By Kori ~ January 5th, 2009.
As part of our visits to some of the major vineyards in Washington State, Dad (John) and I took a day trip to Stillwater Creek Vineyard and Cold Creek Vineyard.
Planted in 2000 at the urging of Mike Januik and owned by the Alberg Family, Stillwater Creek Vineyard covers 245 acres north of Royal City, Washington, on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in the Columbia Valley AVA. Due to its higher elevation (>1500 feet) and slightly northern location within the state, Stillwater Creek is one of Washingtonâ€™s cooler vineyard sites. It is south-facing with steep slopes and the terrain is a mixture of rocks and sand. Stillwater Creek boasts an impressive tasting pavilion and viewing area. The vineyard is recognized for its unique collection of premium varietal clones. The primary varieties grown at Stillwater Creek are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and Cabernet Franc. A number of wineries source grapes from Stillwater Creek including Arbor Crest, Betz, Columbia, Januik, JM Cellars, Novelty Hill, Three Rivers, Saviah, and others. While still a relatively young vineyard, I am particularly excited about the potential of Stillwater Creek Vineyard to be one of the best vineyards in the state.
Our next stop took us to one of the oldest vineyards in the Columbia Valley, Cold Creek Vineyard. Located about 40 miles east of Yakima, Washington, south of the Columbia River and the Wahluke Slope, Cold Creek was discovered by Dr. Walter Clore, the father of Washington winemaking, and planted in 1973. Owned by Chateau Ste. Michelle, Cold Creek encompasses 660 acres. Despite its name, Cold Creek is one of the driest and warmest vineyard sites in Washington. It is south-facing with mostly deep sand and not much rock. Few outside wineries have the opportunity to work with this vineyard, but grapes from Cold Creek go into the finest Ste. Michelle wines including their Ethos label. Some grapes go to their sister wineries, Col Solare and Northstar, as well.
Once again, we had a wonderful time in Washington Wine Country. We look forward to visiting more Washington State vineyards when the weather warms up and the 2009 growing season is in full swing.
Filed under: American Wine, Vineyards, Washington State Wine