Preston Premium Wines, Washington State's premier family owned and operated winery, located in the fertile irrigated farmlands of Washington State's Southern Columbia Basin, is one of the most promising winegrowing endeavors of the world. Eastern Washington, climatically similar to Northern Europe, is fast gaining recognition as a major production area for wine grapes of exceptional varietal character and balance. Bill and Joann Preston were among the enthusiastic pioneers who early on recognized the potential of Vintis vinifera in this unexploited area. The Preston family established their 50-acre vineyard in 1972-73, planting several varieties of native European grapevines at their Pasco site (heat summation Region II). This was increased to 171 acres in 1979. The facility is now run by their son and daughter Brent Preston and Cathy Preston-Mouncer.
The Preston family, in fulfillment of a long-time goal, broke ground for their winery building in the spring of 1976. The first crush, approximately 190 tons, got underway in late September of that same year. The white wines were allowed limited skin contact and then cold fermented in jacketed stainless steel tanks to maximize fruitiness and varietal character. The red wines were fermented in open stainless steel tanks and allowed to "dry out" on the skins to maximize color and flavor extraction. Controlled fermentation with pure yeast strains is an important element of Preston's winemaking style. Barrel aging in Limousin, Alliers and Nevers (French) oak, adds a desirable degree of fullness and complexity to Preston's dry wines, while the semi-dry wines are aged and finished in stainless steel cooperage. Careful grape culture with a critical eye on crop levels and control of pests and diseases brings truly outstanding fruit in the Columbia Basin. Preston Wines have been rated among the finest in the world.
Learn More About Cabernet Sauvignon
(cab-uhr-NAY sow-veeh-yawn) King of Red Many refer to Cabernet Sauvignon as the king of red grapes. Perhaps that title is due to its ability to grow worldwide in a number of climates, or to the fact that it produces wine with such character yet such diversity. Either way, this grape is responsible, as a whole or a partner, for some of the greatest wines in the world. In Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon is the principle grape of the Medoc. It plays a supporting role in the blends of the right bank in regions such as St-Emillion and Pomerol. It also found a very successful home in California - particularly the Napa Valley - where it crafts the classic and cult wines of the region. However, Cabernet is a hearty grape, and has taken well to many regions: South America, Australia, South Africa, Washington State and Italy's Tuscan coast.
Notable Facts The Cabernet Sauvignon grape is a small berry with a thick skin and a high pip to pulp ratio. This in turn creates a wine high in color, tannin and extract. Typical Cabernet Sauvignon descriptors include blackberry, cassis, cedar and currant. Because the grape adapts to many different soils and climates, its characteristics truly reflect a sense of place. In Bordeaux you'll find the more earthy, tannic side of Cabernet, where it's typically blended to soften tannins and add complexity. In warmer regions like California and Australia, you'll frequently find ripe fruit flavors upfront. Cabernet Sauvignon crafts wines as a single varietal and as a blending partner, where it can add structure and tannins.
Summing it up Successful Sites: Just about everywhere, particularly Bordeaux and California
Common Descriptors: blackberry, black chery, black currant, cassis, herbs, cedar, tobacco, earth
Learn More About Columbia Valley, Washington
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Merlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.