Dionysus Vineyard is one of four vineyards managed by Sagemoor Vineyards. They have been growing grapes in Washington since 1972, making them one of the oldest vineyards in the state. Many of their 1972 plantings are still in production today and go into several prestigious, highly acclaimed “old vine” bottlings for other wineries. The Dionysus Vineyard is in the Columbia Valley AVA located about 10 miles north of the Tri Cities. It sits on an exposed bluff overlooking the Columbia River, and is influenced significantly by wind and afternoon sun. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is coming from Block 14, which was planted in 1999 on a very fine sandy loam soil between elevations 600 feet to 650 feet. The combination of exposure to the river and the afternoon sun can make this one of the warmer sites in the state, so the vineyard management team uses overhead sprinklers to cool the canopy in the warmest parts of the growing season, which in turn helps the grapes retain their natural acidity.
The vineyard is managed by Kent Waliser and Derek Way. Kent is a long time fruit grower who joined Sagemoor Farms in 2002. He has been very active in all facets of the industry since then, and has been instrumental in elevating the reputation of the different vineyards, bringing on better staff and attracting higher caliber wineries. Derek Way joined Kent in 2008, but prior to that he worked at Chateau Ste. Michelle where he had been a viticulturist since 2000.
But Derek and Kent won't take much credit for their successes. Here is a direct quote from Derek, "I would say that, even more important than the fantastic sites we have – I really do think we grow grapes on some of the state’s finest sites – is the caliber of the people I work with. …I truly get to work with the best. … Not only have these individuals worked at Sagemoor for 30 plus years, but they farm it as if it were their own. The intuitiveness of their farming practices is truly amazing. If you want to credit the success of Sagemoor to one facet of our business, it would have to be the people."