborates with veteran winemaker Charlie Hoppes to make wines from designated blocks within the vineyard, and also focus on making wines from single, select clones. “That’s going to be completely e-commerce,” said Holmes of the new venture. “After he graduated from UW, he went and worked in the dot com world and now he’s back, just in time.”
While Holmes isn’t yet ready to retire from grape growing, he has shifted his focus to tracking the vineyards using high tech equipment to monitor and record moisture and nutrient levels.
“Yes, there are spread sheets and databases, but it’s more an adventure than a scientific job might be,” he said. “The record keeping is a means to an end, a way of satisfying our curiosity and solving mysteries.”
There’s no mystery about the continued allure of Red Mountain, an AVA where more than 1,300 acres is currently planted and Holmes predicts another 1,000 when the new irrigation district is established.
“We certainly never expected it, but it’s very validating,” he said.
-Article by Leslie Kelly
Clifton Hill Vineyard
In 1997 Butch and Jerry Milbrandt planted their first grapevines in Eastern Washington’s Columbia Valley AVA. At first glance, Eastern Washington is not your typical wine country. It’s a remote, windswept, high desert dotted with sagebrush and tumbleweeds. But it also holds some of the most breath-taking terrain, ranging from deep river gorges to vast mountain ranges and undulating hills formed by Ice Age floods and ancient volcanoes.
The Milbrandt family had been farming in the area since the mid-1950s and they believed the region’s moderate temperatures, low rainfall and sandy soils were ideal for wine grapes. Today, the Milbrandt family farms 12 estate vineyards totaling more than 2,300 acres.
Milbrandt Vineyards are concentrated in the Wahluke Slope (AVA established in 2006) and the Ancient Lakes of the Columbia Valley. Both growing areas share the same low rainfall and long sunny days during the growing season. However each area has distinctly different terroir, with Wahluke Slope proving especially ideal for red wines and Ancient Lakes for white wines.
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 3 2007
When John Williams and Jim Holmes took their first trip up to Red Mountain in the early 1970s, there was nothing but hardscrabble landscape. “It was a bunch of sagebrush and jackrabbits. There wasn’t even a road, just a Jeep trail,” recalled John, who along with his friend and fellow research engineer, Holmes, planted the famous AVA’s first vineyard in 1975. “You could stand on top of Red Mountain, looking over at the Horse Heavens and there wasn’t a green spot to be seen.”
Cabernet Franc 2000
Syrah Phelps Clone 2000
Some 30-plus years later, the area is a patchwork of iconic vineyards, producing highly sought-after fruit. But it took true visionaries to imagine that scenario in the early days. The Williams family – the first three-generation grape-growing and winemaking dynasty in Washington state – were originally drawn into the industry by an invitation to do viticulture and winemaking trials for Dr. Walter Clore and Washington State University.
“We got a pretty good start there,” said John. “But there had been soil samples taken in the 1930s by the Bureau of Reclamation, around the time the Grand Coulee Dam was built.” When they planted the first 10 acres of Cabernet sauvignon, Riesling and Chardonnay – after digging a 550-foot well “Jim’s wife, Patty, used to say they were putting their investments in a hole in the ground,” Scott said -- there were only six wineries in the state, and by the time the winery was bonded in 1980, that number had more than doubled.
The first vintage was produced in Jim Holmes’ garage, where Scott jokingly described the crew of extended family as “slave labor.”
“We used basket presses with ratchets back then, and we’d have to round up kids strong enough to turn them,” he said, chuckling at the memory.
Eventually, more vines were planted, with the last lots of the 65-acre vineyard going in the ground in 1995. “We realized it takes a lot of money to plant grapes, and every time we’d go to the bank for a loan, they’d tell us we didn’t know anything about growing grapes. We didn’t know anything about making wine. It was a real bootstrap operation,” John said. “But that also meant that we didn’t owe any money.”
From the beginning, part of the mission involved dumping wine that wasn’t deemed good enough. “There was a lot of bad wine out there in the early days, and putting out an inferior product was death,” John said.
Did they dump much?
“We just gave it to Dad’s friends, they’ll drink anything,” Scott joked.
The family dynamics that sometimes caused sparks to fly have mellowed through the years. “Years ago, I worked for my father-in-law, and told him I either had to quit or end up hating him, so I learned from that lesson,” John said.
Scott said they’ve always agreed on the winery’s focus, to let the fruit shine in the wines. And when Scott’s son, J.J. expressed an interest in coming to work for Kiona, he was encouraged to go in a slightly different direction. He earned a business and marketing degree at Gonzaga, and spent a couple years being mentored by Lorne Jacobson of Kelnan Wine Management before coming to work for the winery full time.
