Vineyard Story Upland Vineyards is located wholly within the Snipes Mountain American Viticulture Area in the heart of the Yakima Valley. Farming wine grapes since 1968, four generations of Newhouse family farming have helped maintain the Upland legacy, which started over 90 years ago. Originally planted by William B. Bridgman in 1917, Snipes Mountain is widely considered the birth place of Washington Wine. Today that original vineyard is still bearing fruit and the vine’s longevity is a testament to the favorable weather conditions bestowed upon the mountain. With slopes facing in all four cardinal directions and an elevation that ranges from 750 to 1300 feet, Upland is able to grow a wide range of wine grapes in some of the oldest and most diverse soils in Washington. With over 35 varieties of vinifera, Upland Vineyard’s grapes find their way into bottles of wine from over 20 different wineries. A few of which are: Ste. Michelle, Hogue, Betz, Thurston-Wolfe, Brian Carter, DeLille, Vin du Lac, Maison Bleue, Smasne, Nefarious, Pomum, K, and Rotie. Varieties include: Aligote, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, Gewurtzraminer, Graciano, Grenache, Malbec, Melon, Merlot, Morio Muscat, Mouvedre, Mueller Thurgau, Muscat of Alexandria, Muscat Hamburg, Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Souzao, Syrah, Tempranillo, Tinta Madiera, Tinta Cao, Touriga Nacional, Viognier, Zinfandel, and others.
Snipes Mountain was named after cattle king Ben Snipes, who was the first to settle the Yakima Valley and who made his vast cattle business headquarters on the south side of Snipes Mountain in the 1850’s. He chose this site because it was the highest point around and from the top of Snipes Mountain he had a panoramic view of the Yakima Valley and his vast herds of cattle. He also couldn’t help but note that the mountain added a little more protection from the elements of Mother Nature that the rest of the valley didn’t seem to offer.
In 1917, W. B. Bridgman saw the same favorable elements on Snipes Mountain and planted European (vinifera) wine grapes, an extremely uncommon thing to plant back then. He farmed the Snipes Mountain site, as well as others throughout the valley until his death in 1968 at 90 years old, although by that time most of the day to day business was run by his nephew, Bill Barnard.
In 1972 Alfred Newhouse bought all of what used to be Upland Vineyards. Over the next 35 years he and his son, Steve Newhouse, would continue to expand their holdings on both Snipes Mountain and Harrison Hill. Today the Alfred Newhouse family farms cherries, apricots, nectarines, peaches, prunes, pears, apples, juice grapes, table grapes, and of course wine grapes. Altogether they make up over 1300 acres of what today is once again called Upland Vineyards, of which over 700 acres are wine grapes grown in some of the most unique soils in the world. Because of these unique growing conditions, Snipes Mountain was awarded its own American Viticulture Area in early 2009, becoming the 10th AVA in Washington State. And as a testament to the quality of the grapes grown at Upland Vineyards, owner Steve Newhouse was awarded the 2008 Grower of the Year by the Washington State Association of Wine Grape Growers.
Vineyard Profile: Upland Vineyards, Snipes Mtn. AVA
Growers: Newhouse Family
Size: 800 acres
Location: Center of the Yakima Valley AVA within the Snipes Mtn. AVA
Soil Composition: Ancient river gravels, sandy loam and basalt.
Heat Summation Units: 2800-3600
Growing Season: Long frost free growing season.
Elevation: 750 feet to 1200 feet.
Slope: North, south and southwest slopes, north
Vine Spacing: 6×9, 5×8, 4×8
Row Directions: NW and SW; NE
Training System: Bilateral cordon w/V.S.P.
Pruning Program: Hand prune to winery specifications