The Columbia Valley American Viticultural Area (AVA) is the overarching appellation in Eastern Washington, covering nearly a third of Washington State and accounting for 99% of Washington’s wine grape production. Located on the eastern slope of the Cascade Mountain Range, our grapes grow where the days are warm and the nights are cool—nearly perfect conditions for creating balanced wines. While the vineyards of the Columbia Valley share much in common in the way of climate, subtle variations across the region have led to the discovery of numerous microclimates and the official assignment of sub-appellations (with more undoubtedly on the way!). With Helix, we hope to create wines that both represent the region at large and express the distinct flavors of each vineyard.
Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley AVA
Stillwater Creek Vineyard is a 235-acre site on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills. Planted in 2000 on a steep, south-facing slope with one of the most diverse clone selections in Washington State, Stillwater Creek quickly has earned a reputation as one of the Columbia Valley’s top vineyards.
The site’s fractured rock and extreme southern exposure are ideal for reds. White grapes are planted on a mixture of fractured rock and areas of fine sandy loam.
Temperatures during the growing season favor warm days and cool nights. Grapes ripen beautifully under these conditions, enhanced by both hours of light per day during the summer and the total number of sunlight days from bud-break through harvest.
In March 2007, Stillwater Creek was the first Columbia Valley vineyard certified “Salmon Safe” by Seattle’s Stewardship Partners for environmental practices that help protect water quality and habitat for fish and wildlife, particularly native Northwest salmon.
Grapes we use: Chardonnay, Merlot, Sangiovese & Viognier
Stone Tree Vineyard, Wahluke Slope AVA
Located in the Wahluke Slope Appellation, Stone Tree Vineyard was planted in 2000 by Tedd Wildman, a trained entomologist and one of the most experienced and influential viticulturalists in Washington. At Stone Tree, named for a series of petrified tree fossils found in the surrounding Saddle Mountain hillside, Tedd focuses on Rhone and Bordeaux red varietals.
This 240-acre, south-facing slope vineyard is at the highest elevation of the Wahluke Slope. It ranges from 930 to 1,250 feet above sea level, with 200 or more frost-free growing days. The principal soil is a sandy silt loam overlain on a rocky calcium carbonate base similar to some soils in the great vineyards of Bordeaux, with only six inches of rain and high heat units.
"Stone Tree Vineyard, in the heart of the Wahluke Slope, certainly belongs in any list of the best of the best in Washington — in fact, in the country. It has earned accolades from dozens of winemakers, and its vineyard-designated offerings from leading boutiques are often in high demand as limited-edition, tasting-room or wine-club-only offerings. That alone is a mark of exceptional quality.In 2004 and again this past year, when many vineyards elsewhere in Washington suffered considerable frost and freeze damage, Stone Tree came through unscathed."
Excerpt from Paul Gregutt's "Washington’s StoneTree Vineyard is growing great grapes" article in The Seattle Times, April 2011.
Grapes we use: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc & Syrah
Phinny Hill Vineyard, Horse Heaven Hills AVA
Our Helix Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah flourish on this stellar site in Alderdale, WA. Phinny Hill Vineyard was planted under grower Dick Beightol's care on the western side of the Horse Heaven Hills.
This 100-acre vineyard sits atop a sun-drenched hill of rare cobble-filled soils left over from the Missoula Floods during the last Ice Age. The rocky soils and eastern-facing slopes provide great irrigation and air drainage for their vines, especially the predominantly planted Bordeaux grape varietals. Overlooking Champoux Vineyard and the Columbia River at an elevation of 750 feet, Phinny Hill is one of the most picturesque spots in the Horse Heaven Hills.
Grapes we use: Cabernet Sauvignon & Syrah
Bacchus Vineyard, Columbia Valley AVA
Location is an extremely important factor in growing high quality grapes, and Bacchus Vineyard is situated on one of the finest sites in the state. Part of the larger Sagemoor Vineyards, which includes Sagemoor, Bacchus, and Dionysus vines, Bacchus is located near Pasco on a southwest facing hillside with dramatic views of the Columbia River below.
Founded in 1968, Sagemoor Vineyards played a pioneering role in the region, and today, its early vineyards are among the oldest large-scale plantings of vinifera grapes in the State. In 1972, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chenin Blanc, Merlot Chardonnay and Riesling were planted in what is now Bacchus Vineyard. Today, Bacchus' 182.5 acres is predominantly planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot. Other varietals grown on Bacchus Vineyard include Riesling, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc and Syrah.
The sloping land with elevation ranging from 550-900 ft. and soft rolling knolls provides a warm site with excellent air drainage. Various soil types are found throughout Bacchus Vineyards, adding to the complexity of the wines.
Grapes we use: Merlot
Weinbau Vineyard, Wahluke Slope AVA
One of four vineyards associated with the larger Sagemoor Vineyards, Weinbau Vineyard resides just east of Mattawa, WA. With southern views of the Rattlesnake Mountains and the Saddle Mountains forming a backdrop to the north, Weinbau's south sloping land is a warm site with excellent air drainage.
This 460-acre south-sloping site has an elevation ranging from 710-950 ft, and is predominantly Kennewick silt loam soils, making Weinbau Vineyards an excellent warm site with excellent air drainage. .In 2008-09, Weinbau expanded by 100 acres, and the row orientation in these new vines is about 35 degrees off the NS axis to the east, thereby minimizing direct afternoon sunlight on the west side of the vines. This creates a more even ripening and less sunburn potential.
Weinbau also has a secure water source in one of Washington State's hottest AVA's. Since it's establishment in 1981, Weinbau Vineyard has used drip irrigation through the Columbia Basin Irrigation Project. Although Weinbau was original a white varietal vineyard (White Riesling, Chardonnay and Gewurztraminer), it is now known for the full-bodied reds it is able to grow. Over the last 35+ years, Weinbau has expanded to grow over 10 different grape varietals, including one of the largest plantings of Cabernet Franc in Washington State. This year, we released our first single varietal Cabernet Franc made with Weinbau fruit since our inaugural 1997 vintage.