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FEATURES > ARCHIVE
It all starts in the vineyard. It all starts with hand crafting. We grow our own grapes, make our own wine and sell it out of our tasting room; all on the same property.
We own and manage nearly 30 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay grapes. Being able to manage our own vineyards really makes a difference in our wine. Hand sorting our grapes begins the wine making process just outside our front door. Oak barrel aging and wine making occur on-site just 100 yards south of the tasting room.
Our family has two vineyard sites: Blue Chip Farm and Wy’East Vineyard. Eight acres of 16-year-old Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir vines reside on Blue Chip and another twenty acres of vines are grown on our Wy’East Vineyard. The original ten acres of Wy’East was planted in the mid-1980’s, making our Pinot Gris some of the oldest in Oregon. Our family planted another ten acres of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris in the mid-1990’s. All of our vines are handled about 7 times a year and are all hand-picked. We also hand-sort all of our fruit, which makes a big difference in our wines.
We are a small production winery focused on producing high quality wines, managing a sustainable business, and contributing to the economic vitality of the Columbia Gorge.… while still having some fun! We take great pride in our vineyard management and believe that quality will always prevail over quantity.
Cheers from our family to yours!
Alexis Pouillon, Domaine Pouillon
Alexis Pouillon (Le Vigneron) was born the youngest of five to an obscure family of French nobility. Alexis Pouillon (Le Vigneron) was born the youngest of five to an obscure family of French nobility. After the family estate was divided amongst his older siblings all that was left for him was a 4x7 meter plot of land in the small town of Pouillon with a 3-wheeled Deux Cheveau and a feral cat named Syd.
He decided to strike out on his own and came to America to make a name for himself. Casting about at first, he tried his hand at laminate countertop installation and customizing classic vehicles. After a failed attempt to bring countertops and cars together in a small machine shop in Oakland, CA called “Manifold Destiny,” he found himself wandering south in search of something to ground himself.
He ended up studying soil science at Cal Poly and launched into a vineyard managing career after college. After working for a few big name vineyards in the Napa and Sonoma area, he fell in love with the idea of pioneering in a relatively unknown vineyard region.
A friendly nudge from Peter Brehm (Brehm Vineyards) pointed Alexis towards the Columbia Gorge where he planted 2 acres of Rhone varietals and started Domaine Pouillon with his wife, Juliet, in 2005.
Celilo Vineyard, one of the oldest vineyards in the state, was planted in 1972 on Underwood Mountain in Skamania County, in the Columbia Gorge. Planted meticulously by hand by the late William McAndrew, a Seattle surgeon who purchased the upper part of the property in 1971, the vineyard is still owned by the McAndrew family. Rick and Jody Ensminger, the vineyard managers, have been with Celilo Vineyard since 1976.
Underwood Mountain, an extinct volcano high above the Columbia River near the town of White Salmon lies straight north across the Columbia River from Hood River, Oregon. Soils can be as deep as 45 feet and retain moisture well, allowing Celilo Vineyards to survive without irrigation. The deep rooted vines bring a mineral characteristic to Celilo's wines along with higher acidity. The vineyard is considered sub-alpine, sitting on a cusp of wetter maritime weather to the west and the high desert to the east. Ensminger had opted to put in a modified Scott Henry trellis system which can handle the strong growth of vines and the windy conditions of the Columbia Gorge.
Views from this site are incredible. To the east are the Columbia River and the arid hills of eastern Washington and Oregon and to the west is Mount Hood.
Today, Celilo Vineyards encompasses 75 acres of wine grapes, growing: Gewurztraminer, Chardonnay, Lemberger, Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Muller-Thurgau, Viognier, Merlot, Gruner-Veitliner.
Appellation: Columbia Gorge
Soil type: Volcanic loam
2014 Winery of the Year
-San Francisco International Wine Competition
As the 10th largest winery in Washington, Maryhill Winery crafts nearly 40 wines and has earned more than 2,500 awards at national and international competitions, including “Winery of the Year” at the 2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition and “Winemaker of the Year” at the 2013 Indy International Wine Competition.
