The Horse Heaven Hills appellation is located in south-central Washington along the Washington-Oregon border. The area takes its name from an early pioneer who said, upon seeing the region and its wide prairies and expanses, ‘‘Surely this is Horse Heaven!”
The area is among Washington’s warmer growing regions, allowing a wide variety of grapes to ripen successfully. Many vineyards in the Horse Heaven Hills are planted on south-facing slopes, providing for extended sun exposure.
There are three main soil types in the area—wind-blown sand and loess, Missoula Flood sediment, and hill slope rubble from the Columbia River basalt bedrock. Each of these provides well-drained soils suitable for wine.
Like many of eastern Washington’s growing regions, the Horse Heaven Hills are an anticline of the Yakima fold belt. Pressure differentials cause significant winds in the Horse Heaven Hills. These winds reduce canopy size and toughen grape skins, as well as protect against mold and rot. The nearby Columbia River also has a moderating effect on temperatures, reducing the risk of early and late season frosts, which can be a problem in nearby areas.
Third generation farmer Connie Crawford meticulously tends the 80 acres of 17 year old vines sitting just outside of Prosser, WA. Her passion for cultivation and the knowledge of the land she brings to her work make her an excellent partner for Palouse. She gifts us with our gorgeous Viognier grapes every year.
Crawford Vineyard believes in training the vines to grow in a double trellis manner, attempting to improve grape quality by reducing shade within a dense canopy and dividing the mass of foliage into two. The canopy has greater access to light and wind movement and just seem a lot happier, greatly impacting the fruit and yield. Happy fruit translates to happy wine.
The vineyard consists of very deep, well drained soils formed in a thin mantle of loess, or windblown silt, known as warden soils. Characterized by warm, dry summers and cool, moist winters, warden soils are predominantly found on terraces.
Loam is a type of soil composed of sand, silt, and clay. More important than the composition is the fact that loam is what gives Crawford Vineyard grapes that extra zest. Chockablock with nutrients and the perfect composition for drainage, grapes florish in this good dirt.