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Goat Rocks Vineyard - PLANTING Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:21:41 PM   
ChrisinCowiche

 

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I've posted a few places on this forum about our little vineyard project, but today was "official" groundbreaking, beyond removing some trees a few weeks ago. Those trees, in the form a burn pile, are visible in some of the photos, but I thought I'd share some of what is happening today in Goat Rocks.

For those unfamiliar with the area, the Goat Rocks Wilderness is an area between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams in Central Washington State, known for mountain goats and rocks, hence the name. Geologically, this area was formed when a Volcano erupted about a million years ago, think Mt. St. Helens, which is also close by, on crack. When that Volcano erupted one of the lava flows came back east toward the current City of Yakima, Washington, and formed what is now known as the Naches Heights plateau. In 2011/2012, the Naches Heights AVA was established as a wine grape graping area, subdivided from the greater Columbia Valley, based primarily on its unique geology, andesite rocks/boulders, and overlying blown loess soils, known locally as Tieton Loam. Here is a refresher link via the excellent article written by Sean Sullivan when the AVA was designated.

http://www.wawinereport.com/2011/12/in-depth-look-at-new-naches-heights-ava.html

We've chosen to name our vineyard, and our winery, in honor of these ancient rocks, the Goat Rocks.

Without further ado, here are some photos from this morning. My buddy Jim is driving the bulldozer and though he is "retired" he is one of the best operators of heavy equipment in all of Yakima. I asked him if he was worried about tipping over, some of the side hill grade is at ~18 % and we talked about terracing, "No, piece of cake".




You can see my shadow in some of these as the eastern morning sun rose behind me. Sometimes that shadow is really a small black dog, our winery dog, Chiva.



I went up top to take some photos of what is going on up there, where another 2 acres awaits the next phase. Plenty of rocks still littering the landscape up there.




Finally, I went across the pasture to the other side, near our local high school, appropriately named Highland High, to get a shot of what our neighbors will see.



OOPS! Edit to make photos a bit bigger.

< Message edited by ChrisinSunnyside -- 4/21/2015 10:33:38 AM >


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:28:38 PM   
motoring

 

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Very Cool, I look forward to trying the wine 5 to six years...

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:35:18 PM   
Redrunners

 

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Congratulations - sounds like a good location.

Looking forward to hearing about the journey and trying the wine when it is ready.

Is this part of your future retirement plans?

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:38:20 PM   
Jack667

 

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Wow - that's great! Congrats!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:38:45 PM   
musedir

 

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Very excited for you and Barb! Party on Garth.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:43:10 PM   
rlp805

 

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Congrates, looks like there is a lot of hard work is in front of you!


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 1:50:33 PM   
recotte

 

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Congratulations, Chris! I always knew that when you started putting barrels in your living room, you were too far down this slippery slope to turn back. It was just a matter of time!

Keep the updates coming!


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 2:22:11 PM   
dsGris

 

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Now the fun (work) starts. That dozer is a bit bigger than my Kubota. I love to see those green hillsides in the desert.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 3:08:04 PM   
smigdiggler

 

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super cool!!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 3:19:05 PM   
kingkanu

 

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Exciting stuff, I'm looking forward to seeing this develop, congratulations !

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 3:19:39 PM   
mye

 

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This is awesome.. what exactly are you building there?
- building a winery? facilities? house/home?
- planting grapes? is that the vineyard?

looks awesome though!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 3:38:14 PM   
JerryL

 

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Fantastic! Good luck. Hopefully you will post regular updates.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 3:53:53 PM   
rwilk_2000

 

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Awesome Chris. I look forward to seeing it planted in the future!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:11:18 PM   
mtpisgah

 

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Congratulations Chris & Barb. All of the hard work will pay off. And then we can all say "we knew them when they were making wine in their living room".

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:23:15 PM   
GalvezGuy

 

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Way to go Chris. Best wishes to you and yours.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:31:10 PM   
ChrisinCowiche

 

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Thanks all!

Redrunners, yes, this is a pseudo-retirement plan.  Our plan is to have enough retirement income to live on from OTHER sources, SS, private retirements accounts, etc... , and to grow and make enough wine to support our drinking habit.  Share or sell any extra with those who'll take it.  So far we've served our wine at a bunch of weddings (we're out of daughters though, granddaughter is just 2) and shared with some folks on CT from wine made in my wife's family room.  She has told me that space is now permanently closed, so I'm expanding outdoors. Our business plan for the winery and vineyard is to 1) Have Fun!  2) Make good wine. 3) Break even financially after five years or so (not sure when that five years starts though). 4) Have Fun!

mye,  this is our home and the brown roofed building is where we live.   Our bedroom looks out over the first block of vineyard.  That helped me sell it to my wife.  Also on site is a "pole barn" structure that is about 1000 sq ft, but needs a lot of work to become a winery, but footprint exists. 