Originally hailing from Spokane, WA, Craig and Vicki Leuthold cashed in their corporate careers and followed their dream of starting a winery to Goldendale, WA. Located at the Southern tip of the Columbia Valley appellation, the area is not only an area of unsurpassed natural beauty; its warm climate, Walla Walla silt loam soil resting on remnants of the Missoula flood and steady breezes make it an ideal site for growing wine grapes.
Their inviting Tasting Room and gift shop is open daily, from 10am – 6pm
“Our 3,000 square-foot Tasting Room and gift shop is the heart of our winery. Step through our doors and you’re immediately greeted by Mt. Hood framed in the west windows and our deeply aged Brunswick Bar beckoning from the right. From the bar, our knowledgeable and friendly staff pour two rotating flights of our classic and reserve wines. You’re welcome to stay and chat with us at the bar, or purchase wine to enjoy in our fireside lounge or on our expansive vine-covered terrace.”
Peter Steinfeld, Naked Winery
Peter joined the Naked team in 2010 after serendipity introduced him to Dave and Jody Barringer, owners of Naked Winery. At the time, the Barringers were looking for a winemaker when Dave and Peter met on a chair lift at Mt. Hood. Both were working on the private board teaching and coaching skiing at the time.
Discussing life during many rides on the chairlift, David challenged Peter to find a new passion in life. After some hesitation he took on the challenge of building Naked’s Hood River wine operations. He felt that working for Naked in Hood River would be the ideal combination of work, relationships and community. Getting along well with Jody, his boss, is also a plus. Peter seems to have found his perfect pairing here in Hood River. Originally from Germany, Peter learned wine-making and distilling at a young age from his German uncle.
When asked about what he enjoys most about his role at Naked Winery, Steinfeld states, "We all work as a team, and I enjoy most that I’m part of such dynamic group of smart and like minded people. We all share the love of getting better at the work we do at Naked Winery. Of course, I love having people enjoy the wine I make. That alone is all the validation and fun I need. In the winemaking business we seem to learn every day through all the challenges that arise. But, that is exactly what makes me get up in the morning and show up with a smile on my face.”
Peter also loves the hands-on approach at Naked Winery.
"At Naked, we're very dynamic as a team and if things need fixing, one of us will do it," he says. “I look at Naked Winery as a family. We are all close and share the drive and goal to make good wine on a consistent basis. It's all about our Club Naked members, our style and keeping our friends happy."
These days, as Naked's winemaker, Steinfeld provides the focus and drive in collaboration with Dave and Jody and of course, the rest of the team. In the short 4 years that he's been making wine for Naked, production has nearly quadrupled due to the success of the Naked Tasting Rooms (Naked Winery has tasting rooms in Hood River, South Dakota and most recently, in Bend).
Steinfeld says “one of his biggest challenges these days is boosting winemaking capacity (thank you, Naked Winery fans), without losing the intent of making the best wine we possibly can. Our goal will always be to continuously improve with every new vintage we produce."
And doing all that, in a business that was the passion of his affectionate uncle, is the perfect punctuation to this chapter of Peter Steinfeld's life.
"I feel blessed to live in Hood River and be able to channel all my energies into growing Naked Winery to be the best company it can be," he says. And we at Naked Winery feel blessed to have Peter as our winemaker.
Oak Ridge Vineyard
Marlene and Thomas Woodward began farming Oak Ridge Vineyard in 1995. Their ten acre, certified organic vineyard is perched high on the eastern slopes of the White Salmon Valley facing south towards Mt. Hood. At 1,400 feet elevation, the vineyard is bathed in just enough sunlight to bring out the spicy, concentrated flavors of the classic cool weather varietals -- Gewürztraminer, Pinot Noir, and Chardonnay. The oldest planting of Gewürztraminer dates to 1984. Pinot noir clones, Pommard and 115, and Chardonnay Dijon 76 were planted in 2007-2010. Thomas and Marlene are very excited about the 2013 Chardonnay harvest. “The flavor profile is remarkable showing excellent promise of a fine wine.”
