Selected clones of French Chardonnay were planted with clonal selections acquired by Peter Brehm over his 36 years of working with the West’s finest vineyards. And so is it in the Pinot Noir planting of White Salmon Vineyard. An mélange of clones dominated by #115, followed by #114, #777, Swan, and a couple more.

The Chardonnay grape has been found to grow and produce high quality wine in many regions.  In the ‘new world’ Carneros Chardonnay from the cool region of Napa and Sonoma Valleys is likely to be standard. It has been referred to as the Beethoven of Chardonnays. The Carneros wines have reasonable balance, acidity and a distinctive, refined Chardonnay fruit character. They are easily complimented with oak, malolactic fermentations and various winemaker inspired manipulations. The Chardonnay grape’s character is not that powerful and it readily accepts the colorations of the winemaker. The Carneros allows a long, fairly cool growing season that guard’s its subtle character. Warmer areas will diminish its its distinctive character while cooler areas, with long growing seasons, accentuate its character.

The Chardonnay wines of White Salmon have a refined, lighter character than the Carneros.  The shorter growing season, and the cooler ripening period produces wine with more mineral, pear like character. The wines age much longer in the bottle and evolve with aging in a manner distinct and preferable to the Carneros standard.

There are Chardonnays for every palatte. WSV offers two, both dry, both capable of aging.

Big White Chardonnay.  Fermented in stainless steel without a malolactic fermentation. A bright, clean wine with ideal for tapas, entertaining, and every day accompaniment  with food.

Estate Chardonnay. Fermented in aged French oak with a malolactic fermentation and maximium lees contact. Often held for one year in wood, the wine is very subtly integrated with oak, demands attention to identify. The exposure to the spent lees provides a light yeasty quality, a viscosity and weight to the wine. It is a wine were less is more. Its purity and refined character compliments fine food and serious wine tasting. In our limited experience these wines have lasted, and pleasantly evolved over 10 years.

White Salmon Vineyard is grape focused. Our grapes grow into wines declaring their life experience.

They are the children of Peter Brehm’s 36 years of grape experiences. We raise grapes to wine like good children, having a mind of their own. We are listening, adjusting and hoping to share with you.

A little less poetically, we have planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Malbec, and this year will add White Riesling and Sauvignon Blanc. We have 36 years of buying and processing grapes, but there is no way to anticipate what will result from all your care and planning – like having children. We are adjusting the vineyard and our goals as the specific grapes mature and provide their wine. Our goal is to provide the finest expression of each varietal by matching it to our very diverse vineyard’s terriors. We will have approximately 20 acres of vineyard once completed. We hopeto survive as a small and personal vineyard.

Fish? River? Wine Region? Vineyard? Winery?

There is a White Salmon fish. They are a clone of King Salmon, the Chinook Pacific Salmons. It is common knowledge in the region around the White Salmon River, that the river’s unusually large Chinook were white in color. This clone evolved to match the swift descent, glacier run off of Mountain Adams to the Columbia River. From its 10,000 foot ice beginnings the river dives south incredibly clear and fast to its short termination at the Columbia River.

A visiting winemaker explained that her father was an avid salmon fisherman. Living in Anchorage they would fish the state’s best rivers. She felt her dad’s biggest thrill was catching a white, King salmon. He had caught only one in all his years of salmon fishing. He wanted her to find out if the name of our vineyard meant there were ‘white salmon’ in the river near by?

This serious search for the ‘white’ salmon surprised me. I admitted that the ‘white’ salmon as a fish was the local lore, but almost every morning I see a ribbon of fluffy white above where the river runs. A river of cloud and mist flows above the steep banks below our vineyard. I now believe there is a special clone of salmon and a cold river that runs below a morning white mist.

White Salmon Vineyard is located less than a mile north of the Columbia River, a half-mile south of the White Salmon River on the Eastern slope of Underwood Mountain. Sufficient rainfall and soil depth allows dry farming.

The White Salmon River marks the cool northwest region of the Columbia (river) Gorge AvA.

White Salmon Vineyard grows, ferments and bottles Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The Chardonnays exhibit more tropical fruit character than common in Northern Oregon, but more restrained and vibrant than those of the warmer regions to the east of the Cascades. Unique, classic in style are parameters to the wine we grow.

Selected clones of French Chardonnay were planted with clonal selections acquired by Peter Brehm over his 36 years of working with the West’s finest vineyards. And so is it in the Pinot Noir planting of White Salmon Vineyard. An mélange of clones dominated by #115, followed by #114, #777, Swan, and a couple more.
Bunches of White Salmon Chardonnay.
One of Washington’s1%’ers.
Far less than one percent of Washington’s wine comes from the Columbia River Gorge. A mountainous viticultural area that is famous for its cool maritime winds. Nestled on the East slope of the Cascade Mountain range, the west end of this recognized viticultural area centers around the White Salmon River.

Why White Salmon Vineyard Chardonnay?

Location, location, and knowledgeable grape growing & winemaking are the answer.

The critical component for growing the finest grapes is climate. The amount of heat, humidity, sunshine, and cold is the overriding consideration of what vines will grow where. Grapes have the ability to grow in many climates, but different grape varietals develop the finest aromatics, flavor and mouth feel within very precise climatic conditions. Europe has developed over the centuries an understanding of what particular grape varietal will do best in a given climate. The challenge of the new worlds has been to find and fit the right grape to the right piece of dirt, or region. This is an exploration that has been the quest of Peter Brehm, the founder of White Salmon
Pinot Noir covered by bird netting.

White Salmon Vineyard is located on the East slope of the Cascade Mountains in the unique climate of the Columbia River Gorge. The Western end of the Washington’s Columbia Gorge ava is centered on the White Salmon River. This region has sufficient rainfall and soil conditions to allow grapes to be grown without irrigation. The region is best suited for producing grapes found to grow best in Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, and Germany. This is mountainous country where it is cooler the higher you go and the further West you go.

The climate White Salmon Region of the Columbia Gorge AvA most closely resembles that of Oregon’s Northern Willamette Valley. It differs from Willamette by having a lower relative humidity, less rainfall (though sufficient for non irrigated growing), and a shorter growing season with short spikes of hot weather. This is NOT the growing climate of Washington’s high desert.

White Salmon Vineyard is located on the West side of the White Salmon River on a bench 550′ above the river. The cool climate, eastern slope, volc
White Salmon Chardonnay.
anic soil, mix of clones, row and plant spacing combine to provide a unique, ideal climate for world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.
White Salmon Vineyard is composed of 43 acres of Douglas fir, oak and vineyard. The 20 acres of vineyard encompass a wood lot of 20 acres. Underwood Mountain is the vineyard’s home. This volcanic mountain, with its series of slides, has left the 43 acres with very distinct soil types. Soil depths are deep, averaging in excess of 20 feet. The vineyard has been divided into five fields according to the varying soil conditions. Again, it is still location, location, and location, even within the vineyard.

The analogy of a person fitting a shoe to a foot is applicable. The shoe is the ground to be planted. Fitting a grape and rootstock to that soil, and fitting a particular grape variety to a particular trellis and spacing gives a new meaning to shopping. Only when the fit works does the varietal express itself fully, and the wine has the potential to reach a level of perfection.