The winemaker’s craft is to expose the terroir locked inside the grape.
Creating Well-Balanced Wines
Reininger Winery sources fruit from a number of outstanding Walla Walla vineyards, including Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills Vineyard and Spring Valley. Each vineyard produces fruit with a slightly different character, allowing Chuck to blend fruit to achieve the complexity and nuances he seeks in his wines. Look for more detailed information on individual vineyards to come in the near future.
Tending to the Vines for Greater Control.
In 1999, the Reiningers, along with several partners, purchased 280 acres at the west end of the Walla Walla Valley with fine southern exposure and panoramic views which they christened Ash Hollow Vineyard. The vineyard receives 6-8 inches of rainfall per year. To date, they have planted 39 acres of certified cabernet sauvignon, merlot, and syrah vines with cuttings from the renowned Red Mountain appellation. Reininger Winery will begin to feature wines made from Ash Hollow Vineyard in their 2001 vintage.
A Cataclysmic Grape Growing Region
Cataclysmic geological events, including the Earth’s largest known lava flows and fine grained deposits from the Earth’s largest glacial floods, have contributed to the superb grape-growing soils of the Walla Walla Valley.
In this small appellation, there is as much variation in vineyards, as is seen in entire regions and sometimes entire countries. Essentially, a merlot vine of the same stock can produce different results depending its location in the valley.
Variations depend upon a wide range of geologic, climatic and cultivating practices, as well as the winegrower’s cultural background and connection with the land. Together these make up what the French call terroir. Here are some more interesting facts about the terroir of Walla Walla Valley:
- 12,000-14,000 years ago, the world’s largest and most spectacular glacial outbursts flooded the region and left rich glacial sediments.
- Overlayed with more recent volcanic deposits, the soils are unique in the world and superbly suited to viticulture.
- The valley is located at latitude 45ï¿½ N, parallel to the great French wine region of Bordeaux.
- This region enjoys 2 hours more summer sunlight than in California wine regions, and 300 days of sunshine a year, allowing for more ripening and ‘hang time’.
- The cooler nights allow for higher natural acidity, giving Washington an advantage over other grape growing regions.
- Recognition that red wine varieties benefit from the longer growing season, aridity and temperature differential (that is warm days and cool nights) is just one more reason why Walla Walla is a great area for producing fine red wines.