Grapes from Oak Ridge Vineyard can be enjoyed in wines made by Analemma Wines in Mosier, Oregon, Viento in Hood River, and Brooks and Bethel Heights wineries in the Eola Hills of Oregon.
Brooks, Oak Ridge Vineyard, Gewürztraminer 2011 was named one of the top 100 wines of 2012 by the San Francisco Chronicle. “2011 Brooks Oak Ridge Vineyard Columbia Gorge Gewürztraminer: All hail the White Salmon Valley, that no-man's land on the river's edge between Oregon and Washington. From a 1984 planting there, this is a beautifully devised example of this grape, which can have a sweet spot in the Northwest. Moody, with toasted spices, wilted rose and chewy, complex fruit. Just enough sweetness to steer it clear of biting, but the deep pear flavors and lilac accents manage to be ripe without becoming gaudy.”
Pheasant Valley Winery
We made it! 10 years of business in the Hood River Valley. We could not be more proud to call this place home. At the end of each year we can see where we’ve improved and what next year’s goals should be. The growth of Pheasant Valley Winery is incurable. Our ideas get bigger.
What started as an organic pear farm, snowballed into much more. We've become a custom crush winery, estate vineyard, bed and breakfast, tasting room, event facility, and today, we still farm our organic apples and pears. The next few years will be spent focusing on our new estate chardonnay block, increasing sustainability in our packaging/bottling, and providing our guests with premium wines and great experiences.
We ended our ninth year in 2013 with our largest harvest to date. Owner Scott Hagee managed the processing of over 300 tons of fruit, which equates to about 20,000 cases of wine. With a diverse list of clients, that wine will travel all over the 50 states. Even with all that work, Scott can be regularly seen in the tasting room sharing his knowledge and stories. This month, Scott turns 70 and has more energy than most people half his age: a testament to a lifestyle full of an active mind and body.
To sum up ten years, all we can do is say thank you! Thanks to everyone who has been a part of Pheasant Valley Winery. We see great things for the future of the Gorge Wineries. Cheers to us all!
Phelps Creek Vineyards
Bob Morus moved to Hood River in 1990, planting the first initial 8 acres of Phelps Creek Vineyards. The vineyards grew in size and now the small, boutique winery focuses on 30 acres of estate grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay with additional varietals sourced from within the Columbia Gorge AVA.
Phelps Creek Vineyards’ winemaker, Alexandrine Roy, travels from her estate in Burgundy, France, creating wines inspired by the vineyards’ volcanic terroir. Alexandrine, a fourth-generation wine maker, attended the prestigious "high school" of winemaking in Beaune.
During Phelps Creek’s “Wine Country Experiences” held daily at the vineyards, guests journey the blocks of our vineyard, soaking in gorgeous views of Mt. Hood and the Columbia Gorge. Touching the vines is encouraged, something most visitors have never done before!
After learning about a vintage in the field, guests journey into our Winery to partake in barrel tasting. The distinctive afternoon concludes with a food and wine pairing seminar held on the "Crush Pad."
The Phelps Creek Tasting Room is located at 1850 Country Club Road, Hood River and is open daily from 11-5 pm. For more information on Phelps Creek Vineyards, please visit www.phelpscreekvineyards.com or call 541.399.2861.
Meet Brian McCormick of Memaloose Winery and Idiot's Grace Vineyard
Brian McCormick is owner of Idiot’s Grace Vineyard and winemaker and owner of Memaloose Winery, a family-owned winery that he runs with his father Rob. Having fallen in love with good food and wine in college, Brian went on to study winemaking and earned a graduate degree in Horticulture from the University of California at Davis. After working at Domain Zind-Humbrecht in France and in Sonoma’s Dry Creek Valley, Brian and his family moved to the Gorge in 2001.
