Born in Yakima and raised in a Naches Heights farming family I have spent my entire life farming. I am a third generation farmer involved in the tree fruit and wine grape industry. Our management company West Hollywood Farms, LLC manages 100 acres of apples, cherries, pears and wine grapes. In 2002 we entered the wine business, planting our first wine grapes and in 2006 released our first wines from Naches Heights Vineyard.
Our approach to vineyard management and growing grapes is focused: we grow the best quality wine grapes to insure our wine makers have the best grapes to work with. Great wines are born in the vineyard and it begins with exceptional vineyard sites that the French fondly call Terroir. Terroir is the soil, water, light and human element that merge to create a sense of place and time. We are growing grapes from two AVAs (American Viticulture Areas), the oldest in the state being Yakima Valley and one of the newest AVAs, Naches Heights. Naches Heights AVA was initiated in 2008 by me and Paul Beveridge of Wilridge Vineyard (one of my vineyard clients in Naches Heights). We received approval from the Trade and Tobacco Bureau in January of 2012. The process involved proving that the area defined is unique to the growing region. Historic, geographical and geological data were used to establish and delineate the Naches Heights area as distinct and thus qualifying for its own AVA.
Our thoughts on the wine makers and wine making process are the same as the vineyards. We have been fortunate to find and develop relationships with likeminded individuals who share the passion and commitment to craft grapes into fine wine. With their passion and expertise for wine making together with exceptional quality wine grapes that we provide, we can assure a consistent product year after year. The wine business in Washington as well as worldwide is very competitive and we strive to produce the best possible bottle of wine at that particular price point.
Our tasting room and retail philosophy is based on the concept that wine is food and wine is fun. Good food and good fun are what are being sought by our customers and it is our job is to provide our customers with best wine experience and education that we can offer. We knew immediately when we started in the wine business that it was about entertainment and the wine was only part of the story. With that in mind we purposely sought out people for tasting room positions with good social skills and a passion for creating a memorable experience for all, thus creating a story in which our staff was a vital part. People with these skills are rare and precious. It takes an incredible amount of energy to maintain a spot on image to the public. We have aimed to create a rewarding work environment that fosters happiness and health with a transparent agenda that encourages ownership in our success.
Naches Heights Vineyard (NHV) was planted in the spring of 2002 on property that has been in our family for 75 years. Today we have 8.5 acres of grapes on the property that are planted to Riesling, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Grunner Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Albarino, and Syrah. After establishing this vineyard we started our vineyard management business in 2004 with the planting of Two Coyote vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA. The concept for the vineyard management business was twofold: First was to have well trained personnel available for the vineyards during the growing season and second was to enlist fruit from these management vineyards for use in the NHV label while selling remaining or extra fruit to area winemakers. We have grown from two vineyards of 13 acres in 2004 to 7 vineyards and 80 acres today. The vineyards are managed by Abraham Gonzalez who has been my trusted friend and employee for over 30 years. Abraham’s commitment to quality work and good service has propelled our business to where it is today. Our property management business is growing 35 varieties of wine grapes as well as a small mix of apples, pears and cherries for our clients.
NHV’s first wines were released in the spring of 2006 from grapes grown in 2005. Our first Riesling from the vineyard scored a 91 in Wine and Spirits magazine giving us encouragement for our future. Since that time we have garnered many awards and accolades for our wines that we have produced.
Our current list of wines includes the following.
Can-Can 2015 (white table)
Zeste 2015 (Grenache blanc and Marsanne)
Pinot Gris 2016
Two Dancers 2013 (Syrah/Cab Franc)
Cab Franc 2013
Carmen (Tempranillo) 2014
In June 2013 four of our wines received prestigious Double Gold awards from the 2013 Seattle Wine Awards, a state wide competition: 2012 Can-Can, 2012 Riesling, 2010 Mourvedre and 2010 Cabernet Franc. From the first 220 cases of wine produced in 2006 we have grown the business to over 4000 cases in 2013. We currently have in our portfolio of wines Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer, Can-Can and Papillon (both white blends), Syrah, Mourvedre, Cabernet Franc and three Red blends Carmen, Crooked Red and Two Dancers. We are currently self-distributed in Washington and have three sales agents marketing our wines in eastern and western Washington. In January of 2012 Naches Heights became the 12th American Viticulture area (AVA) in the state of Washington helping promote us to new level of marketability in our state.