During the last Ice Age, some 10,000 or more years ago, a huge ice dam broke and released the cataclysmic Missoula Floods down the Columbia River Gorge to the Pacific Ocean. The waters left massive deposits of silt and even the occasional boulder, which greatly enriched the soil all throughout the Columbia River Valley. This made it exceptional farming land and a superb vineyard site. The valley has also been lightly covered with ash from the volcanoes along the Ring of Fire, most recently Mt. St. Helens. These ashes have added extra minerals to the ancient soil, giving very subtle, extraordinarily unique flavors to the wine grapes it nurtures.
The Columbia River Valley itself is also an ideal climate for certain grapes, as it is at the same latitude as the Bordeaux region in France. Days of warm sunshine and nights cooled by soft breezes off the river make the valley’s microclimate a perfect growing environment, especially for the Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot varietals in which we specialize.
The enormous potential of this land was recognized by a sailor returning home after World War II. He selected a piece of ground in this picturesque valley, on bluffs in view of the Columbia River itself, and began to carve a farm out of the sagebrush. He worked tirelessly over the next four decades to transform it into a fine farm. He grew Alfalfa seed on the land for many years, and the roots of these plants reached deep into the soil and filled it with nutrients.
The farm has remained in his family to this day. His daughter Brenda and her husband Jason Merriman have expanded the vision for the farm. In addition to thriving apple and cherry orchards, the land now features a beautiful vineyard. Its vines receive a luscious three hundred days of warm sunshine each year. The hot, dry weather concentrates the flavors in the grapes, and a controlled irrigation system provides perfect water levels to augment the ideal climate of the region. In this rich, ancient soil, the possibility of a vineyard has grown into a flourishing reality. The Merriman family and a dedicated crew walk the rows of the vineyard daily, tending the plants with care to produce beautiful fruit.
The second and third generations continue a family tradition of farming as a labour of love, cultivating the land to produce the lushest vines and most flavorful grapes, which they now present to you in these wines from their own estate vineyard.