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For Immediate Release

State of the Artz

We've got a new estate vineyard, and it's already a Red Mountain classic.

Artz Scott Logo

Driving down Sunset Road in 2019 imbues a sense of viticultural significance. Plantings are dense, to the point where a patch of unplanted land stands out like a sore thumb.

That has not always been the case. In fact, for most of Red Mountain's viticultural history, vineyards could have been described as oases of green distributed infrequently and randomly across the harsh desert landscape.

Red Mountain stands today as a pillar of quality in the wine industry, but that didn't just happen overnight. It took a lot of hard work by a lot of smart people to turn an obscure corner of the greater Yakima Valley into the densely-planted, widely-revered, and internationally-vested AVA it is today. 

One of those people was the late Fred Artz. 

Fred joined the Red Mountain community when he started working for Patricia and David Gelles of Klipsun Vineyard in 1984, just two years after it was initially planted in 1982. Under his care and attention as vineyard manager, Klipsun quickly gained a reputation for quality on the world wine scene, having been named one of the "Top 25 Vineyards in the World" by Wine & Spirits magazine and often named as one of Washington's "First Growth" vineyards in wine circles. 

In the mid-1990s Fred had the inkling to plant his own vineyard and did so at a site immediately north of Klipsun. Artz Vineyard was born. 

Planted predominately to Bordeaux varieties, Fred's eponymous vineyard has, in the intervening years, developed a cult following amongst high-end producers in the Pacific Northwest. 

Charlie Auclair 600

(Photo by Andy Perdue / Great Northwest Wine)

Charlie Auclair (above), owner and winemaker at Auclair Winery, uses the site extensively in his production, stating, "Artz Vineyard fruit has been at the heart of my flagship Right and Left Blends since I started out in 2008. The Cabernet Sauvignon is dark and complex, the Merlot is fabulous and the Cabernet Franc is special - even for Red Mountain."

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Brooke Neufeld, one half of the owner/operator husband and wife team at JB Neufeld, says that Artz Vineyard fruit forms the foundation of their entire brand. "Year-in and year-out this site produces grapes that embody the best of Red Mountain and Washington fruit."

In 2009 after more than 25 years as a viticulturist, Fred was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers (an organization now known as Washington Winegrowers).  

At the time of his passing in 2015, Fred had left a significant impact on not only Red Mountain but the entire wine industry in the Pacific Northwest. His widow, Jorja Wilkinson, became the de-facto manager and owner of a storied vineyard in Washington's premier AVA. 

When the time came to sell, she ended up choosing us. 

Apparently, there was no shortage of suitors, but "selling to you just seemed right," she told me over the phone this morning. "You guys aren't going anywhere, and you've been on Red Mountain a long time. It's still a sentimental spot for me. It just felt right to keep it feeling like 'home.'"

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So we have a new Kiona vineyard. Artz Vineyard joins Kiona Estate, Heart of the Hill, and Ranch at the End of the Road as one of our esteemed estate sites. All of our vineyards have their own personalities, traits, and tendencies, and we're excited to see how the site fits into our larger vineyard portfolio. Check back in when we've got a few vintages under our belt. 

Red Mtn Kiona Overview Artz

1: Kiona Estate. 2: Heart of the Hill. 3. Ranch at the end of the Road. 4. Artz Vineyard

1: Kiona Estate. 2: Heart of the Hill. 3: Ranch at the End of the Road. Red Oval: Artz Vineyard

Artz Vineyard holds the distinction of being the first of our estate vineyards that we did not plant ourselves. We're taking over a mature property with established terroir—and more than a few secrets to unravel. 

It's also home to perhaps the most iconic vista in the AVA, with a stunning northwest view of Rattlesnake and Saddle Mountains towering behind the lazy Yakima River. You know the one:


Photo by John Clement. 

Artz Vineyard has new owners, new vineyard management practices, and new branding, but we're keeping the name (because of course we are.) It's been nearly 40 years since Fred first stepped foot onto Red Mountain, and folks will still be speaking his name 40 years from now here on the hill. 

And that's pretty special.