Jeff Gordon’s decision to plant red varietals in the mid-80s was considered ill-advised by the conventional wisdom of the locals, but time and a beautiful array of estate-grown wines has proven that his decision was correct.
The land itself, and the Gordon Estate tradition of respectfully nurturing its full potential, has always been central to the success of the winery. The vineyard is sustainably farmed and the surrounding cherry orchards and cropland are certified organic.
With a unique volcanic soil breakdown that includes basalt, sandy loam, clay loam and gravelly loam, the earth of the Gordon Estate vineyard produces grapes of great depth and intensity.
The south-facing site is perched some 620 feet above sea-level along the Snake River. The vineyard has excellent air drainage and benefits from the river’s moderating influence. The vines are sometimes blanketed by snow in the winter, but spring and summer offer sunshine and warmth allowing the grapes to ripen completely. Temperatures during the growing season can fluctuate from 95 degrees Fahrenheit the day to 55 degrees Fahrenheit at night, enabling the grapes to develop high acids and high sugar levels.
With an absence of phylloxera in Washington, all of the Gordon Estate vines grow on their own rootstock yielding ‘true’ grape varietals. Typical vine spacing is 6’ by 10’, and vertical shoot positioning is applied to maximize sun exposure. Thanks to an abundance of water from wells near the shores the Snake River, the vineyard is amply supplied for irrigation.
The majority of the 100-acre estate vineyard is planted with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Gewürztraminer, with small experimental lots set aside for Tempranillo and Malbec.