The winemaker’s craft is to expose the terroir locked inside the grape.
Creating Well-Balanced Wines
Reininger Winery sources fruit from a number of outstanding Walla Walla vineyards,including Pepper Bridge, Seven Hills, Birch Creek and XL Vineyards. Each vineyard produces fruit with a slightly different character, allowing Chuck to blend fruit to achieve the complexity and nuances he seeks in his wines. Look for more detailed information on individual vineyards below.
Birch Creek Vineyard is a 22-acre site planted just south of Walla Walla in Milton-Freewater, Oregon. The western-facing slopes and oliphant and onyx soils provide great irrigation and air drainage for the vines.
Although Birch Creek is predominantly planted with red grape varietals, it has a little over an acre of the precious Semillon that we’ve been sourcing fruit from.
Grapes we use: Semillon
Straddling the stateline between Washington and Oregon, Pepper Bridge Vineyard dates back to 1991 when its first 10 acres were planted of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Over the next two decades, Pepper Bridge expanded to what it is today, at about 200 acres. Known for its outstanding reputation with winemakers throughout the Walla Walla Valley and Washington State, Pepper Bridge has some of the most sought after grapes.
At an elevation of 850 feet, Pepper Bridge sits atop an ancient glacial lakebed leftover from the Missoula Floods. The top three feet of soils are Walla Walla silt loam, a windblown loess, but beneath that lays rich sedimentary deposits.
Pepper Bridge works with 30 wineries within the Valley, including Reininger. We’ve been using Pepper Bridge fruit since our first vintage in 1998.
Grapes we use: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Malbec
One of the first commercially planted vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, Seven Hills dates back to 1980. Over the last thirty five years, Seven Hills has expanded to more than 235 acres and is the source of fruit for many wineries across the state and Walla Walla Valley. In 2004, Wine & Spirit included Seven Hills in the top ten greatest vineyards in the world.
With an elevation of 1,050 feet, Seven Hills has excellent soil and air drainage for the 12 varietals that grow on its soil, and is one of the most technically advanced in the industry. Complete with a state-of-the-art drip irrigation system, Seven Hills pulls water from the Hudson Bay Ditch for the first few months of each growing season. After the ditch water is shut off, water is pulled from a deep basalt well and distributed throughout the drip lines.
Grapes we use: Cabernet Sauvignon, Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Sangiovese, Syrah
Founded in 2005 as part of the SeVein project, John & Martina Rempel started XL Vineyards on a 47-acre plot of land. At an elevation of 1,050 to 1,250 feet, XL has one of the highest planted grapes in the Walla Walla Valley. Nestled under the Blue Mountains, XL Vineyard has a variety of terroirs that can cater to a wide range of grape varietals, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Granache, Malbec, Merlot, Mourvedre, Petit Verdot, Syrah, Semillon and Viognier.
The Rempels take a unique approach to cultivating their grapes. The vineyard is broken up into 24 distinct blocks allowing their vineyard management team to cater more to the growing preferences of the winemakers. “Whether it’s trellis structure, pruning rigor or nutrient and irrigation strategy, each block is assessed individually on its own merits and treated with a fresh eye every day so that we can ensure that our harvest is the best expression of our work,” says Chris Banek, XL’s viticulturalist and vineyard manager. Each block is also individually irrigated to cater to the specific grapes’ needs. XL has also installed rows of poplar trees and wind fences to control some of the strong winds that could damage the crops, as well as four wind machines to moderate temperatures in the winter and to keep the vines from freezing.
Grapes we use: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon.