Wine Grower Partners
Our wines start in the vineyards, specific sites in the Columbia Valley. We use four criteria in selecting the vineyards we source our fruit from: a great vineyard site, managed by a smart winegrower, who has a high work ethic, and someone who allows us to designate our specific rows and farm them in cooperation with them. Consequently all the grapes that we harvest come from specific vines in designated rows of selected vineyards. The vineyards we use are managed by winegrowers, not grape growers: they see the fruit they grow for us not as an end product itself but as a transition stage from the earth to the bottle. This attitude affects the way they care for the land, tend their vines, and meet our needs.
We source our grapes from some of the top vineyards in Washington State: sites that are equal parts ideal location, intelligent care and hard work. All our grapes come from Washington's Columbia Valley Appellation and smaller appellations within it: The Yakima Valley, the Horse Heaven Hills and Red Mountain.
WA State AVA's
|Washington State is a world premium wine producing region located in the northwest corner of the United States in the dry semi-desert conditions of eastern Washington. Although a relatively young wine industry, it is the nation's second largest wine producer and is ranked among the world's top wine regions. Washington wines are found nationally in all 50 states and internationally in more than 40 countries.
With 40,000 acres planted, and 8 distinct AVAs, the state has ideal conditions for growing classic vinifera wine grapes. Primarily grown on their own root stocks, which support healthier plants, vines produce grapes of consistent quality, resulting in strong vintages year after year. The region produces a wide range of spectacular red and white wines.
Overall, Washington receives a higher percentage of scores over 90 from principal wine publications than other leading wine regions and many of our ultra high end wines receive scores of 95 or more.
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Alder Ridge Vineyard
Manager: Brian Wineman
Assistant Manager: Luke Ransom
We pull some of our favorite fruit from this vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills. At nearly 1000 acres, it has to be one of the state's largest, and given its topography, most diverse vineyards. It's a grand site: its highest point is just over 1000 feet offering a stunning view along the Columbia River looking south into Oregon.
Despite the size of this vineyard, John Farmer and his team have carved out small plots for hand tended vines for small wineries like us. They care for these grapes with the precision and dedication of even the smallest growers and bring us Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot that are wonderfully rich and dense yet graceful.
While the heat accumulation is similar to Red Mountain, the nearby massive Columbia River moderates extremes in both winter and summer. During the growing season the river helps keep the vineyard cooler and extends the ripening period.
We have an acre of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot dedicated to our winemaking. Cabernet Sauvignon from Alder Ridge brings intensity and length to our blends, while the Merlot carries classic varietal markers of black cherry, mocha and orange peel. The fruit has wonderfully ripe tannins, great concentration and verve. A good portion of this fruit goes into out Cabernet Sauvignon Père de Famille to increase suppleness while not taking away from its definitive Cabernet notes. In 2002 we added Malbec to our mix of grapes coming from this site. It has become an essential contributor to our Bordeaux blends, bringing a blackberry juiciness and depth.
We're particularly excited about the Grenache that is dedicated to Betz Family. Our rows lie in a "bowl" right on the river, a perfect site for this variety that loves heat and long hang time. It is the foundation of our Bésoleil, with a huge dose of sappy strawberry, raspberry.
In memory of John Farmer, former Alder Ridge Vineyard manager
Ciel du Cheval
Owner: Jim Holmes; Manager: Ryan Johnson
Jim Holmes, a pioneer in Washington winegrowing, has been tending grapes on Red Mountain since the 1970's, and continues to turn out some of the State's best fruit.
Situated at the base of Red Mountain, the vineyard receives the same heat and nighttime wind that you'll find at nearby vineyards. One main difference in the vineyard is the canopy of some of the more recent plantings (1994-on): vines are trained on a fan system while most of the others are planted on a bi-lateral cordon. While this system creates a larger canopy, it shields the grapes from the intense Red Mountain heat, allowing sugar maturity and physiological maturity to develop synergistically. His site also retains balanced acidity in the grapes.
This fruit gives wonderful density and complexity to our wines, and we enjoy a range of fruit from this site: two acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, one acre of Merlot, and lesser amounts of Cabernet Franc, Mourvedre, Syrah and Petite Verdot are destined for Betz Family Winery. The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot are typically black, with ripe tannins that offer a silky palate feel. Plenty of complexity to go along with the mouthfeel as well: black cherry, currant, black olive, cedar and pencil lead notes. The Ciel du Cheval Cabernet Sauvignon is the base to our Père de Famille
, and these grapes bring power to our Clos de Betz
. The Mourvedre, a Southern Rhone variety, is particularly exciting and makes its debut in our 2004 Besoleil.
With the 2003 harvest we added Petite Verdot and Syrah to the varieties we get from Ciel du Cheval.