I'm also investigating putting a wine cave into the side of this hill.   With a heavy equipment company as a business partner,  digging giant holes is not a problem, affording the concrete tunnels might be... http://www.conteches.com/products/applications/storage-structures.aspx   I like the simpler designs, such as Afton Mountain or Harmony Hill Wineries.   Gilbert Cellars is just over the next hill south from us and they have a fantastic cave here in Yakima.  https://www.gilbertcellars.com/hackett-ranch/

Yes, we are planting a vineyard this spring.  This first block of vineyard will be about 1.25 acres, plantings will be Syrah, Pinot Noir, Mourvedre, Riesling, Gerwurztraminer, Viognier, Roussanne.  1650 plants in all currently on order from Inland Desert Nursery in Benton City and we'll probably add a half row of table grapes and maybe some more of the others once layout plays itself out in the actual ground.  Obviously not a whole lot of any single varietal, but largest number, 500, will be Syrah.   Next blocks, if they occur, will be based partly on success of this block.  And finances.

The water supply is a well that you can see the well house near the wind machine in some of the pictures.   Water rights exist to irrigate 10 acres.  We own 5.5 acres, about 3.5 of which is plantable, at least in my minds eye. 

Some adjoining land might be available for sale or lease, tasting room on the top of the knob (not currently my land) is the ultimate pipedream , and our female partners are planning an industrial kitchen and bistro.

But we're trying to stick to items 1) and 4) of the business plan without getting too far ahead of ourselves. 

And today seeing the bulldozer and smelling the dirt was a lot of Fun!  

< Message edited by ChrisinSunnyside -- 2/17/2015 4:40:46 PM >


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:43:04 PM   
mye

 

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Chris, this is in Yakima right?
we'll have to pop by next time we drive over!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:43:25 PM   
khmark7

 

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Jealous, as I see this in my future.

For now I must settle with the adventures of growing vines outside of Chicago.



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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:57:11 PM   
jrockman

 

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Chris, this is truly awesome, congrats! Will definitely need to make a visit soon - best wishes for a successful planting!

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 4:57:24 PM   
ChrisinCowiche

 

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quote:

ORIGINAL: mye

Chris, this is in Yakima right?
we'll have to pop by next time we drive over!

Yes, sorta, that metropolis you see in the near ground of the pictures is Cowiche, ~ 10 miles outside Yakima city limits.  It's kinda rural here I've been told.    The quickest way to get to us from Seattle is actually via Mt. Rainier National Park/Chinook Pass to Route 12, but I'm too scared of plummeting to my death to drive that way and Chinook Pass is usually closed Oct-May. Ask MindMuse about coming that way last summer.  

< Message edited by ChrisinSunnyside -- 2/17/2015 4:58:56 PM >


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:12:39 PM   
oskiwawa

 

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it really is neat to see. Thanks for posting. Some day I hope to have the chance to drive by and say, wow there is a CTer who really went for it.


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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:19:25 PM   
khmark7

 

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The drive from Seattle to Yakima is beautiful in the fall when the leaves are changing color.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:32:30 PM   
champagneinhand

 

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Very cool. It looks so much different than the local terroir from here, which is probably warped because it's February. [image] http://i1299.photobucket.com/albums/ag77/champagneinhand/Facebook/8FF8411A-1932-44B6-A7DB-D74A6A9ABDE4_zpscghiz44h.jpg [/image]

I think it looks very nice. The winery was a great start now the vineyard comes into play. I'm so glad to here that you are planting more Mouvedre. I would love more Bandols styled options from the USA or even Jumilla.

It much to cold here for most Reds and those that survive are usually hybrids. Some Cab Franc for ice wines and two vineyards currently grow Pinot Noir. That amount of vines will keep you busy for about 4-6 hours just getting them trained and growing properly for the area. Each locale has different ways to get the vines to grow. Looks like you haves very nice patch of land.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:37:11 PM   
kcbrian

 

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Chris
awesome pics! Looks like you will literally be living the wine makers dream. Look forward to seeing it in person some day.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:38:30 PM   
champagneinhand

 

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I could only post a link to the picture of the giant loafers stacking snow up in the parking lot at the local Wegmans. I am quite envious of your weather. Same with the lack of Japanese beetles. I would like to rent a 3 acres vineyard just a few miles away. It's a dry farmed vineyard and has not been tended to for a few years so almost everything would need to be ripped out. I would feel better if it had mire angle and a well.

You are living the dream. Please don't go the way of Olsen estates or Saint Laurent. I really enjoyed both places wine. Looking forward to seeing great fruit in 3-5 years.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:41:47 PM   
bennor

 

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Quite a project - I wish you great success and endless fun.

ben

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 5:58:20 PM   
S1

 

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What a great looking site Chris.
I look forward to lots of updates.

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 9:11:27 PM   
bretrooks

 

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Super-exciting, Chris! Lots of work ahead, but it's a whole different ballgame when it's work you love. Definitely keep us posted on he project as it unfolds...

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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 9:21:03 PM   
ericindc

 

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Looking forward to seeing all your updates. Good luck, hopefully that big dozer didn't cause to much compaction.



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RE: Goat Rocks Vineyard - It Begins! - 2/17/2015 9:32:25 PM   
cartey

 

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Congratulations, David.
I look forward to tasting your wine!!
What a nice dream come true moment.

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