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Spring 2009 Newsletter

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon boasts velvety richness

The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon is rich, smooth and concentrated, with layers of black cherry, dark fruit, and mocha with spicy tones of mineral and earth. The finish is amazingly long and detailed, with supple and seamless tannins. A sophisticated mix of very ripe fruit, elegance and finesse - this wine aged 21 months in 55% new French oak barrels.

We will release the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon on May 1, and the price is $55/bottle (or $44/bottle for Bridge Club members. We produced fewer than 2,400 cases, so make sure you don't miss out on this exciting vintage! If you can't make it to Walla Walla to visit us in person, you may make a purchase by e-mailing us at, calling us at (509)525-6502, or visiting Thanks!

Learn canopy management at May 30 Vine Club Day

Canopy management is an art that takes vine spacing, trellising, shoot positioning, and leaf removal into consideration. The goal is to create the optimal growing environment that will allow the grapes to maximize their flavor, color and ripeness. Each vineyard site calls for a different management plan, depending on items such as elevation, pitch, soil, grape variety and microclimate.

Vine Club members, please join Wine Grower Norm McKibben for a luncheon and hands-on tutorial at the winery on Saturday, May 30th. If you are interested in joining the club or would like more details about this event, please contact Lisa at 509-525-6502 or

Pictured above: Diana Wlodarcqyk harvests grapes in Pepper Bridge Vineyard during last year's Vine Club Day.

Calendar of events

We have many activities scheduled over the next several months. For instance, Spring Release is just around the corner, and we hope to see you here in Walla Walla! For more details, please check out our calendar here:

Meet the team: Sarah German

Tasting Room Associate Sarah German fell in love with Walla Walla and its abundance of good wine during a vacation to the area several years ago. Although baking is her first passion, wine is a close second.

Sarah has had an adventurous spirit since Day One. When she decided it was time to be born, her parents were living in Yellowstone National Park.

They had to trek by snowmobile to get out of the park and then had to drive more than an hour to the closest hospital in Bozeman for the delivery.

As a child, she was naturally curious and independent. She started baking cookies and brownies when she was seven years old and quickly developed a love for it. She got her first job at a bakery right out of high school.

Her passion for wine was sparked during a trip to Italy about ten years ago. This first introduction to the world of wine got her hooked. When she returned stateside, she had a new lifestyle and a new hobby: searching for and sampling new wines.

Her adventures did not stop there. In the years that followed, she combined her love of food and wine as she started down her career path. She attended the French Culinary Institute in New York City and interned in a handful of fine restaurants. However, Montana began to pull at her heartstrings and she returned home. Back in Bozeman, she surrounded herself with food and wine aficionados and was well known in the fine dining circle as an excellent baker.

In the spring of 2005, she moved to Walla Walla with the hope of starting a restaurant. Although this did not work out, Sarah put her baking skills to use at several different restaurants in the area before joining us at Pepper Bridge. Her desserts are to die for. You can check them out for yourself at T. Maccarone's, where she moonlights.

In her free time, Sarah enjoys gardening, snow skiing, abstract painting, visiting wineries, tasting wine and learning about wineries.

From the Winemaker: Winter in the vineyard

Many visitors to the winery have been asking us "How did the grapes do this winter since it was so cold?" I have good news to report. This winter in Walla Walla wasn't all that different from normal weather patterns.

A normal winter in Walla Walla brings us temperatures close to zero at some time during January. Ideally, we like to see weather get progressively colder from Thanksgiving through Christmas, so the New Year's temperatures are about 10 degrees.

This will allow the vines to go into full dormancy and harden them to the point where they can stand minus five to minus 10 degrees without losing crop.When we have an earlier cold snap, how much damage is done depends on a few items. It depends on the temperatures in the week ahead of the cold snap, what minimum temperature occurs during the cold snap, and how long the weather stays cold.

During the week before Christmas, temperatures dropped from 50 degrees to minus three degrees in about seven days. There was enough snow on the ground to protect the vines' roots. Seven Hills Vineyard, because of its higher elevation, saw almost no damage but the crews lost a few nights of sleep as they manned the wind machines. Pepper Bridge, at a lower elevation, experienced some bud damage, which means we will have to take extra care during pruning to see normal harvest yields.

However, I must re-emphasize that we did not see cold enough temperatures in either of vineyard to affect fruit quality, so we are going into early spring with very high hopes of a great vintage.

The heavy snow brought herds of elk and many white-tailed deer down to the vineyard elevations.
They added to our view at the winery and caused no damage to our vines.