Our family owned portfolio features vineryards in three distinct growing areas throughout the state: Wahluke Slope, Horse Heaven Hills, and the Ahtanum Valley.
"This is a wonderful country, a long way from market, harsh sometimes and hell on horses and women, but a good country" - George Calvert, realtor and former justice of the peace in Moses Lake selling the Wahluke Slope in the 70's
Doc Stewart Vineyard
A surgeon by trade and farmer by passion, Dr. George Stewart was a man who came to eastern Washington from Mississippi, drawn by dreams of the frontier. Based in the small town of Sunnyside in the late 60's, Dr. Stewart was one of the first to see the agricultural promise of the Wahluke Slope. The potential was not obvious to all. "It looked like the most desolate, god-awful place that you would want to look at. There were tumbleweeds rolling down the road and you couldn't see because it was so dusty,” said one early Washington wine pioneer.
It was the wife of Walter J. Clore, the inarguable Godfather of Washington wine, who introduced the two men, assuring Dr. Stewart he was on the right track. "Those were wonderful times," Stewart later said. "We were all thinking about trying to make something special."
In 1972, flush with water from the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project, Dr. Stewart planted a couple dozen acres of vines to four varieties of Vitis Vinifera on an orchard right in the middle of what is today the Wahluke Slope AVA.
Since then, the Wahluke Slope has become one of the most important growing areas for wine grapes in the state of Washington. At just under 6,000 acres planted to wine grapes, it tied with the Horse Heaven Hills for 3rd in total wine grape production for the state. Deposits of sand and silt were carried on the winds, and gravel deposited from the great Missoula Floods provide the canvas for the higher-than-average days of sunlight and heat to coax deep fruit and mineral flavors from the variety of reds.
The "Doc Stewart" vineyard was farmed continuously by the Stewart family from 1972 until 2001 when it was purchased by our family. Parcels of Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay date back to the early 80's, and most other vines were replanted in the early 90's. Today, the vineyard is comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
Featured wines from the Doc include Syrah, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon
Just a couple miles towards the Saddle Mountains from “the Doc" is our 24K Vineyard. An alfalfa farm in its past life, its name is derived from its location at the corner of 24 and K streets (though we still hope to find gold one way or another). The vineyard was planted by brothers Curtiss and Cragg Gilbert in 2007. Grenache, Mourvedre, Tempranillo, and Cabernet Franc are planted here on a soil subtly different from that of the Doc Stewart further down the slope. Finer in texture, more loam and silt than sand, higher in clay content, the reds from the 24K show amazing potential for producing deeply-structured wines with bright, highly-aromatic fruit aromas. As of 2012, the most vines have made the turn towards maturity and are beginning to showcase unique representations of their varietal character. The coming years will continue to offer insight into what sets this vineyard apart from those surrounding and we look forward to moderating the process.
Featured wines from the 24K include 2009 Grenache, 2009 Mourvedre, 2010 Cabernet Franc and most of the 2011 Rose of Mourvedre
Wines blended from both Doc & 24K in the Wahluke are our Left Bank & Allobroges
HORSE HEAVEN HILLS
"The area offers excellent forage, and comparative isolation...It is surely a Horse Heaven!" James Gordon Kinney, eastern Washington pioneer
Nine Canyons Vineyard
South of Kennewick, Washington, Horseheaven Hills AVA
Nestled among 250 acres of cherry and apple orchards flanking a small canyon, this vineyard is a stone’s throw from the mighty Columbia River. Vines were planted into deeply terraced hillsides in 2009 by Curtiss Gilbert. Just over one acre of Pinot Noir lines the north-facing slope of the canyon while Malbec, Chardonnay, and Carmenere fill out the much warmer south-facing slope.
The soils of this site are Starbuck loam, an incredibly stony, extremely shallow layer of silt that covers a solid layer of basalt. Exceptionally well-drained and non-fertile, the soil helps to minimize vigor in the vines, allowing for a balanced canopy in the production of low-yield wine grapes. As our family's first vineyard into the Horse Heaven Hills, we expect this hidden gem of a site to grow with quality and intrigue as the years pass.
Featured wines from the Nine Canyons Vineyard include our 2010 Pinot Noir.
River Ridge Vineyard
Directly overlooking the Columbia River to the south, the River Ridge vineyard is the newest addition to the Gilbert family of vineyards. Featuring all Bordeaux varietals densely planted to fully utilize the low-fertility of the Horse Heaven Hills soil, the first lots from this vineyard were vinified in 2011. There is still much to be learned about the intricacies of this vineyard and we're eagerly awaiting the challenge. More to come.
AHTANUM VALLEY (COLUMBIA VALLEY AVA)
"The great Columbia Basin awaited large-scale irrigation to transform the dry desert that claimed most of the state from Yakima east to Clarkston, and from Spokane south to Maryhill. It was a vast area of boundless potential." from The Wine Project, Ronald Irvine
The Sunrise Vineyard is located on what was a 200-acre cattle ranch purchased by Horace Mark Gilbert in 1920. Planted to apples for the last 90 years, it wasn't until 2003 that the family decided that a few parts of it just might make a good location for growing grapes. With the glorious Ahtanum Ridge to the south, the vineyard sits just above the floor of the Ahtanum Valley at the base of the Cascade Mountains.
The vineyard is named for a series of hikers cabins originally built at the Sunrise Area of Mt. Rainier in the early 1900's. Brought off-mountain by the Gilbert family in the 1940’s to provide housing for seasonal workers, the cabins are still in use today on the ranch, serving as living space and overnight rooms for family and friends over the years. The altitude of the vineyard--at nearly 1,400 feet--is a wonderful environment for aromatic white varietals, like our Riesling, Gewürztraminer, and Chardonnay. The warm days and very cool nights of the site gently ripen the fruit while preserving the natural acidity and elevating the aromatics.
Featured wines from Sunrise are Riesling & Gewürztraminer.
UP & COMING ESTATE VINEYARDS:
Tissel Place Vineyard
Peach 10 Vineyard
5 North Front Street
Yakima, WA 98901
Gilbert Cellars can currently ship wine to states with a reciprocal shipping agreement with the state of Washington.
These states include:
AK, CA, CO, CT, DC, GA, HI, ID, IL, IA, LA, MI, MN, MO, NE, NV, NM, NC, ND, OH, OR, SC, TX, VA, WV, WI, and WY.
If you do not live in one of these states, feel free to submit your order and we will contact you regarding how to find our wines.