“He came into the office, put his feet up and said, get ready, change is coming,” Scott said. “It was really déjà vu all over again.”
J.J. raised the winery’s profile through social networking and by launching a wine club, featuring limited releases available only to members. The result has been that this value-oriented winery has found new fans and prompted loyal followers to take a fresh look.
“We’ve had the advantage of not being beholden to anybody, so we can react fairly quickly to quirks in the market,” Scott said.
Much of their success could be attributed to what they didn’t do, though.
“In those early days, a lot of the early grape growing efforts were sidebars of other operations, growing potatoes or wheat or corn where the agricultural philosophy was maximum inputs and maximum yields. It doesn’t work that way with grapes,” said Scott. “Out here in the desert, we were kind of forced into moderated deficit irrigation from the start and that worked to our advantage.” Scott and his wife, Vicky, started another vineyard on Red Mountain and eventually sold some of that land to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates and the Antinori family for Col Solare. “They had the muscle to get an irrigation project going that we share,” Scott said.
One distinction Kiona shares with no other producer is Lemberger King. “We love that grape. It’s delicious and it practically makes itself,” John said. “It thrives even in extreme cold. We sell more than 3,000 cases of it a year.”
Why is the German red so hard to market?
“Because it’s called Lemberger,” Scott said.
The father, son and, now, grandson are optimistic about the future of this once-barren spot. “After we sold the land that became Col Solare, I remember going onto the Antinori Web site and reading that the family had been making wine for 26 generations. I think that’s something to aspire to,” Scott said.
-Article by Leslie Kelly
Cabernet Sauvignon 1984
Back in those early days, long before Klipsun became known as one of the most prestigious vineyards in Washington State, Patricia Gelles often wondered what she’d gotten herself into. “Oh, I thought that all the time,” she said.
The public relations executive moved to the Tri-Cities in 1974 with her husband, David. While working at Westinghouse, he became friends with Jim Holmes and John Williams, also engineers and the original groundbreakers in growing grapes on Red Mountain.
“We helped them plant the first vineyards, with John on the tractor, we walked behind him, sticking vines in the soil,” Gelles said.
Years later, Holmes and Williams called with news that neighboring land was for sale. “It took us a while to get there. At first, we were going to lease it from the Kennewick Irrigation District, which had acquired the property during the Depression, but we eventually bought it,” she said.
The plan was – and remains to this day – to plant only varietals the couple loved to drink: Sauvignon blanc and Semillon as well as Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Nebbiolo went in later, followed by some Malbec and, perhaps there will be some Petit Verdot in the future, but no Cabernet franc.
But before vines went in, there was a well to be dug. It went deep, more than 600 feet, into the Priest Rapids aquifer. Gelles consulted with Clay Mackey in the beginning about where to plant on the 160-acre spread. Once the vines went in, the reality of the second stage of the operation struck: “I realized I had to go and sell these grapes,” Gelles said.
Well, she didn’t have to work too hard. “Rob Griffin came calling in 1987,” she said of the former winemaker for Hogue Cellars and stalwart at his own Barnard Griffin since the mid-1980s. “And then there was Casey McLellan from Seven Hills in 1991. It snowballed from there.”
Those two veteran winemakers, along with Quilceda Creek’s Alex Golitzen was among Klipsun’s first fans and have been a steady customer since the beginning, with Casey being one of the first vintners to make a Klipsun Vineyard designated wine.
“I had just come back from attending Davis and tasted a barrel sample of the Klipsun Cabernet,” McClellan recalled. “It really stood out. It was powerful, had great structure and a bit of dustiness in the nose. It reminded me of the great Rutherford Bench Cabs.” In the nearly three decades since the vineyard was first planted, there have been changes: vines that were struggling have been ripped out and replaced with different clones, the couple acquired another 40 acres and hired a vineyard manager, Julia Kock. And they’ve had a commitment to sustainability long before that became a trendy term.
“We haven’t used herbicide in 25 years,” Gelles said. They’ve also kept a cover crop in between rows to keep the dust down and have always used drip irrigation, so they can control the amount of water the plant receives. “We don’t believe in stressing a vine,” Gelles said. “If you stress a vine too much and then have a bad winter, it can die.”
Gelles, a former Washington Wine Commissioner, loves to travel, for business and for kicks. When talking about her vineyards in far-flung places, she sometimes faces the challenge of overcoming the stereotype image of the Evergreen State. “Many people think it rains all the time,” she said.
She paints a portrait of Klipsun Vineyards for those who have never been: “It’s high desert, where we get just six inches of rain a year.” Within the vineyard, there are variations in soil makeup, but Klipsun enjoys the dramatic shift in temperature during the summer months, when the hot days turn into cool nights.
