Spring Valley Vineyard
Summary: Visitors are welcome to stop at the working ranch, vineyard and winery of Spring Valley Vineyard or at the tasting room in Walla Walla. The farm property has been in the family since 1865. The name Spring Valley is for the springs that run through the property. Riedel stemware is used for tastings.
This is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery that produces all estate-bottled wines. We learned about Spring Valley from the Great Great Granddaughter of Uriah Corkrum. Today, Kate is a 6th generation family member on the farm.
Uriah Corkrum began growing wheat in the early 1900’s and today the descendants are growing 900 acres of wheat. In 1993, the family began planting vineyards. In 2010, the vineyards cover 110 acres and include the red varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec.
For the first few years, the harvested grapes were sold to other wineries. In 1999, they began to make wine and today the winery produces 100 percent estate grown and bottled wines. The work in the vineyards and winery is done by hand. Currently the winery produces 6,000 cases and this number will increase as they harvest grapes from newer vineyard plantings.
On the ranch, wine tastings take place in a large farm building. A finished but rustic board on top of wine barrels provides the counter. At the time of our tasting, the five bottles of wine to be tasted were set on the counter top.
Spring Valley Vineyard produces six wines of which five were available at the time of our visit. The wines produced by Spring Valley can be aged. The wine labels are original and feature the family and its history. The Merlot Mule Skinner is named after Frederick Corkrum who was a “Mule Skinner.” A Mule Skinner is the person who cares for mules. In addition he drives the mules for farming operations. Today the Caterpillar tractors have taken the place of “Mule Skinners.” The back label gives the daily schedule of the hard work of a Mule Skinner beginning at 3:30AM. The labels include Muleskinner, Uriah, Derby, Frederick, Katherine and Nina Lee.
Spring Valley Red Wines
Merlot Mule Skinner 2007 offered black cherry notes with mild tannins on the crisp finish. Uriah 2007 was a dark purple. This was a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. The wine had black fruit nuances with a fruity finish and mild tannins. Frederick 2006 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. There were blackberry notes on the aroma and taste. The finish had tannins. Frederick 2007 was a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. The nuances were of black fruit especially blackberries. There were tannins on the fruity finish. Derby 2007, 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, offered an aroma with blackberries and spice notes. The finish was fruity with bold tannins.
While we tasted wines, Kate commented that she suggests that people should open a bottle of wine before they go to work. This will give the wine time to open up and be ready to enjoy in the evening.
Walking past acres of vineyards, Kate showed us the peaceful memorial area designed by her grandfather to remember all those family members who have passed. Willow trees provide shade; a small stream of running water provides a sense of peace. Just a few steps away the vineyards paint a background for this secrene wine country setting.
Enjoy a tasting of wines that can be aged at Spring Valley Vineyards. Tastings are by appointment at the working ranch and winery. Anyone who takes the time to drive about 12 miles out of Walla Walla will enjoy viewing the fields and hills filled with golden wheat. The 110 acres of vineyards make a striking contrast as travelers reach the farm. No appointment is needed at the tasting room in Walla Walla.
Spring Valley Vineyardat
Waitsburg, Washington 99361
GPS: N46º 10.344’ W118º 12.074’
Spring Valley Vineyard Tasting Room
18 N. 2nd Ave.
Walla Walla, Washington 99362
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