South Hill owns vineyards located in the Columbia Gorge, across from Hood River, Oregon, near the top of Underwood Mountain.
The Underwood vineyards consist of 28 acres located on four blocks. They are planted to Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Gamay Noir and Pinot Noir.
At 1850 feet only earlier ripening varieties will mature properly. The deep volcanic loam composition of Underwood Mountain soils provides the grapes with depth and concentration of flavours not found on lighter soils. These soils also retain moisture and it allows us to grow the grapes without supplemental irrigation in most years. Being of volcanic origins the soils are deep but not extremely fertile. This unique situation of high elevation and a south exposure gives us warm days and cool nights retaining the acids in the grapes.
As in in our New Zealand vineyards, hillsides can be difficult to farm, but are unique. One side of a hill may work better for on variety or clone than another. Much of this is due to sunlight, wind and the amount of topsoil. These differances are so complex that the grapes are not the same in composition year to year…which can make it quite interesting.
We purchase all of our Riesling and Bordeaux varieties from Eastern Washington’s Yakima and Columbia Valley.
Vineyards such as Two Mountain in Zillah and Phelps Creek in Hood River also provide us with additional grapes.