The 100 acres of Cave B Estate Vineyards are planted on carefully selected sites, dictated by soil type, soil depth, slope, declination to the sun, and distance from the modifying temperature effects of the Columbia River. Red grape varieties are planted closest to the river, while Germanic white varieties are planted a mile to the east, where a shorter growing season, and slightly cooler temperatures prevail.
The remarkable soil micro-zones on the estate grounds are a result of the Missoula floods. They left behind as they were receding many different soil types on the property, gravels, silt loams, sandy loams, and calcium carbonate impregnated rocks to name a few. In the 12,000 years since the floods, soils have been carried in on the prevailing westerly winds and volcanic eruptions such as occurred with Mt St Helen in 1980, added to the complexity of the soils found in the estate vineyards.
For these reasons, the Merlots, Cabernet Sauvignons, Syrahs, Chardonnays and Rieslings coming from multiple blocks in the vineyard have different flavor components, which after blending, allow for more complexity and richness in the wines made from the Estate Vineyards.
In recent years, Italian and Spanish varieties have been successfully added to the Estate Vineyards- Sangiovese, Barbera, and Tempranillo, with the latter especially thriving in the arid climate found on the site, reminiscent of conditions found in the Rioja region of Spain.
Famed winemaker Andre Tchelistcheff, very early on in the life of the Cave B Estate vineyards in 1985, after tasting early Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wines made from grapes on portions of the site, sagely dubbed the vineyard as a Bordeaux site. His pronouncement has been proven correct and over the past thirty years all of the major Bordeaux grape varieties have been added to the vineyards including Malbec, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc in the reds, and Semillon and Sauvignon blanc in the Whites. The winery’s acclaimed Cuvee du Soleil is the product of blending different proportions of these red Bordeaux varietals with the best Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot barrels in any given vintage.
At an average elevation between 1,300 and 1,400 feet above sea level, average heat units between 2750 and 2800 per annum, giving it a Zone 2 designation, soils influenced by glacial activity, and grapes that can “see the river,” the Cave B Estate Vineyards share all of the essential characteristics of the great winegrowing regions of the world.