“That’s where you get the great acids developing,” she said. Gelles would love for more wine tourists to visit Red Mountain and the wineries in and around the Tri-Cities to get a first-hand view of what makes the place so special.
“A lot of people blast through here on their way to Walla Walla,” she said. “I heard somebody say recently that we’re like the Sonoma to Walla Walla’s Napa. People like John Bookwalter have done a wonderful job developing venues people want to visit, offering food and music. We just need more of that.”
-Article by Leslie Kelly
Sauvignon Blanc 2005
Grenache Noir 2005
A new vineyard in our program in 2013, Oasis is a cooler site in the eastern end of the Yakima Valley, situated near two of our other vineyards, Olsen and Lonesome Spring. Our friend and dirt master Brenton Roy makes this site go.
Cabernet Sauvignon Clone 8 2006
The 30-acre vineyard, designed and planted for the sole purpose of producing intensely complex and rich Red Wines, is located on a southwest facing slope bathed in sunlight throughout long daylight hours. With cool nights and the moderating effect of the Yakima River below, their new Obelisco Estate vineyard is perfectly situated to grow world class grapes noted for their structure, acidity and intense varietal character.
The vineyard is one of the most intensively planted in the State of Washington, with grape production limited to four pounds per plant. This limited production per plant allows for very intense fruit concentrations. The hand picked, estate grown fruit is aged in new French and American oak and crafted into distinctive varietals, which are later blended to enhance the flavors of each wine we produce.
Olsen Estate Vineyards
There is a reason we source nine different blocks from Olsen. It's quality. Leif Olsen and team are perhaps one of Washingotn's best kep secrets. Long a superb grower, it was not until they launched their eponymous winery that folks outside of the state started to take notice. Sadly the winery went away. But for us, it has been a blessing. We are privileged to purchase fruit froma number of their "reserve" blocks, or fruit that had gone into their own special labels. Like the syrah and petit verdot. This fruit goes into our Darkness and Kingpin, both among our most sought after wines. We could, and will go on and on. Just not now.
Grenache Noir 2005
Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Petit Verdot 2002
Petite Sirah 2006
Stillwater Creek Vineyard
In 1968, Thomas A. Alberg, Sr., purchased 235 acres of land now known as Stillwater Creek Vineyard in the Frenchman Hills of the Columbia Valley near Royal City. Though Mr. Alberg and his family long suspected the land would make an excellent vineyard, it wasn’t until the Albergs gathered historical data from the property in the late 1990’s that the site’s suitability for wine grapes was confirmed.
In 2000, the Albergs began planting a wide selection of premium vinifera grapes with the intent of developing a vineyard known for its quality grapes and unique selection of clones. Mr. Alberg’s son, Tom, is the Managing Director of the family entity that owns and operates Stillwater Creek Vineyard. His brother, Mike, was actively involved in the development and early management of the Stillwater and their brother, David, manages a cherry orchard on a portion of the property. Tom and his wife, Judi, also founded Novelty Hill Winery, focusing on estate-grown wines crafted by veteran winemaker, Mike Januik, primarily using grapes from Stillwater Creek Vineyard. In addition, approximately two-thirds of Stillwater’s grapes are sold to other top vintners in Washington State.
Stillwater Creek Vineyard is a 235-acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills. Planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most diverse clone selections in Washington State, Stillwater Creek quickly has earned a reputation as one of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards.
The site’s fractured rock and extreme southern exposure are ideal for reds, especially Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. White grapes are planted on a mixture of fractured rock and areas of fine sandy loam. Temperatures during the growing season favor warm days and cool nights. Grapes ripen beautifully under these conditions, enhanced by both hours of light per day during the summer and the total number of sunlight days from bud-break through harvest.
Stillwater Creek Vineyard is dedicated to growing high quality wine grapes through careful vineyard management and innovative clonal selection. Sharing that vision is award-winning Washington winemaker Mike Januik, who began consulting on plant selection and vineyard design in 1999. Like many winemakers in the state, Mike believes the next leap in Washington wine quality will come through clonal selection; to that end, Stillwater Creek is planted with a variety of clones, including both Entav and Rauschedo selections. The four principal varieties planted at the vineyard – Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Chardonnay – represent 17 different clones. The vineyard is a mix of 80% red, 20% white grapes.
Temperance Hill Vineyard
Pinot Noir Dijon Clone 777 1998
Temperance Hill Vineyard is a 100 acre vineyard made up of roughly 20 different blocks of wine grapes. The site itself is 200 acres (lots of room to grow) in the west Eola Hills, just west of Salem, Oregon. It has an elevation range of 660 to 860 feet making it a cool, late site; excellent growing conditions for Pinot Noir. The soils are predominantly Nekia, Rittner and Jory. The site is thought to be the remnants of an ancient volcano and grapes are planted on many different slopes with varying exposures.
