The vineyard was originally planted by Paul Champuox for Milo and Kay May in 2005 in the Horse Heaven Hills A.V.A. overlooking the Columbia River at Crow Butte Park. The plantings look out over water and have a magnificent view of the Columbia River and the state of Oregon.
Paul Champoux planted 24 acres of the original 30 acre site. 1 acre of Petit Verdot; clone 2, 8×3. 6 acres of Cab. Sauv.; clone 8, 8×5, 6 acres Sryah; clone Phelps, 8×5, and 11 acres Cab. Sauv.; clone 8, 8×3.
In 2012 we purchased 53 additional acres and are planting 15 acres this spring. 11 acres Cab. Sauv. clones 337 and 191, 5.5 acres each at 8×3. 2 acres Cab. Frank, clones 312 and 214, 8×3. 1 acre each at 8×3. Merlot 2 acres clone 15, 8×3.
Elevation goes from 260′ to 580′. The aspect is East, South East with an aggressive slope of 6%, which encourages major natural air drainage so that no artificial air mixing machines are necessary.
Our farming practices follow the low input model with fall application of Compost followed by aeration with minimal tillage and natural cover crop to maintain soil health. Sustainability is the goal for the longevity and health of not only the vineyard but also for us.
Irrigation is accomplished with both drip and micro sprinklers. The drip is used for the majority of watering needs as the micro sprinklers assist by keeping the cover crop alive to function as a host for beneficial insects and soils stabilization. The micro sprinklers can also help in cooling the canopy during extreme periods of heat or the chance of a freezing frost in the spring.
All vineyard work is accomplished by hand; pruning, suckering, shoot thinning, fruit thinning, and harvest.
Crop load is held to a low level so that high quality and maximum flavors can be extracted from the fruit, 3.5 to 4 lbs per plant is our average harvest weight per plant in the high density plantings of 8×3, 1815 plants per acre. Pruning is V.S.P. done on a unilateral cordon with a western sprawl to help with sun exposure. Canopy management decisions are done to maximize the growing conditions on a per year basis as weather dictates.
The vineyard is owned and managed by Milo and Kay May. Both are involved at the hands on level in all the farming decisions and practical applications such as spraying, cultivating, and general maintenance of the vineyard.