Columbia Valley Vinyard Section

Columbia Valley

Fast Facts
Columbia Valley AVA

 

Established: 1984

Part of Oregon and Washington

Growing Season: 180 – 200 days

Precipitation:  average 6 – 8 inches

Planted Vineyards:  over 40,000 acres representing 99% of the total vineyard area planted in WA

Leading Red Varietals:  Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec

Leading White Varietals:  Riesling, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc

Number Wineries:  Over 700

Learn more at www.washingtonwine.org

Information Center

  • Columbia Valley AVA Map  download PDF

Columbia Valley

The largest appellation in eastern Washington is the Columbia Valley and consists of land comprising the river drainage of the Columbia River, including the Yakima, Snake, and Walla Walla Rivers.  In the rain shadow of the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia Valley is dry, sunny, and warm (see Geology/Climate).  L’Ecole works with a number of prestigious, mature vineyards each with a high-level focus on quality.  Many of these vineyards were planted in the 1970s and early 1980s with vine age now over 30 years.  We work with the same blocks and rows of fruit each year, managed to our specifications, which contributes significantly to the consistent quality of our wines vintage after vintage.

Columbia Valley AVA Map

Four key vineyards are featured.  Each provides fruit for at least three wines in our Columbia Valley Wine portfolio.  These vineyards ascribe to our values which include a strong commitment to quality and a willingness to work closely with us to make viticultural decisions that enhance our chosen wine style.  The tenure, integrity, and passion of all our growers remain the backbone of our reputation for reliable, consistent, award-winning wines.

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Sagemoor Vineyards

Safemoor Farms

Founded in 1968, Sagemoor Vineyards was one of the first pioneering commercial vineyards in Washington State.  Comprised of four vineyards: Sagemoor; Bacchus; and Dionysus, located north of the Tri-Cities on the east bank of the Columbia River; and Weinbau; on the eastern flank of the Wahluke Slope.  We began working with Sagemoor our very first year, 1983, and have been a clieSagemoor Farmsnt ever since.  They planted some of the first vines in Washington.  Our oldest vines are from Bacchus and Dionysus (1972).  We have acre contracts from these vineyards for Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc. Fruit from these vineyards are sprinkled throughout our Columbia Valley wines.  General Manager Kent Waliser and Vineyard Manager Derek Way work hard to produce superior quality fruit from each of our separate, contracted rows.  They utilize precision farming techniques such as vigor mapping, deficit irrigation, soil profiling, micro-nutrient analysis, and green thinning to manage yields, balance canopy and crop load, and optimize sun exposure to ensure consistent high quality.

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Klipsun Vineyard

Klipsun Vineyard

Possibly the most celebrated Red Mountain vineyard, Klipsun was founded by Tricia and David Gelles and was named  one of the Top 25 Vineyards in the World by Wine & Spirits Magazine in 2003.  Located on the southwest slope of Red Mountain, its dry and warm environment are ideal for Bordeaux varietals.  The oldest vines were planted in 1984 and now the vineyard includes over 12Klipsun Vineyard0 acres of vines.  L’Ecole has been purchasing grapes from Klipsun since the mid-1990s, including old vine Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot, and old vine Cabernet Sauvignon.  Julia Koch is the vineyard manager and viticulturalist and works closely with us in managing our different blocks of fruit for the highest quality possible.

 

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Candy Mountain Vineyard

Candy Mountain

  Adjacent to Red Mountain, Candy Mountain is south-facing with a gentle, 5% slope.  The soil is almost all blow sand, typical for this area, and has been enriched with an abundance of nutrients needed for a healthy vineyard.  The original 30 acres were planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.  We use all three varietals in our Columbia Valley wine program. Candy Mountain Vineyards The dry growing conditions and high heat units produce wines similar in style to Red Mountain, rich in extraction with ripe fruit flavors and robust tannins.  Candy Mountain Vineyard, planted in 1998, is owned by Premier Partners and managed by Tom Waliser. 

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Stone Tree Vineyard

Stone Tree Vinyard

Located in the Wahluke Slope Appellation, Stone Tree Vineyard was planted in 2000 by Tedd Wildman, one of the most experienced and influential viticulturalist in Washington.  Tedd is an entomologist by training and always seems to be one step ahead of those of us working with his vineyard.  The vineyard name, “Stone Tree,” is derived from the fact that there were a large number of petrified tree fossils found in the surrounding Saddle Mountain hillside. This 240 acre, south-facing slope vineyard is at the highest Stone tree Fossilselevation of the Wahluke Slope.  It ranges from 940 to 1250 feet above sea level, with 200 or more frost-free growing days.  The principal soil is a sandy silt loam overlain on a rocky calcium carbonate base similar to some soils in the great vineyards of Bordeaux.  With only 6 inches of rain and high heat units, Tedd has focused on Rhone and Bordeaux red varietals.  L’Ecole works with multiple clones of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache. 

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In addition, we work with these Columbia Valley vineyards:

Alder Ridge, Horse Heaven Hills - Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache

Evergreen, Northern Columbia Valley near George, WA - Chardonnay

Fries Desert Wind, Wahluke Slope – Semillon

Phil Church, Yakima Valley – Chenin Blanc

Rosebud, Wahluke Slope - Semillon

Schmitt, Yakima Valley - Chardonnay

Stillwater, Northern Columbia Valley, Frenchman Hills - Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon

Willard Farms, Yakima Valley - Chenin Blanc

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See Our Columbia Valley Wines