“Live the Good Life” Martin Ray would say. As he and Paul Masson before him.….I am inspired by the solitude and beauty of a mountain vineyard and winery.
South Hill specializes in Cool Climate Wines.
South Hill was founded in 2006 when we were looking to make wines in the Northern Hemisphere. We were motivated to find a place where we could grow cool climate grapes in a climate similar to New Zealand. We also wanted to be close to vineyards that grew Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec, etc….varieties that are not well suited to cool climate areas. The Columbia Gorge viticultural area provided that opportunity.
Underwood Mountain located at 1850 foot altitude and above the Columbia River is definitely cool climate…perfect for earlier ripening varieties. Access to the stunning vineyard sites in eastern Washington allows us to purchase Bordeaux varieties and make those wines as well. Perfect….cool climate and access to warm climate reds.
So here we started again, growing Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir, just as we do in New Zealand but 8000 miles away. Spencer is the Head Winemaker and lives in Hood River. He is at the Underwood Winery year round. Phil and Sheryl are based here from March through November and our New Zealand crew makes a few trips a year to assist in the wine making. As we are all trained viticulturalist’s and winemakers.…the experience is humbling. Making the best wines we can is the ultimate goal and already starting to show itself in the reviews and awards we are seeing from our wines. We are also developing a reputation for the grapes we sell to other wineries.
Growing grapes high up on Underwood has been challenging and making South Hill wines has been exciting. We had to re-learn many things as Underwood’s climate is unique. We are also the Northwest’s only winery making Kosher Wines under the Pacifica label. It has opened up the wonderful world of Oregon and Washington wines to the kosher world. As time passes we are introducing new wines such as our stunning Rose and Riesling… already winning gold medals. The Columbia Gorge is a great place to work and play and we look forward to many more years ahead.
Philip and Sheryl Jones