Tapteil Vineyard was first planted in the spring of 1985 and now totals 35 acres of three varieties–Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. The vineyard lies between 740 and 880 feet in elevation on predominately silt loam soil. Site selection had a basic focal point – find the best site at which to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. This site, together with careful vineyard management, provides wine grapes of exceptional quality and shows why Red Mountain has continued to be the source for high quality wines.
The name “Tapteil” comes from the (the language of the Yakama Indians) term for “narrow” and refers to the narrow portion of the Yakima River as it flows south and east of Yakima. The term Tapteilmin or “narrow river people” was used to identify those living along this portion of the Yakima River.
“Quality wines start in the vineyard.” The staff at Tapteil Vineyard continually focus on viticultural practices and techniques affecting grape quality canopy management, training, pruning, thinning, water management and pest management. The use of insectories, either as islands of plants or in corridors, can improve biodiversity and can be used as a tool in approaching pest management. Increased focus on sustainability is another important aspect of our viticultural philosophy. Guidance from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (WAWGG) and Vinewise, the Washington Guide to Sustainable Viticulture, helps focus attention on sustainable viticulture to ensure economically viable, socially supportive and ecologically sound businesses for growers and vintners.
Larry Pearson (owner, grower and winemaker) harbors something of an obsession with Cabernet Sauvignon. He has lived and worked in remote corners of the world (Australia, Tanzania, Bosnia, for example), first as a math and science teacher, and later as an engineer. Along the way, he added an MBA to his resume and switched professional gears to work as a management consultant. But always Pearson has turned his eye to the ideal grape. And always he has been drawn to Red Mountain in Washington State.
Pearson owns the 45-acre Tapteil Vineyard near the height of the tiny mountain, where he grows Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. He’s been a grower there since 1984, making him one of the early pioneers to break ground in one of the most respected AVAs in Washington. In 1999, he added winemaking to his venture, annually producing 1200 cases of premium Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedré and Riesling which he sells exclusively from the spacious tasting room he built to take advantage of the sweeping views of Red Mountain and the valley stretching to the west. Paintings by Larry’s wife Jane, are showcased in the tasting room and chronicle life and experience on Red Mountain.