Winemaker Chris Upchurch Introduces Hero Twins Barrel Select and Launches Heart of the Hill Collaboration with Kiona’s Scott Williams
Benton City, WA, March 3, 2021 – Established in 2007 by Chris and Thea Upchurch, Upchurch Vineyard has, from the outset, been dedicated to exploring and sharing the remarkable wines crafted on their small plot of land on the southwest corner of Washington’s Red Mountain. “When we started, I wanted to return to a focus on small production and extreme attention to detail with a single vineyard,” notes Chris Upchurch. “And today, as we approach the release of our 10th vintage, I can say honestly that we did it and it worked.”
With over 400 ratings of 90+ for his wines at DeLille Cellars and Upchurch Vineyard, Upchurch is recognized as one of Washington State’s pioneering winemakers, dedicated to creating wines of the finest quality and pushing the boundaries of his craft. “At Upchurch, we focus on combining contemporary clonal research and modern sustainability practices with traditional old-world methods and techniques.”
This fall, Upchurch will introduce the Hero Twins Cabernet Sauvignon. “This wine will be a true exercise in precision, comprised of a barrel selection from specific rows within a single block that yield the quintessential expression of the vintage. The name Hero Twins comes from Mayan folklore; it’s the story of the genesis of the Sun and the Moon, the ideal link to these two barrels tied so closely to the magic of nature and the importance of warm sunny days and cool moonlit nights on Red Mountain.”
Upchurch has also announced the launch of his Heart of the Hill Vineyard wine, a collaboration with Scott Williams, owner and manager of Kiona’s acclaimed Cabernet vineyard at the center of the AVA. “I have worked with Chris for over 30 years. We relish the opportunity to collaborate on a new project together,” noted Williams.
“It is hard for me to believe that we are releasing a 10th vintage of our UV Cabernet”, remarked Thea Upchurch. “When Chris first found this plot of land and showed it to Dick Boushey, our Vineyard Manger, it was just a dream we had. Today, it’s a family business and a passionate endeavor for all of us.”
“While the first 10 years have been incredibly challenging and rewarding, I’m exceptionally eager for our next chapter,” says Chris Upchurch with a smile. “Who knows what the future holds, but I’m eager to find out.”
Upchurch Vineyard on Red Mountain Opening April 1
Upchurch Vineyard plans to open officially for the season April 1 for tastings and visits. Hours will be Thursday – Sunday 11am-5pm, by appointment only, and other days by advanced request.
Upchurch Vineyard Hero Twins Barrel Select
100% Cabernet Sauvignon; 50 cases produced; $135/bottle suggested retail price
Tasting Notes – Focused floral aromas and ripe black currant complement an inviting, textural palate with gentle oak influence. This fine-tuned selection of barrels yields a complete and balanced wine that exemplifies the purity of Clone 2 Cabernet from Upchurch Vineyard in the Southwest corner of Red Mountain AVA.
As the founding winemaker and a partner at DeLille Cellars since 1992, Chris Upchurch has crafted some of the finest and most award-winning wines in Washington State. He is the only winemaker to produce two Washington State brands to receive 5 stars (outstanding) in Robert Parker’s Wine Buyers Guide, for both DeLille Cellars and Doyenne.
Upchurch Vineyard is dedicated to sustainable farming and is certified by L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), a non-profit organization that promotes and certifies sustainable vineyard practices. It is also certified “Salmon Safe” which is a program to protect Pacific Northwest water sheds and the wildlife that thrives within them.
The Beginning and the Future: A Chat with Chris Upchurch about Our First Vintage
When you plant a vineyard, there are no guarantees that it will produce fine wine. Red Mountain is one of the best places to grow Cabernet Sauvignon. We know our soils are wonderful for establishing deep rooted systems and that our micro climate allows for the capability of producing wines with complex flavors and fine structure, but even with all of this, there are still no guarantees. "When we brought the grapes in, you could already taste their character. After fermentation, you could see right away what a wonderful wine it would be and that Upchurch Vineyard was a special place," Chris reflected. When asked what he sees the future of UV looking like he said "We will continue to enhance the wonderful wines that we are already making but we are taking time to discover other wines as well. Whether it be a new blend from our vineyard, a different part of our plot, collaborating with a different vineyard on Red Mountain, or maybe even a sparkler."
The 2010 Growing Season According to Vineyard Manager Dick Boushey
"It was a nice, moderate year with no big heat spikes so the vines and fruit developed continually throughout the season and achieved good phenolic maturity without big sugar, alcohol, or harsh tannins. If you managed your vines and crop load that year, it made silky balanced wines with good acidity, great mouthfeel, and good aging ability. For me one of my favorite vintages and a bit underrated." — Dick Boushey
Thea's Thoughts on the Vintage
"One of the best things about being a small family business is you get to see every part of the process as it happens. But that also means a lot of anticipation and waiting for the fruit and wines to be ready. It was so exciting when the fruit finally reached the winery after waiting 3 years since planting in 2007." — Thea Upchurch
This year, as we prepare for the release of our 2019 Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon in Fall 2021, we're celebrating our history: how we've gotten to where we are and where we're headed next. 2019 marks the 10th vintage produced from our vineyard on Red Mountain. Follow along each month to learn about exciting events and new projects as we expand on the core values that distinguish Upchurch Vineyard.
