Goose Ridge Vineyard
Since opening in 1999, Richland-based Goose Ridge Estate Vineyard and Winery has quietly and steadily become a major player in the state’s wine industry. Twenty-two hundred vineyard acres, four statewide tasting rooms, and four distinct labels—with a combined annual production of nearly 75,000 cases—easily place Goose Ridge among Washington’s top-tier wineries.
IT STARTS WITH FAMILY
Goose Ridge is owned and operated by the Monson family, who over the past several decades, have gradually turned the focus of their 3,000 acres of farmland from cattle and orchards to wine grapes.
The winery was established in 1999 and has since expanded its production to a beautiful facility in the midst of the estate vineyards located just west of the Tri-Cities.
Winemaker Andrew Wilson came on board in the summer of 2014, a Florida transplant who moved to the Walla Walla area in 2003. While there, he studied at the Center for Enology and Viticulture on the campus of Walla Walla Community College and also earned valuable experience working at Forgeron Cellars and Long Shadows Vintners.
Wilson is quick to point out the advantages of having such easy access to his vineyard sources at Goose Ridge. “We work with all estate fruits, so it’s a real treat to work at a winery where you’re right in the middle of everything. And the Monsons allow you to continue to develop new (winemaking) programs and try new things,” which, he says, makes his work all the more enjoyable.
Richland Manager Kristine Bono, agrees. “The Monsons are a ‘farming first’ family and they always work to elevate the vineyard, but they also give us the opportunity and the space to be productive…to take new ideas and run with them.”
GREAT WINEMAKING, GREAT VARIETY…AT EVERY LEVEL
Wilson’s winemaking philosophies are simple: “Since I’m working with 100 percent estate fruit, it’s important that my winemaking doesn’t get in the way of the expression of the vineyard. My long-term goal is to refine my (skills) so that when someone opens a bottle of Goose Ridge wine (they taste) the clean, varietal expression, but it also has that ‘Goose Ridge fingerprint’ on it.”
He cites the winery’s Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon as good examples of estate-grown grapes “that really have a unique character to them. The Chardonnay has a clean, citrus-tangerine fruit character, but behind that is a streak of minerality that lifts the fruit up. The Cabernet has a nice balance of herbaceousness and black olive with dark cherry and fine-grain tannins.” Not surprisingly, these are Goose Ridge’s most-planted varietals.
In addition to the Chardonnay, Bono lists the winery’s GRV blend (short for Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier) as one of her current favorites. “Andrew does such a great job with our Rhone varietals,” she says, noting that the winery is one of just a handful in Washington that regularly produces the Grenache Blanc grape.
The winery also offers four “levels” of wines, beginning with the StoneCap label with wines priced at about $10 each. From there, the Tall Sage and g3 labels offer wines ranging from about $12 to $15 a bottle, and the Goose Ridge Estate label includes the winery’s top-of-the-line selections, so to speak.
And not only is there plenty of variety in label choices, there are plenty of tasting room options as well: west of the Cascades in Woodinville, in Central Washington at Leavenworth, and in Eastern Washington at Richland and the recently-opened downtown Walla Walla location. With its opening in Walla Walla, Goose Ridge became the first winery in Washington with four distinct tasting rooms in the state.
NEW AND FUTURE RELEASES
This spring saw the release of several new white wines, including the 2016 vintages of the Goose Ridge-label Riesling, Pinot Gris, and Sauvignon Blanc, as well as the 2016 Rosé, a striking salmon/coral-hued blend of Grenache and Mourvedre that Wilson calls, “new and exciting.” He’s also anticipating the release of a 2016 Riesling Ice Wine during mid-2017 and notes that plans are in the works for a reserve-label Malbec.
For Whatcom County residents, ordering wine is just a click away at www.gooseridge.com. The winery web site also provides specifics on other current releases, wine club information, and tasting room locations, which are great for a day-trip visit if staying on the west side of the state, or perhaps for a more leisurely weekend getaway if heading to Eastern Washington.
Either way, the Goose Ridge family of wines offers solid, affordable choices that should make any Washington wine enthusiast happy.
Tall Sage 2015 Red Wine Blend (about $13)—A core of dark fruit flavors is enhanced with a touch of star anise and baking spice. It’s an easy-to-drink and highly affordable red wine blend.
g3 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (about $15)—This tasty red wine provides a mouthful of bold, black currant, dark berry, and black plum flavors. The finish is soft and plush with hints of savory spice.
Goose Ridge 2014 Estate Chardonnay (about $28)— Lovely vanilla wafer, baked apple, and pineapple flavors lead off, with a round finish of toasted oak and dried apricot. Elegant and delicious.
Vireo 2012 Red Wine (about $38)—Goose Ridge’s flagship wine is a gorgeous, velvety blend of equal parts Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Syrah packed with jammy blueberry and ripe cherry fruit flavors. The finish is slightly textured with a hint of vanilla bean. Outstanding!
509.627.6249 | gooseridge.com