Pepper Bridge Vineyard is located in the Walla Walla Valley appellation, nearly on the Washington and Oregon border. It was originally planted in 1991 by Norm McKibben and has been managed from its inception by Tom Waliser. Beginning with just 10 acres it now encompasses nearly 200 acres at about 900 feet elevation. We currently source Merlot and small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard.
The soils are deep silt loam, which is a wind-blown glacial loess that is full of minerals. Since it contains some sand it is freely drainable. The vines are planted above the valley floor on terrace islands formed by ancient slack water drainage. This allows natural cold air drainage and minimizes problems with frost during the growing season.
The vines are planted on a Smart-Dyson split canopy trellis trellis system which allows vertical shoot position and maximizes sun exposure. A state of the art drip irrigation system allows constant moisture monitoring to maximize fruit quality and yields. Use of propane driven wind machines held ensure a frost free vineyard during most cold weather periods.
Pepper Bridge is one of our later ripening vineyards. Typical characteristics include complex earthiness, dark fruits, and black pepper. Maturing wine grapes are cropped (some green clusters dropped) in late July and early August to yield approximately 2.5 tons per acre.