Upchurch viewWe always try to stop at Upchurch Vineyard when we travel to Red Mountain. Our first visit was on April 1, 2021. We returned last month, and the views are as gorgeous as Chris Upchurch’s wines. We met winemaker James Stickey, who poured seven incredible wines – a rosé, a white, and five reds — priced between $26-$150. For example, Upchurch produces a stellar Sauvignon Blanc. Moreover, Upchurch is the only Red Mountain winery to receive a perfect score from the Wine Advocate. Read on for more details.

Upchurch Story

Upchurch lineupChris and Thea Upchurch established their Red Mountain vineyard in 2007. However, we first met Chris, co-founder and award-winning winemaker of DeLille Cellars, many years earlier. As DeLille’s founding winemaker in 1990, Chris crafted Bordeaux-style blends before anyone in WA. Subsequently, we met Thea in 2017 when we shared a table with her and Chris at a wine event dinner. Above all, they are both passionate about their dream, which shines in every bottle.

Poster of Wine ScoresThese days, Chris continues to generate accolades. For instance, Wine Advocate recently awarded 2020 Hero Twins Cabernet Sauvignon 100 points, as well as 98 points to 2020 Upchurch Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, and 96 points to 2020 LTL Heart of the Hill Cab Sauv. Impressive. Upchurch Vineyard focuses on combining contemporary clonal research and modern sustainability practices with traditional old-world methods and techniques. UV is certified L.I.V.E. and “Salmon Safe,” a program to protect Pacific Northwest water sheds.

Upchurch Wines

Upchurch winemaker James StickneyDuring our visit, winemaker James Stickney (formerly at Betz Family Winery) poured us seven standout wines. First, we tasted a pretty 2022 Mourvèdre Rosé. Next, he served a refreshing 2021 Sauvignon Blanc. Finally, he introduced the noteworthy 2020 LTL Cab Sauv, 2020 Counterpart Merlot, 2020 Heart of the Hill Cab Sauv, 2020 Estate Cab Sauv and the amazing 100-pointer, 2020 Hero Twins Cab Sauv.

Rosé and White

Upchurch Rose and White Wine2021 LTL Rosé ($26) is a serious rosé made with 79% Mourvèdre and 21% Grenache (and more orange in color than previous vintages of 100% Grenache). Aromas of strawberries, cherries, cranberries and hints of white pepper mirror the concentrated palate. LTL stands for “larger than life,” a term frequently used to describe Chris.

2021 Southwest Facing Sauvignon Blanc ($36) is 100% SB from the southwest-facing Boushey Vineyard. This Sauv Blanc is fresh, rich, complex and lovely. James said this vintage is not as grassy, with more fruit such as apricots, nectarines and citrus. As a result of 20 months of aging on lees in concrete egg-shaped tanks, he said the mouthfeel is richer and more textured.


Red Wines

2020 LTL Cabernet Sauvignon ($36) remains a Red Mountain experience at a lower price tag. It’s a family favorite, with the concentration and brawniness of Red Mountain fruit. Aromas of red cherries, dark chocolate and spices lead into red and dark fruit flavors and hints of espresso.

2020 Counterpart Merlot ($55) is a structured and age-worthy red, blended with 13% Cab Sauv. Its Merlot backbone brings aromas of blackberries and blueberries, echoed on the palate along with cassis, plum and chocolate. It’s a beautiful blend that will appeal to many people.

2020 LTL Heart of the Hill Cabernet Sauvignon ($72) is excellent. Think rich flavors of luscious chocolate-cherry cake layered into dark fruits, spices and black licorice. As mentioned, Wine Advocate gave this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon 96 points. We loved it.

2020 Upchurch Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($85) is one of our special-occasion wines. We’ve cellared each of its 11 vintages. The flavors are dense, earthy, complex and luxurious. As mentioned, Wine Advocate awarded this Cabernet Sauvignon 98 points, describing it as possibly the best vintage ever of this wine. We agree. Cellar it to truly experience its magnificence in a few years.

2020 Hero Twins Cabernet Sauvignon ($150) understandably scored 100 points from Wine Advocate. Chris made this masterpiece from a selection of the best two barrels of clone two Cabernet Sauvignon. It definitely has that WOW factor. Not surprisingly, this limited-production, exquisite wine sold out immediately after the Advocate review. Consequently, we are delighted that James kindly poured a taste for us. Outstanding.


In conclusion, we recommend you explore the impressive wines from Upchurch Vineyard. Likewise, stop by their Barn tasting room on Red Mountain for an excellent experience. We are so glad we returned.

Except for the first photo, credit for all the photos goes to our friend Chuck Kinzer, a professional photographer.

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Margot and Dave