The Upland Vineyard is an old treasure in a very young wine region. In 1913, William B. Bridgman began planting grapes on Snipes Mountain, a 1,300’ upthrust in the middle of the Columbia Valley that was named for Ben Snipes, a cattle rancher who lived there in the 1850s. The first vines Bridgman planted were table grapes, but three years later in 1917, Bridgman planted European wine grapes, including Zinfandel, Semillon, Muscat of Alexandria, Sauvignon Blanc and Carignan, in what is now Upland Vineyard. In 1972, the Newhouse family purchased the sprawling 1000+ acre vineyard and have continued Bridgeman’s dream of creating a world-class vineyard.
In early 2017, we were in search of a special vineyard to continue our Chenin Blanc program. At that time, we we were lucky enough to be introduced to fourth-generation farmer Todd Newhouse. We walked the rows of giant Chenin vines planted in 1979 and were immediately smitten not only with the vines but also the diversity of soils in the vineyard. This variance was caused by a massive tectonic shift that brought the valley floor to the top of the ridgeline, creating a honeycomb of basalt and cobblestones amidst the ubiquitous loess topsoil that covers the Columbia Valley.