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 worlds 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 our grapes come from.
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. Its 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 in 2002, 2003, 2004
Owner Bruce Zunser takes great care in managing this warm Mattawa location. It is the source for some truly wonderful Merlot, and its precious at that because hes 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 Boeings 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 in 2002, 2003, 2004
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 Parriss wines is one of the most innovative weve seen in Eastern Washington. Ask Lenn to tell you the story of its beginning especially if you are at all interested in construction. The winery aside, this is a fantastic site even though its 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 in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
This place is just plain blessed...year after year owner Jim Holmes grows some of the best grapes in the state on Red Mountain near Benton City. His vineyard manager, Ryan Johnson is also an integral part of the success equation at this site. Many of our grapes come from the ’92 planting, but we combined some ’94 and ’98 Cab for 2003 and are very pleased with the results.
Conner Lee Vineyard
Grapes sourced in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004
All roads lead to fine grapes if you are traveling down Rt 24 on the way to Othello. Conner Lee has been around a long time, but has shunned the limelight. We hope more people will learn of the wonderful grapes being grown by the dynamic team of Tom Thorsen and Jerry Bookwalter. Majority owner, Bill Conner, gives them free reign in cultivating grapes to the specifications of each customer. You ask them to crop to a certain level and they do it. Not only is service at the forefront, but quality is as well. Tom and Jerry know the terroir of this vineyard and try their best express it with every vintage.
Grapes sourced in 2001, 2004
Kestrel Vintners winery has proven that many fine wines can be made from their vineyard just north of Prosser. That’s why we were very pleased to have access to their Cab, Merlot, and Cab Franc for our 1st release. Expect more elegance than intensity from this source though. We have found that Kestrel wines mellow with age to show delicate cherry profiles and floral notes that we attribute to the outstanding Cab Franc. We thank Charles Smasne, the vineyard manager for Kestrel for the fine harvest in 2004. Note that it is the source of our first lot of Malbec.
Grapes sourced in 2001
We managed to sneak 1500 lbs. out of this Red Mountain vineyard in 2001 without Tricia Gelles knowing about it...lucky for us because it was our best wine of the year. We were able to sprinkle the results among our 3 blends...and they are all certainly better off for it. Klipsun has been labeled one of the top 25 vineyards in the world by Wine & Spirits magazine. We are not sure of this designation considering the accompanying vineyards on this page, because Washington State is just a darn fine place to grow grapes. Ok...we paid for these grapes, but they were destined for the Boeing Wine Club. We hope we’re on the list to get more some day. We need to mention the lofty contribution of Fred Artz, see Artz Vineyard above, because Fred has managed Klipsun Vineyard for many years and is certainly one of the best growers in the state.
Grapes sourced in 2002, 2003
Paul Portteus has been a fixture on the Eastern Washington landscape for many years as he was one of the first to pioneer viticulture in Zillah. His vineyard is located on one of the most beautiful hills in the state with mountain views of Mt. Rainier and Mt Adams peaking above the vines. Tim and his son Ryan enjoy playing baseball on Paul’s spacious lawn...Ryan says it the best place he’s ever played baseball...Did we mention the fine wines coming from this vineyard year after year...Syrah, Cabernet, and Cabernet Franc.
Grapes sourced in 2004
Carol keeps telling Tim that he must stop sourcing new grapes from new vineyards. Tim simply replies that he can’t help that so many wonderful vineyards will sell him grapes every year. How can one not try a new vineyard when the location is so fine and the fruit showing so much promise. Charles Smasne is the inspiration and the passion behind Smasne Farms. He has watched this vineyard mature into a quality source for Syrah grapes that ripen later than our other Syrah vineyards. We see Northern Rhone character in the fruit...like that of Cote Rote...the pepper is very interesting. You can find the vineyard on Factory Road between Sunnyside and Prosser near the crest of the last hill.
Grapes Sourced in 2003, 2004
We were very lucky to answer the gracious letter we received from owner Mike Alberg in early 2003. This new vineyard located near Royal City in the Frenchmen Hills is producing some very good fruit under the direction of winemaker, Mike Janick. The Phelps clone Syrah we fermented in the fall of 2003 was extremely good, ripe and dark as can be. Tim feels a great need to vinify many more varietals from this vineyard in the future...starting in 2004. Part II of the magic being made at Stillwater is due to the well-educated viticultural team of Tom Thorsen and Jerry Bookwalter, of Bookwalter Winery (see Conner Lee above).
Grapes sourced in 2003, 2004
We picked some terrific Syrah, the Espeguette clone, from this vineyard in 2003. The vines were planted in 2001 and Tim was very nervous about getting well-balanced grapes from such young vines even though Tedd Wildman assured him he would be sensitive to all the right variables...with water being the most important. Well, it appears Tedd knows how to grow grapes and pick a vineyard site. He has also planted some new and interesting clones that Tim hopes to explore in the future. Please click on the vineyard title above and peruse Tedd’s web site.