Owners: David and Patricia Gelles
Acclaimed as one of the world's outstanding vineyards by Wine & Spirits Magazine
, a few specific rows of Cabernet Sauvignon in both the new and old blocks at Klipsun Vineyard are have been designated for Betz Family since 1997. Planted to mostly bi-lateral cordon, the vines have a tight canopy with a focus on keeping the foliage to a minimum, especially on the morning side of the vine. Klipsun Vineyard is a naturally warm site with, this gives great sun exposure to both the vines and clusters, providing consistent ripening and keeping disease threat low. The Cabernet Sauvignon contributes tannin, structure and backbone to our wines. On the nose we find the black fruits and deep cherry that Red Mountain is known for. This is wonderful fruit, loaded with intensity and power.
Scott Williams' Vineyard
Owner/ Manager: Scott Williams
We contract Syrah grapes from Scott Williams of Kiona Winery, one of the highest altitude sites on Red Mountain. Because of its altitude and heat accumulation, the grapes here always ripen deeply, providing us with the material to craft a hedonistic Syrah with a high 'yum' factor. It forms the foundation of our Syrah La Côte Rousse
. Although the harvest can come early compared to other sites, we get the slight shrivel which gives Syrah its varietal markers of smoke, licorice and sheer concentration. We find an inviting tobacco note at the beginning, followed by spicy black pepper, and a round and lush finish. This site delivers wines that are plush and can stand-alone: they require minimal work in the cellar and at the blending table.
With the 2005 harvest we'll add some of Kiona's acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon to our mix. Scott and his family have grown the variety for some of the best wines made in Washington.
In 2009 the Snipes Mountain AVA became Washington State’s 10th official viticultural area, named after its most prominent landmark, but also including eastern neighbor Harrison Hill.
Snipes Mountain is the second smallest AVA in Washington, bigger only than Red Mountain, and home to six wineries. Its vineyards grow more than 30 different wine grape varieties and the fruit is used in more than 25 wineries.
While the Snipes Mountain AVA lies entirely within the boundaries of the Yakima Valley AVA its uniqueness comes from an elevated topography and unique soils not found elsewhere in the Yakima Valley AVA.
Owner/Manager: Dick Boushey
Located on the outskirts of Grandview, this mid-valley, cooler site is a great asset to our portfolio of vineyards. And it's managed by one of the most affable, dedicated growers in the state. Dick Boushey is driven to take his fruit to the highest levels in Washington, and he's succeeding. You'll often find his grapes in the highest acclaimed wines from the appellation.
And we love Dick's Syrahs! Our La Serenne
has been one of the most consistently awarded and acclaimed wine we make, and it is 100% from Dick's vineyard. We have rows designated to our Syrah in a spot where the soils thin out and don't produce a large crop. The grapes are small, thick skinned and loaded with flavor.
Red Willow Vineyard
Owner/Manager: Mike Sauer
One of the oldest and most respected in the state. Red Willow Vineyard reflects the learning and experience of Mike Sauer's decades in the Yakima Valley.
Made famous by a series of stunning wines made from the Red Willow by David Lake MW, winemaker at Columbia Winery, it is the farthest west and highest altitude vineyard in the Yakima Valley. Due to it's higher elevation, 1200-1300 feet, the area was above the water level of the last Ice Age floods so the soils are more ancient and weaker than many younger soils in the Columbia Valley. Vines struggle here, but they are tended by one of the most dedicated farming families in Washington. We have designated specific rows of Cabernet Sauvignon (1973 and 1990 plantings), Syrah (1986 planting, the oldest in Washington), and Merlot to Betz Family.
In the end, all these growers are our friends and partners. We are indebted to them for helping us bring pleasure to your table.
Owner/Manager: Hugh Shiels
The DuBrul Vineyard is a steep, rocky, south-‐facing hillside in Washington’s Yakima Valley. Hugh and Kathy Shiels planted the vineyard in 1992, have 45 acres under vine, grow six varietals, some in differing soils. We also have 21 acres set aside for a large green belt and tractor roads. We dug a pond in the drought year 2005, which is stocked with bass, bluegill and catfish. We have WHIP (Wildlife Habitat Improvement Program) acreage, and have planted shrubs for IPM (Integrated Pest Management) beneficials. We farm sustainably: the next generation is transitioned into ownership already.
In the geologic context, the ancient Columbia River once flowed over our area. Spring floods carried granitic rocks from Canadian tributaries, mixed with igneous rocks from the Ellensburg formation, to our site. Over eons, tectonic up-‐thrusts occurred, creating the Rattlesnake Hills to the north, the Horse Heavens to the south, and diverting the Columbia to its current S-‐shaped course back eastward to the Wallula Gap.
These up-‐thrusts isolated our basalt promontory, so that in time wind-‐blown loess and volcanic ash mixed with the flood-‐borne rocks to create low vigor soils. The southeast triangle is alluvial soil covering layers of coarse-‐grained pyroclastic rocks.