We believe that high quality wine can only be made from high quality grapes. The quality of the grapes is determined by a combination of several factors such as the microclimate, the soil, the cropping and yield of the vine, the management of the canopy, and the handling of the picked fruit. The winemaker must have constant communication with the vineyard management to insure the highest quality.
Our strategy for grape supply is to utilize fruit from vineyards where this relationship exists. We also believe that we must offer products that utilize grapes from several different sources to offset annual variations in grape characteristics caused by fluctuations in weather patterns and to complement the characteristics of grapes obtained from a single source. We primarily procure grapes from the Roza Hills Vineyard.
Roza Hills Vineyard currently produces the following varietals.
Cabernet Sauvignon: 71 acres
Riesling: 57 acres
Merlot: 36 acres
Chardonnay: 32 acres
Sauvignon Blanc: 14 acres
Syrah: 8 acres
Chenin Blanc: 4 acres
Gewürztraminer: 3 acres
Zinfandel: 2 acres
Cabernet Franc: 2 acres
At an elevation of 1100 – 1300 feet above sea level the vineyard is in a natural southern sloping bowl that sits on the southern slope of the Rattlesnake Hills. In 2006 Rattlesnake Hills was given its own American Viticultural Area (AVA) designation. The Rattlesnake Hills AVA lies within the current Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley AVAs and consists of 68,500 total acres, with just about 1,500 bearing acres (those currently being used for growing grapes).
Beginning at an elevation of 850 feet and rising up to 3,085 feet, the area sits higher in elevation than the surrounding Yakima Valley region and is located approximately four miles southeast of Yakima, which makes for a quick and fun day trip from Seattle. The AVA has 17 wineries and 29 vineyards. Key grape varietals grown in Rattlesnake Hills include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Malbec.
The following are characteristics of the region:
Topography: which consists of the hills’ ridgeline sitting up to 2,000 feet above the north flank of the Yakima River Valley. The ridgeline contains north and south-facing slopes which create a diverse landscape of dissected canyons, ridges and terraces running south to the Yakima River. Elevation ranges from a low of 850 feet and up to 3,085 feet along the south slope.
Temperatures: which are among the most moderate in the state, provide consistent ripening, thanks to its geographical location. To the west, the Cascade Range shields eastern Washington from the Pacific Ocean’s climactic influence while the Rattlesnake Hills diverts polar air from Canada, which can often damage grape vines. The Rattlesnake Hills AVA it is not as hot as Red Mountain and not as cold as Prosser. It is right in the middle getting the best climate possible.
Soils: Are characterized by their fine texture, in contrast to the sandy soils found in nearby AVA regions. Consistent pH and neutral alkaline levels control vine growth and help to create balanced grapes.
Roza Hills Vineyard has several soil profiles throughout. The majority of the vineyard is planted in a loamy silt to clay with broken basalt chunks interspersed. This soil is called the Moxee Series and consists of shallow, well drained soils that formed in loess over a lime silica cemented duripan mantling old alluvium or basalt. It is slightly alkaline. Soil depth ranges from 1′ to 2′ before hitting the hard cemented duripan. These soils lie above the flood plane of the Missoula flood and are therefore older than those located at lower elevations in the valley.
Roza Hills is the largest vineyard in the AVA that produces outstanding fruit with intense varietal character. Not only is Roza Hills the largest vineyard within the AVA, but Silver Lake is the largest brand produced within the region. As the reputation of the AVA grows so will the reputation of the brand and its grape source.