80% of the vineyard is planted in Pinot Noir, the rest is made up of Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Gris. The oldest vines at Temperance were planted in 1980 and 81 and are on a hanging trellis system. The more recent plantings of Dijon clone material are on a single upright vertical trellis system. The latest plantings are on a single arm Guyot system and have 1550 vines per acre. Some of the blocks in the latest planting are Dijon clone Pinot Noir and some are Pommard clone.
Dai Crisp took over management of the vineyard in 1999 and since then has farmed it all in accordance with Oregon Tilth Organic Certification standards. The vineyard is both Food Alliance and Salmon Safe Certified. All the materials used in the vineyards are OMRI (Organic Materials Review Institute) certified or Tilth approved. Dai uses mechanical cultivation rather than herbicides and usually does two jobs at once, like mowing while in-row cultivating, to increase the efficiency of fuel and tractor use. All the handwork is done by a 13 man crew, the core of which has been with Dai since 1999. The target crop level for the pinot noir is two tons to the acre and the fruit goes to 20 clients including Adelsheim, Bergstrom, Brooks, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Evesham Wood, JK Carriere, Lange, Love and Squalor, Lumos, Mystic, Panther Creek, Pheasant Court, R. Stuart & Co., Ransom, Sparkman, St. Innocent, Stevenson-Barrie, Union Wines and Wiles Cellars.
Uplands Estate Vineyard
Cabernet Sauvignon 1971
Upland Vineyards is located wholly within the Snipes Mountain American Viticulture Area in the heart of the Yakima Valley. Farming wine grapes since 1968, four generations of Newhouse family farming have helped maintain the Upland legacy, which started over 90 years ago. Originally planted by William B. Bridgman in 1917, Snipes Mountain is widely considered the birth place of Washington Wine. Today that original vineyard is still bearing fruit and the vine’s longevity is a testament to the favorable weather conditions bestowed upon the mountain. With slopes facing in all four cardinal directions and an elevation that ranges from 750 to 1300 feet, Upland is able to grow a wide range of wine grapes in some of the oldest and most diverse soils in Washington. With over 35 varieties of vinifera, Upland Vineyard’s grapes find their way into bottles of wine from over 20 different wineries. Varieties include: Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtzraminer, Graciano, Grenache, Malbec, Melon, Merlot, Morio Muscat, Mouvedre, Mueller Thurgau, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Hamburg, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Souzao, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tinta Madiera, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, Viognier, Zinfandel, and others.
Touriga Naçional 2005
Tinta Madeira 2005
Tinta Cao 2005
Snipes Mountain was named after cattle king Ben Snipes, who was the first to settle the Yakima Valley and who made his vast cattle business headquarters on the south side of Snipes Mountain in the 1850's. He chose this site because it was the highest point around and from the top of Snipes Mountain he had a panoramic view of the Yakima Valley and his vast herds of cattle. He also couldn’t help but note that the mountain added a little more protection from the elements of Mother Nature that the rest of the valley didn’t seem to offer.
In 1917, W. B. Bridgman saw the same favorable elements on Snipes Mountain and planted European (vinifera) wine grapes, an extremely uncommon thing to plant back then. He farmed the Snipes Mountain site, as well as others throughout the valley until his death in 1968 at 90 years old, although by that time most of the day to day business was run by his nephew, Bill Barnard. In 1972 Alfred Newhouse bought all of what used to be Upland Vineyards. Over the next 35 years he and his son, Steve Newhouse, would continue to expand their holdings on both Snipes Mountain and Harrison Hill.
Today the Alfred Newhouse family farms cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, prunes, pears, apples, juice grapes, table grapes, and of course wine grapes. Altogether they make up over 1300 acres of what today is once again called Upland Vineyards, of which over 700 acres are wine grapes grown in some of the most unique soils in the world. Because of these unique growing conditions, Snipes Mountain was awarded its own American Viticulture Area in early 2009, becoming the 10th AVA in Washington State. And as a testament to the quality of the grapes grown at Upland Vineyards, owner Steve Newhouse was awarded the 2008 Grower of the Year by the Washington State Association of Wine Grape Growers.
In addition to Alfred and Steve, other active farming members of the Upland Vineyards family include: Marla Newhouse, John Newhouse, Todd Newhouse, Keith Newhouse, and Nicolas Newhouse, all of whom are heavily involved in the day to day management of Upland Vineyards, LLC.
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