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Saturday, Mar. 14, 2009

Washington: Snipes Mountain

One of Washington's oldest wine-growing regions became an official appellation in early 2009.

At 4,145 acres in size, it is the state's second-smallest AVA, after Red Mountain. About 700 acres of grapes are planted on Snipes Mountain between about a half-dozen growers. The largest grape grower is Upland Vineyards, owned by the Newhouse family. Harrison Hill, which is adjacent to Snipes Mountain, is part of the AVA.

The Snipes Mountain history goes back to before national Prohibition. William Bridgman, a two-time mayor of the town of Sunnyside and a proponent of irrigation, planted table grapes on Harrison Hill in 1914 and European vinifera grapes on Snipes Mountain in 1917. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Bridgman launched Upland Winery on Snipes Mountain (the building remains today, though it isn't used for anything but storage). The winery lasted into the late 1960s, when Bridgman passed away. The Newhouse family bought the vineyards from Bridgman's family in the early 1970s and has expanded the plantings since then.

Todd Newhouse, third-generation grape grower for the family, and Joan Davenport of nearby DavenLore Winery were responsible for researching and writing the AVA application.

In 2006, the Newhouse family launched a winery called Upland Estates, paying homage to Bridgman's pioneering efforts.

More stories about Snipes Mountain AVA:

-- Snipes Mountain: Washington's Living History

-- A pioneer's vines, vision live on

External links:

-- Upland Estates

-- Wikipedia article on Snipes Mountain