Join us on the evening of November 1st in Red Mountian to celebrate the release of our 2017 vintage! Wine, music, food, and a good time to be had for all.
Free for members and $20 general admission fee. Special event discounts on wine offered as well!
Meet the Winemaker – Chris Upchurch “One Family, One Vineyard – Red Mountain” Chris Upchurch Saturday, September 21, 2019 5:00-6:30 PM the Lodge at Columbia Point Visit their website for more information: https://lodgeatcolumbiapoint.com/
Chris Upchurch Brings His Love of Red Mountain to Everyday Wine
Benton City, WA, February 19, 2019 – “What I have learned over the years is that the art of blending is just as important in everyday wine as it is in our finest efforts,” remarked acclaimed Washington State winemaker Chris Upchurch. “And I’ve always wanted to take full advantage of the grapes on Red Mountain. The structure and richness of the fruit here over-delivers at every level.” So it was no surprise when Chris decided to expand the Upchurch Vineyard portfolio to include an everyday wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon under the newly minted label “LTL (Larger Than Life)”.
The four Upchurch Winery brands (L-R): Counterpart, Upchurch Vineyard, Southwest Facing, LTL
“Creating this wine, an everyday red which reflects his own exacting standards and approach to craftsmanship is a natural evolution as we grow and Chris continues to experiment.” commented Thea Upchurch, UV cofounder.
“Chris might know as well as anyone how truly powerful Red Mountain wines are,” added Dick Boushey, Upchurch’s vineyard manager and renowned Washington State grower. “His track record speaks for itself. We are continuing to discover Washington wines’ unique potential. Leave it to Chris to create an amazing wine at an affordable price.”
“At Upchurch Vineyard, by definition we have a limited capacity with our single vineyard,” concluded Chris. “With LTL, since we are working with vineyards in addition to our own, we can make more wine and of course reach a broader audience. And that, at the end of the day, makes any winemaker happy.”
LTL 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mountain AVA
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Cases produced 500; $30/bottle suggested retail price
Available online at LTLwine.com
2016 LTL Cabernet Sauvignon shows classic Cabernet aromas of Provence herbs, cassis, brambleberry, cocoa powder and cracked black pepper. The mid-palette is stacked with rich accessible red and black fruits, bacon and light oak touches. It is balanced and flavorful with savory tannins and a long ripe hedonistic finish.
As the founding winemaker and a partner at DeLille Cellars since 1992, Chris Upchurch has crafted some of the finest and most award winning wines in Washington State. He is the only winemaker to produce two Washington State brands to receive five stars (outstanding) in Robert Parker’s Wine Buyers Guide, for both DeLille Cellars and Doyenne.
Chris and his wife Thea founded Upchurch Vineyard in 2010. His Upchurch wines have garnered much praise and recognition from the start, Upchurch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon has received 95, 93, 96, 96, and 95 point scores for its first five vintages respectfully from Jeb Dunnuck of the Wine Advocate and was featured in the March 2017 issue of the Wine Spectator. Upchurch has also received numerous local, state and regional awards.
Upchurch Vineyard is dedicated to sustainable farming and is certified by L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), a non-profit organization that promotes and certifies sustainable vineyard practices. It is also certified “Salmon Safe” which is a program to protect Pacific Northwest water sheds and the wild life that thrives within them.
Address and Contact Information
32901 Vineyard View PR NE
Benton City, WA 99320
12022 NE 97th Street
Kirkland, WA 98033
Kelsey Upchurch, General Manager
Hilary Peck, (917) 855 – 4808
Winemaker Chris Upchurch Launches 2016 Southwest Facing to Complement his Red Mountain Lineup Upchurch Vineyard Pioneers Euro-Inspired Sauvignon Blanc from Washington State
As often happens in our lives, outcomes are a product of many things coming together at a certain time and place. This seems especially true for Upchurch Vineyard: the family, the vineyard, the wine.
Check out this beautifully written article on the story of how Chris and Thea met, how Chris became one of the founding fathers of the Washington State wine industry and why Upchurch Vineyard is a family legacy.
Al Vuona with Off the Vine
Oct. 19th 2017
” A star is born with this year’s inaugural release of Upchurch Vineyard’s 2015 Counterpart, a merlot-based wine made by Washington state’s most revered winemaker, Chris Upchurch. Made from two-thirds merlot and one-third cabernet sauvignon, this wine offers notes of plum, graphite, black cherries and dark chocolate. Well-balanced and full-bodied with a very long, flavorful finish. $50 ”
1889 Magzine - July 2017
Washington vintners talk soil and sense of placeCheck out the fantastic article beautifully written by Naomi Tomky "Chris Upchurch is widely considered one of Washington’s best and most creative winemakers for his work at DeLille Cellars, as well as his own personal project, Red Mountain’s Upchurch Vineyard. At Red Mountain, he found a place where big cabernet grapes weren’t just powerful and rich but had structure he could build on, that he could layer with the rest of the blend’s grapes. "
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