It should have been obvious from an early age, though I cannot remember anyone referring to his disposition in life in such terms. As a boy and young man I fled the apparent tierney of the house, classroom and confining work place to the ‘woods’. A sense of freedom, exploration and discovery was encountered in the brooks, ponds, fields, and Long Island Sound. The thrill of dropping a worm entangled hook into a sunfish’s nest and watching the diligent parent take it into its mouth, led to a dry fly, softly placed above a rising brown trout. Exploring shark fishing in the Dominican Republic to scavenging the mountains of the Columbia Gorge for truffles and mushrooms has been an undirected force in my life.
I am a forager. A passionate forager that believes NO grape is too good for the home winemaker. I am a forager proud to have helped form the Columbia Gorge AVA. I am a forager who was lucky to begin winemaking, and vineyard exploration in Napa and Sonoma in 1970. The vines in Europe, Chile, most of North America, and some of Australia and New Zealand have been subject to my explorations.
White Salmon Vineyards
Located in Underwood, WA at an elevation of 550 feet. White Salmon Vineyard is located less than a mile north of the Columbia River, a half-mile south of the White Salmon River on the Eastern slope of Underwood Mountain. Sufficient rainfall and soil depth allows dry farming.
Four distinct soils have been planted and trellised to create the best grapes for their particular wine. The vineyard was conceived and is cultivated to produce fine wine.
Our Pinot Noir is a combination of Dijon clones with 115 as the most planted. The Pinot Noir field is a light sandy loam filled with small to large volcanic rocks. Vines are planted 1.33 meters apart and 2 meters across the row. They are trained on a VSP system. Vines have been hedged and leaves pulled from the east side.
Our Chardonnay is planted on Dijon clones and wood from Celilo Vineyard – a McAndrew selection that has matured early and produced ultra premium Chardonnay from Underwood Mountain. The Chardonnay field is not as light or rocky as the Pinot Noir field. While still a sandy loam, there is some clay mixed in. This clay supports a bigger vine. The vines are planted 1.5 meters apart and are 2.5 meters across the row. A trellis to support a Scott Henry system is in place. Less than half of the vines fill the trellis, while most are on a VSP with one fruiting zone.
White Salmon Vineyard is grape focused. Our grapes grow into wines declaring their life experience. They are the children of Peter Brehm’s 36 years of grape experiences. We raise grapes to wine like good children, having a mind of their own. We are listening, adjusting and hoping to share with you.
We have 36 years of buying and processing grapes, but there is no way to anticipate what will result from all your care and planning – like having children. We are adjusting the vineyard and our goals as the specific grapes mature and provide their wine. Our goal is to provide the finest expression of each varietal by matching it to our very diverse vineyard’s terriors. We will have approximately 20 acres of vineyard once completed. We hope to survive as a small and personal vineyard.
White Salmon Vineyard grows, ferments and bottles Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Syrah. The Chardonnays exhibit more tropical fruit character than common in Northern Oregon, but more restrained and vibrant than those of the warmer regions to the east of the Cascades. Unique, classic in style are parameters to the wine we grow.
Selected clones of French Chardonnay were planted with clonal selections acquired by Peter Brehm over his 36 years of working with the West’s finest vineyards. And so is it in the Pinot Noir planting of White Salmon Vineyard. An mélange of clones dominated by #115, followed by #114, #777, Swan, and a couple more.