The photo, at right, is one of the petrified tree fossils discovered in the surrounding hills. It has been identified as Sequoia, from the Miocene Epoch, 5 to 20-million-years-old.
Located in the Wahluke Slope Appellation, Stone Tree Vineyard was planted in 2000 by Tedd Wildman, one of the most experienced and influential viticulturist 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 elevation 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.
Year planted: 2000
AVA: Wahluke Slope
Grapes produced: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache
Soils: Sandy silt loams, predominately of the Scoon series
Weather: Warm, dry