Did you know Yakima Valley winegrowers are at the forefront of the organic and sustainable winemaking movement? With spring on the horizon, how about planning a trip to meet the makers and learn more about these premium wines.
Did you know Yakima Valley winegrowers are at the forefront of the organic and sustainable winemaking movement? The Naches Heights American Viticulture Area was established in 2012 as the first AVA in Washington State to be fully sustainable. Located at an unusually high elevation with volcanic soils, the vineyards in this AVA utilize biodynamic, organic or LIVE (low-input viticulture and enology), certified salmon safe production. Naches Heights wineries aren’t alone in their commitment to sustainable winemaking.
Wine grapes grown by Wilridge Winery, Distillery & Vineyard, Naches Heights Vineyard, Paradisos del Sol Winery & Organic Vineyard and Hedges Family Estate have been certified organic by Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) and/ or use biodynamic practices. Biodynamic certification pre-dates the organic movement by twenty years and goes beyond organic certification to include enhancing the soils with natural methods such as composting.
While wines may be made from grapes grown on certified biodynamic farms, it doesn’t necessarily mean the wine is certified organic. A certified organic wine must be produced in accordance with the Stellar Certification Services Standards* or the Demeter Biodynamic Processing Standard. Wines not certified may be considered “natural wine,” made from organic grapes, minimally processed using little to no additives. There are no federal regulations classifying a natural wine. Certified organic wines are noted below; others are produced from organic grapes.
Wilridge founded the first certified organic and biodynamic Vineyard, Winery and Distillery in Washington State. They grow certified organic pears and apples for their distilled brandies and organic grapes for their wines. The tasting room is located in a 100-year-old farmhouse in the middle of the Naches Heights AVA. Perched atop the stunning Cowiche Canyon, visitors take advantage of hiking opportunities through the vineyards to the nearby canyon and enjoy great views, picnics and frequent concerts on the expansive lawn.
- Distilled Spirits: Estate Grappa di Nebbiolo (biodynamic Stellar Services Standards certification) and Estate Pear Brandy (biodynamic Stellar Services Standards certification)
- Wines: 2017 Barbera Estate, 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2018 Chardonnay, 2017 Estate Melange Noir, 2018 Estate Dessert Wine Muscat Blanc, 2018 Pinot Grigio, 2018 Estate Dessert Wine Pinot Gris, 2018 Estate Red Dessert Wine, 2018 Estate Rose of Sangiovese , 2017 Estate Sagrantino, 2017 Estate Sangiovese, 2018 Estate Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2018 Estate Dessert Wine Semillon-Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 Estate Syrah-Mourvedre, 2017 Estate Touriga Nacional, 2018 Estate Viognier-Roussanne , 2017 Estate Zweigelt
Naches Heights Vineyard’s grapes are grown with a love for the land, using organic or biodynamic practices. Naches Heights Vineyard was one of the first vineyards in Washington State to attain both LIVE and Salmon Safe certifications with 80% of their labels having both certifications. They believe sustainable practices preserve the vineyards for the next generation, leaving the world a better place. Their 2018 Albarino won Best of Class at the 2019 Savor NW Wine Awards. Schedule your wine tasting today or order online.
- Wines: 2018 Albarino, 2013 Malbec, Guinevere -2017 Gewurztraminer, 2014 Carmen- Tempranillo, 2016 Can Can (white blend), Two Dancers (red blend), 2017 Pinot Gris, Syrah, Zeste, Cab-Franc, Mourvedre
Hedges Family Estate is located in the Red Mountain AVA. In keeping with the extensive standards of Demeter Certification, Hedges adds no commercial yeast to the wine during the fermentation process, resulting in a true expression of the earth that produced it. Soil deposits left behind by receding glacial floods produce small, concentrated grapes with layered, complex personalities that produce Hedges scene-stealing wines. The tasting room is open all year. Visit from April to November, Wednesday through Sunday, 11am to 5 pm.
- Wines: 2016 La Haute Cuvée (previously certified by Stellar), 2016 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon (previously certified by Stellar), 2017 La Haute Cuvée, 2017 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2017 Red Mountain Syrah
Paradisos del Sol Winery & Organic Vineyard is located in the Yakima Valley AVA along the Rattlesnake Hills Wine Trail in Zillah,WA. They are a small family owned “farmer” and an organic, pesticide-free vineyard. A farmery is the term they use to describe their “winery located on a farm,” complete with sheep, pigs, turkeys, chickens, cats, and dogs (and sometimes fish). Vineyards benefit from intensive labor for canopy management and zero spraying of vines resulting in beautiful, healthy grapes. As wholistic growers, they strive to expose every fruit and leaf to direct sunlight as the best defense for fungus and insect pests. Paradisos de Sol offers vineyard tours to hear more about their grape growing and wine making practices every Sunday at 9 am or by appointment.
- White Wines: 2016 Rosé Paradiso, 2014 Oyster White Semillon, 2014 Sève Chenin Blanc, and 2014 Bs Blend
- Red Wines: 2014 Sangiovese, 2012 Paradisos Red, 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Since Paradisos had near-perfect fruit they avoided new oak, using older barrels to let the vineyard shine in this Cabernet Sauvignon, “au natural.”)
- Dessert Wines: 2013 Zort and 2013 Angelica MRS
* In July 2018, CCOF, Stellar and Demeter announced a partnership to allow organic operations certified by Stellar Certification Services to easily transition their certification to CCOF Certification Services, LLC. On July 31, 2018, Stellar Certification Services ceased to certify organic operations. Stellar is the organic certification sister organization of Demeter USA, the U.S.’ biodynamic certification organization.