With his wife and two children, Brian farms grapes, cherries, pears, and produce at Idiot’s Grace, a certified organic farm in Mosier, Oregon. Situated high on a terrace overlooking the Columbia River, Brian farms 8-acres of wine grapes at Idiot’s Grace. He also tends to 4 other Memaloose estate vineyards (one additional in Oregon, three in Washington), which together produce an array of varieties, including Grenache, Primitivo, Barbera, Dolcetto, Gamay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Sangiovese. Brian works passionately to create food-friendly wines that reflect the unique growing site and essence of the Columbia Gorge.
Scorched Earth Vineyards
Named for the intense wild fire of 2003 that swept over our irrigated ground and incinerated nearly every plant on dry ground. The headline read “ Vineyard Saved” and the aerial sure looks like the hand of God rested over us on that day.
The Columbia River is a huge moderator for our vineyard. “The best grapes see the River” is the old maxim and every vine has an incredible river and mountain view on Scorched Earth. The nearly constant west winds from Columbia Reach and the sloping southern exposure nestled within a natural rain shadow give us safety from extremes of heat and cold. We can grow the warm varieties of Syrah, Zinfandel and Grenache because we have the earliest bud break and harvest with ripening numbers that add up to great wine. We are fortunate to live on this beautiful land and to have Lonnie Wright manage the Vineyards for us.
–Don McDermott and my wife Sarah and son Connor
Hood Crest Winery
Shhhhh “It’s a Secret”…….Hood Crest Winery is Hood River’s newest winery, our small, quaint, boutique, “secret winery”, nestled in the picturesque Hood River Valley at the foot of spectacular Mt. Hood, is not yet open to the public but we are available for private parties and tastings (by appointment only), so just give us a call and we’ll make an appointment.
Family owned and operated by Patrik and Tess Barr, you might know them from The Tess Barr Blues Band, have created an unique tasting experience, we want you to grab a table on our Tasting Patio, sit down and relax, take in the view of the mountain, the vineyard or the barrel room, while enjoying one of our handcrafted wines made by Tess, we’ll talk about the wines, the grapes, our AVA or just let you enjoy one of our Homemade Handcrafted Gourmet Pizza’s that are available for purchase and pair nicely with our wines, (baked on weekends by Partik in his Handcrafted Outdoor Wood Fire Pizza Oven and during the week in our indoor pizza oven, they are AMAZING!!!)
So please visit our website www.hoodcrestwinery.com, Like us on Facebook, email us or just call us to make an appointment @ 541-386-4841 but remember…….Shhhhh “It’s a secret” we are one of Hood River’s best kept secrets….. Hood Crest Winery the “Secret Winery” Cheers!!!
Meet Rachael Horn of Aniche Cellars
Rachael Horn is the winemaker and owner of AniChe Cellars. Rachael bounced around careers and jobs in public education as a teacher and the hospitality industry for years before embarking on her winery adventure (teaching made her a lavish consumer of wine, restaurants/wine stewarding cultivated her palate).
She finally decided what she wanted to be when she grew up in an epiphenomena: the sky opened up, golden light effused in a stream around her, etc, etc. In short, some poor soul who had been subject to her bountiful enthusiasm over a local winemaker’s vintage asked her “with so much passion for it, why don’t you make wine yourself?” Aha. A few years of self study and home winemaking led to the enrollment into the WSU Enology Cert program, and the birth of AniChe cellars. Rachael is the charming forty-something gal (looks early thirties after a few glasses…) wearing odd clothes and wine stained hands.
(warning* This winemaker is an eno-speak geek. She will rant on an endless yarn about isobutylmethoxlperanzines, or brettanomyces or TDNs, etc. to any unsuspecting visitor. BEWARE. And Forgive her…she was once a teacher and failed writer. Translates to verbosity and nerdy with a touch of social ineptitude )