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Phelps Creek Vineyards
by K. L. Sullivan

Summary: At Phelps Creek Vineyards, the farmers first work hard on the vineyard side then there is minimal handling in the winery. The goal is to “make wine with a lot of personality.” Visitors to the tasting room will experience a down-to-earth educational experience.

Phelps Creek VineyardsPhelps Creek Vineyards, established in 1989, began with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. In the beginning, these grapes were sold to area wineries. Today the winery has 25 acres of grapevines and produces 4700 cases of wine. Eighty percent of the wine is sold out of the tasting room.

The tasting room is not located directly on the vineyard but is nearby adjacent to a golf course restaurant. The vineyards are not far away but it is interesting that during harvest Heather Staten, General Manager, will go to the vineyards and bring back a few clusters of grapes so that visitors can taste a grape varietal and then the wine produced from that grape. This is a definite plus for the winery visitors. We wish more wineries would consider doing this. A winery cat greeted us as we looked over the vineyards and landscape.

Mt. Hood from Phelps Creek VieyardsThe tasting room has light yellow walls with a light pine floor and golden pine wood countertop. Walls are decorated with pictures. A wall of windows overlooks the golf course. Wine accessories are available.

Although the tasting room is not located at the vineyards, two times a year a food and wine event takes place in the vineyards. Take advantage of this opportunity to see the vineyards with fantastic view of snowcapped Mount Hood.

Rain along the Columbia Gorge varies tremendously. According to Heather, in this area of Oregon “for every mile you go east, you lose an inch of rain.”

Phelps Creek Vineyards wineWhen visiting Phelps Creek, be sure to ask about the label on the Hellfire white blend wine and Brimstone red blend. A picture of Bill Sunday is on the label. Heather related the story to us and it is also on the back of the wine bottles. In the early 1900’s, Billy Sunday turned from professional baseball to minister. Reverend Sunday preached against the evils of alcohol and promoted prohibition. Eventually he retired to the peaceful Hood River Valley in Oregon, today one of the great grape growing regions.

Phelps Creek Vineyards wineWe tasted several wines including the ‘Fleur de Roy’ Rosé of Pinot Noir 2007. It had a strawberry nose and taste with a crisp finish. It was light and refreshing with a long strawberry finish. Reserve Chardonnay 2006 had a slight fruit nose with a fruit taste and bit of oak. Judith’s Reserve Pinot Noir offered red berries on the nose and taste with a burst of fruit on the aftertaste. Judith is the artist who painted the picture on the label. Brimstone, a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah offered a cherry nose and taste with a crisp finish, soft tannins and a little spice at the end.

Whether you enjoy golf or not, Phelps Creek Vineyards is definitely a winery you will want to visit. Be sure to look at the Brimstone and Hellfire wine labels. If you choose to attend one of the events in the vineyard, be sure to take your camera for a great photo opportunity.

Phelps Creek Vineyards
1850 Country Club Road
Hood River, OR  97031

GPS N 45°66.901 W 121°58.822

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