Columbia Valley Overview
Located in eastern Washington State and separated from Seattle’s marine climate by the Cascade Mountains, the Columbia Valley is a warm, dry growing region. Summer temperatures hover in the mid-80s. Annual rainfall averages 6 to 8 inches. The area enjoys more than 300 cloudless days a year and long summer daylight hours because of its northern latitude. As grapes finish ripening in the fall, evening temperatures can drop by as much as 30 to 40 degrees. These cool nighttime temperatures protect the grapes’ natural acidity making for balanced wines that are not only lively in their youth but also age well. The net effect is a growing region found only in a handful of places around the world, perfect for growing vinifera wine grapes.
Stillwater Creek Vineyard
Novelty Hill’s estate vineyard, Stillwater Creek, is located on the Royal Slope of the Frenchman Hills in Washington State’s Columbia Valley. Planting of this 245 acre site began in 2000 following extensive consultation with top viticulturists who analyzed soils and historical weather patterns to determine optimal site design and clonal selection. Few other vineyards in Washington can boast the wide array of clones used here, each carefully selected with specific vineyard blocks in mind. In 2007, Stillwater Creek became the first Columbia Valley vineyard certified “Salmon Safe” for environmental practices that help protect water quality and habitat for wildlife and fish, particularly native Northwest salmon. Washington State wine critic and author Paul Gregutt named Stillwater Creek one of the state’s top 20 vineyards in 2010.
Januik Vineyard Sources
Mike Januik has been making wines in the Columbia Valley since the mid-1980s, affording him the opportunity to work with a dedicated group of top growers. When Mike established his own winery in 1999, he developed a short list of vineyards he considered to be among the best in the state. Such well-known, mature sites as Champoux, Seven Hills, Klipsun, Ciel du Cheval and Red Mountain, to name just a few, are the single greatest point of difference in Januik wines.