The vineyards we work with are vital to the quality of Lady Hill wines. Each site has been rigorously selected for both its special characteristics, and the expertise and dedication of the vineyard owner/manager. We collaborate closely with each grower so that we can together make the best vineyard management decisions to obtain grapes that uniquely express the terroir of each site. Throughout the growing season we walk the vineyards with our growers to determine the best vineyard strategy for each vintage’s conditions.
By partnering in this way with our maestro growers, we achieve grapes that are optimally ripe—the picking point where acid, sugar, tannins, and varietal purity are in ideal balance. Only through such diligence and commitment can we express in our wines the true character of these great Northwest vineyards.
Red Willow Vineyard
Yakima Valley, WA
It was thanks to the vision of Mike and Karen Sauer (the land has been farmed by Karen’s family since the 1920s) that Red Willow was planted with wine grapes beginning in 1973.
Red Willow’s vines are planted between 1,200- and
1,300-ft. elevation, well above the level of the Missoula Floods. They are planted on much poorer and more ancient soils than the majority of Washington’s vineyards, which helps account for the distinctive character of Red Willow’s fruit.
With the early help of Washington wine legends Dr. Walter Clore and David Lake, MW, Mike began experimenting with the growing of different grape varieties. In the 1970s Mike and Dr. Clore, the acknowledged “Father of Washington Wine,” planted over 20 different grape varieties in a test block to start evaluating which ones grew best in this arid region. In later years, Mike and David Lake introduced a series of important vinifera varieties that have become integral to Washington’s wine success.
For over 40 years Mike Sauer has tended Red Willow’s vines, and it was through his forward viticultural thinking that many well-known vinifera grape varieties were first planted in the Northwest—including the Syrah, Barbera, Sangiovese, Malbec, Mourvèdre and Cabernet Franc grapes that Lady Hill receives from Red Willow, as well as Nebbiolo, Tempranillo, and Viognier. We are extremely proud of our relationship with the Sauer family and Red Willow Vineyards!
Freedom Hill Vineyard
Willamette Valley, OR
Freedom Hill Pinot Noirs are perennial favorites among national wine critics, and the vineyard has long been considered one of the top Pinot Noir sites in the New World.
Dan and Helen Dusschee planted Freedom Hill Vineyard in 1980, and today the 106 acres on sedimentary soils are predominantly planted to Pinot Noir. Located at the western edge of the Willamette Valley AVA, in the foothills of the Coast Range mountains, Freedom Hill benefits during the day from warm air rising from the valley and in the evenings from cool air flowing in from the coast. This helps give the grapes notable structure and a distinctive earthy character.
Lady Hill Winery sources Pinot Noir from Freedom Hill because of the distinctive, definitive, Willamette Valley character that this classic vineyard produces.
Slide Mountain Vineyard
Yakima Valley AVA, WA
Bruce Morford has been in agriculture all his life. Beginning in 2000 he became a specialist in wine grapes, planting 16.5 acres of red vinifera grapes at his Slide Mountain Vineyard in the extreme western edge of the Yakima Valley AVA.
A distinctive site, Slide Mountain Vineyard is a north-facing slope composed of basalt rock mixed with clay loam at between 1,300- and 1,500-ft. elevation, well above the Missoula Flood plain where most area vineyards are located. Because of its location at the eastern foothills of the Cascade Range mountains, Slide Mountain Vineyard benefits from good air circulation. During the summer, air movement helps reduce temperature extremes, and during the winter it protects vines against severe cold.
Bruce meticulously tends his vines, with extensive use of hand labor to keep the ratio of leaves (which gather solar energy) in balance with the grape bunches (which require the energy). Such attention to detail, plus the exceptionally clear air at the site’s higher elevation, means the vines consistently produce intensely-flavored fruit. This, plus the influence of the clay soils, gives the wines produced from Slide Mountain distinctive concentration, intense coloration, and noticeable minerality.
Lady Hill is pleased to obtain Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, and Merlot from Slide Mountain, and we are especially excited to work with this vineyard’s Cabernet Franc. The fruit Bruce Morford grows has achieved multiple 90-plus scores from national wine critics, and we are privileged to partner with Bruce for Lady Hill wines.
Red Mountain AVA, WA
Tapteil vineyard was planted in 1985 on the southwest side of Red Mountain, the smallest AVA in Washington and the most prestigious appellation for big, bold red wines. The 25-acre vineyard is planted on silty loam soils to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Careful management and an ideal growing site produce fruit of intense, yet balanced character. A prime vineyard in a choice growing area.