The Yakima sunshine did not disappoint on this inaugural wine club retreat to the historic Red Willow Vineyard. To celebrate the June Wine Club release of Red Willow Vineyard wines like Chapel Block Syrah, 1973 Block Cabernet Sauvignon and the Red Willow Vineyard blend, a ride straight to the source was a one-of-a-kind experience.
A crew of our loyal customers hopped on board a luxury touring van, provided by Eric Miller of Wineries Express, for a short and scenic ride to the western side of the Yakima Valley. Along the way, we enjoyed views of the local farming community with bountiful summer crops of apples, pears, hops and wheat. The diversity of orchards and farmland really helped to set the scene, before embarking on the nearly 100-year old farm, still family operated and owned by the Sauer family- now into the 4th generation. Of course, what is a winery tour without a little splash of wine? It was our pleasure to share a barrel sample of our 2016 Red Willow Blaufränkisch, which will add brightness and structure to our popular Abbot's Table blend later this year.
Immediately, we set our eyes on the iconic chapel at the peak of the vineyard. Situated perfectly on top of the Syrah Block at 1250 feet, (aptly named Chapel Block), this is a landmark to the community and to the Sauer family for years of hard work and dedication to the land. We all hoped that the Red Willow Wagon would eventually take us closer to the chapel, but first, we were personally guided through the vineyard by Mike and Jonathan Sauer, learning about the ancient soils, variety of volcanic and glacial stones, planted varietals and the winemakers with whom they collaborate.
The tour was followed by a casual boxed lunch picnic, catered by Essencia Bakery. We found that the perfect pairing after our final stop up at the Chapel for photos and to stretch our legs, was what else...the 2015 Chapel Block Syrah!
We had such a lovely time and we hope to make this a regular outing. It was a memorable afternoon at Red Willow Vineyard and we hope to return with our friends very soon!