Quilceda Creek has acquired an additional 22 acres of the coveted vineyard site, increasing its majority ownership to 79%, totaling 133.51 acres. Quilceda Creek was founded in 1978 and has been sourcing fruit from the site since 1986“Everything in our winemaking process centers around selection, so our vineyards and our ability to control 100% of the farming decisions is what sets us apart. This is hands-down one of the best sites in Washington, and we farm it to the utmost precision,” says Paul. “It is an honor to increase our stake of this historic vineyard as we celebrate our 40th vintage of the Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon this year.”
Champoux Vineyards was first planted in 1972 by Don and Linda Mercer, making it one of the oldest vineyards in Washington State. Under Paul Champoux’s management from 1989 until 2014, the vineyard became one of the most highly acclaimed vineyards in the world. Quilceda Creek first began sourcing fruit from the Champoux Vineyard to make their Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in 1986 and has almost exclusively used the site for its Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon since 2001. Champoux Vineyards, LLC was created in 1996 by the Champoux family with a small group of wineries that had been customers for many years, including Quilceda Creek. In 1997 Quilceda Creek purchased its first portion of the vineyard, 15%. Since then, Quilceda Creek’s ownership of the vineyard has increased over the years. The winery acquired the 22 acres from Rick Small of Woodward Canyon Winery who will retain 3% ownership. The remainder of the vineyard is owned by two other family-owned wineries. Quilceda Creek Viticulturist Dan Nickolaus has been farming the Champoux Vineyard since 2014, and since 2017 has managed all the Quilceda Creek vineyard holdings.
Under Quilceda Creek’s direction, Champoux Vineyard recently completed a 22-acre replant through individually planting 43,500 vines by hand. The vineyard lies between 600-800 feet in elevation on fine sandy loam soils allowing for great root development and extremely even vigor.
“It is a cold vineyard in a hot AVA and the diurnal shift is huge,” says Golitzin. “As such, the fruit ripens while retaining great freshness. The fruit from this vineyard offers incredible aromatics. It is like someone added perfume to the grapes.”
In addition to Champoux Vineyard, Quilceda Creek also owns the Galitzine Vineyard in the Red Mountain AVA and the Palengat Vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, where the team has complete control over the growing practices and fruit selection. Everything from planting the vines by hand to carefully monitoring the weather patterns and the grapes is done with meticulous intent to ensure that there is minimal intervention in the winemaking process.