The Preston family, in fulfillment of a long-time goal, broke ground for their winery building in the spring of 1976. The first crush, approximately 190 tons, got underway in late September of that same year. The white wines were allowed limited skin contact and then cold fermented in jacketed stainless steel tanks to maximize fruitiness and varietal character. The red wines were fermented in open stainless steel tanks and allowed to "dry out" on the skins to maximize color and flavor extraction. Controlled fermentation with pure yeast strains is an important element of Preston's winemaking style. Barrel aging in Limousin, Alliers and Nevers (French) oak, adds a desirable degree of fullness and complexity to Preston's dry wines, while the semi-dry wines are aged and finished in stainless steel cooperage. Careful grape culture with a critical eye on crop levels and control of pests and diseases brings truly outstanding fruit in the Columbia Basin. Preston Wines have been rated among the finest in the world. View all Preston Wine Cellars Wines
About Columbia Valley
Columbia Valley is the largest of Washington State's wine growing regions, with almost 11 million acres. It encompasses a number of smaller regions, including Yakima Valley, Walla Walla Valley, Red Mountain and more. The vast area consists of a range of climates, allowing viticulturists to plant a diverse selection of grape varieties. Most wineries plant rows sparsely, which helps the vines survive the harsh winters.
Notable FactsMerlot is the most popular and most planted grape of the area, followed by Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. Syrah and Riesling are also popular and continue to grow in acreage.
So how does a state known for rain and coffee produce high quality wines? They plant their grapes on the east side of the Cascade mountains, away from that ever-present rain cloud that sits along the coast. Perhaps wine grapes do well since the sandy loam soils east of the Cascade range give way to an almost desert-like land, saved from drought only by the helpful rivers that run through the area – and the good irrigation systems.
Thinking that the state would do best with typical northern growing grapes like Riesling and Gewurtztraminer, turns out the apple state is well-suited for reds, namely Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and, more recently, Syrah. Of course, whites have not been forgotten - Washington State Rieslings range from bone-dry to sweet, are well-structured and high quality, and Chardonnay dominates most of the other white plantings, making a range of wines. But the reds of the region, Merlot in particular, have made Washington State a quality force to be reckoned with.