The terroir — what exactly does that mean? According to Wikipedia’s definition, terroir is loosely translated as “a sense of place”– the type of soil, weather conditions, grapes and winemaking, all of which contribute to give a specific personality to the wine. At Red Willow Vineyard, terroir is all of the above and then some. As mentioned in a previous post, Red Willow owner and self-proclaimed farmer, Mike Sauer defines wine as bringing the soil, the site, the season and the efforts of many people together into a single vintage.
We visited Red Willow Vineyard in early September as part of a group of visitors from Columbia Winery’s Cellar Club. Mike talked passionately to us about the terroir which he, too, described as a sense of place. He told us the story of a Texas couple who enjoyed his wine so much in Dallas that the man brought his girlfriend up to Yakima Valley to visit Red Willow Vineyard, where he proposed to her in the vineyard’s distinct chapel on a hillside surrounded by vines. Mike then told us: “Hopefully, the terroir is also part of the special memories of your life.”
In our case, it most definitely is. We were engaged at a winery — Maurice Carrie Winery in Temecula, California –long before Washington wines became my passion. We go back to Maurice Carrie because it’s a special place for us, just like Red Willow Vineyard is a special place for that Dallas couple. But something tells me that we’ll also be going back to Red Willow Vineyard for one of our future anniversaries because it became a special place to us during our visit there.