The Monson family believes that great wines start in the vineyard.
Situated in the heart of Washington State’s Columbia Valley, Goose Ridge estate vineyard is located in Benton City adjacent to Red Mountain. With the Cascade Mountains acting as a giant rain shield to protect Eastern Washington vineyards from Western Washington’s marine climate, the Columbia Valley is arid and dry. Annual rainfall averages 6-8 inches, typically falling during the winter months, allowing Goose Ridge Estate to use judicious irrigation during the growing season to moderate plant vigor and enhance grape flavors. In the summer, the vines enjoy long, sun-filled days. Daytime temperatures hover in the mid-80’s. Warm fall days are offset by cool nights, allowing grapes to retain natural acidity while ripening slowly and evenly.
But even the best region won’t yield world-class grapes if the vineyard site conditions aren’t right. Prior to acquiring the property that is now goose Ridge Estate Vineyard, the Monsons consulted with the late Dr. Walter Clore to determine the suitability of the site to premium grape growing. Dr. Clore is known as the “Father of Washington Wine” for his pioneering work in Washington viticulture. He liked what he found; a warm location well-suited to ripening grapes with diverse soil and aspects to create wines of depth and complexity. Dr. Clore assisted the Monsons in matching different grape varietys to lots of the vineyard.
The 2,200 acre vineyard is on a gently sloped site adjacent to Red Mountain and receives less than 8 inches of rainfall annually. All vines are planted on original rootstock in small lots on south facing slopes for maximum sun.
South to North row orientation, drip irrigation, managed crop loads, and canopy adjustments, combined with the ideal growing conditions consistently yield fruit of exceptional character and complexity. At Goose Ridge Estate, the Monsons farm their wines for low yields, typically 2.5 – 3 tons per acre. A dedicated vineyard crew works in cooperation with the winemaker to ensure select blocks are shoot, leave and cluster-thinned throughout the growing season for ideal ripeness and flavor at harvest.
“This vineyard has lots of variation with many unique pieces,” says winemaker Andrew Wilson. “Its premier area is Goose Mountain where we’ve planted many small blocks.” Andrew notes that all the estate fruit shows a “Goose Ridge fingerprint, a bright, clean fruit character.”
"Vineyard practices that come from farming with an eye to the future...
ever mindful of the generation to come."
Goose Ridge is committed to producing consistent, high quality, memorable wines through sound viticulture practices, site selection with low yield vineyards and artisan winemaking. As a part of sustainable farming, and to control vine damaging rodents and insects, the Monsons encourage burrowing owls, songbirds, bats and other wildlife by providiing nesting houses and promiting a protecting natural habitats and corridors.
Cover crops of wheat and barley are planted in alternate years with natural vegetation to further promote a lively habitat for the good, natural predators that prey on vine-blighting insects, reducing or eliminating the need for pesticides. These groundcovers further control erosion, choke back weeds and enrich the soils with important nutrients at the end of ther lifecycle.
Vines are irrigated by drip method, providing effective water conservation and management, controling erosion of soil, and assisting in weed prevention. Sustainable farming practices also include using compost to reduce fertilizers and improve soils, an irrigation system designed to conserve precious water and grapes hand-harvested in gondolas or totes to not only ensure gentle treatment of the fruit but also to reduce energy consumption.