Matching trellis to variety and site
Rocks are plentiful in this block of Syrah that will be trained to the vertical shoot positioned bilateral cordon.
Bringing out the terroir of Grand Rêve Estate Vineyard has been an involved process, says vineyard manager Ryan Johnson, requiring a number of different training systems in the small parcel on Washington State's Red Mountain.
Once a variety or clone was chosen to match the soil, slope, and wind conditions, Johnson and his partner Paul McBride then chose a trellis system that would help express the site's sense of place, known as terroir.
On the upper hillside, three Syrah blocks have been trained in the gobelet style (head trained, spur pruned) and spaced 3 feet between vines, 4.5 feet between rows. Grenache was planted in a windy, rocky site and trained in the bush style, spaced 3 feet by 4.5 feet. Another block of Syrah will be trained to a bilateral cordon at 4 feet by 4.5 feet.
Then there's also a Cabernet Franc block, planted 3 feet by 7 feet and trained to a double guyot system. And on the east side of the vineyard, Petit Verdot, Mourvédre, and Syrah are trained to a 7 foot by 8 foot fan trellis, a training system with multiple trunks acting as a catcher's mitt for sunlight and spreading the fruit over an entire plane instead of the more linear fruit-positioned bilateral cordon.
Though only 11 acres have been planted, more than 10 varieties and clones are being grown—Petit Verdot, multiple clones of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot, and Mourvèdre, Viognier, and Grenache.
There are fewer than two acres left to plant at Grand Rêve Vineyard, but those two will be an even greater feat as the ground is situated even higher up the hillside than what's already been planted. Potential varieties for future planting include Tempranillo, Nebbiolo, and additional clones of Grenache.