Making Great Wine
Our Considered Approach Creates Incredible, Rare Wines
We create all of our wines in handpicked, small lots with complete attention to detail and age them on lees. Our white wines are whole cluster pressed and fermented in individual lots, while our red wines are fermented in small containers and punched down by hand. Our Rose is whole cluster pressed and tasted at each step, until the tannin and color is perfect.
Attention to Detail
Our philosophy at Dowsett Family Winery is to make wines we love to drink with grapes that perfectly express the varieties we produce. That begins with selecting the perfect vineyard, right down to the specific clone, for each of our wines.
Chris inspects the grapes to find the right combination of sugar and acidity before the crews hand-pick the fruit on just the right day. All leaves and debris are cleared from the bins before they head toward the winery.
We create all of our wines in handpicked small lots with complete attention to detail. Our white wines are whole cluster pressed and fermented in individual lots. Our red wines are fermented in small containers and punched down by hand.
Our Rosé is whole cluster pressed and tasted at each step, until the tannin and color are perfectly balanced. The Rosé is fermented in tank and is ready for drinking by Spring, but gets better with additional aging.
To achieve complexity, we age our wines on lees, which are yeast deposits and other particles from the fermentation process. Tasting and testing the wines from the barrel takes place throughout the year making sure the process is progressing as expected. Bottling only happens when we determine the wines are at their perfect level of maturation from barrel or tank.
Dowsett Family Riesling
“Aunt Diane’s Vineyard” Columbia Gorge
A dry Riesling from vines planted in 1980 and fermented in barrel and tank. Tiny yields and slow fermentation make a wine of minerality and acidity, with apricot and classic Riesling aromas.
Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer
A dry Gewurztraminer blend of Oak Ridge and Celilo Vineyards. Planted in the 1980’s, it is fermented in tank and barrel. Bottled and released early to showcase the intense aromatics of young Gewurztraminer, it can stand up to foods which are difficult to pair.
Dowsett Family Gewurztraminer
“Celilo Vineyard” Columbia Gorge
The Classic. Our version of a perfect match between appellation, vineyard, variety and winemaking. The old, neutral barrel fermentation of the 1982 planted fruit and extended bottle age give this wine a body and structure that is ready to drink now, or in years to come.
Dowsett Family “Georgia Rose” Oregon Pinot Noir (Rose)
The first collaboration between siblings is named in honor of our maternal grandmother, Georgia Rose Hannigan Johnson. A dry Pinot Noir rose, it was picked fresh, whole cluster pressed and finished dry with beautiful acidity and flavor. Not just a summer sipper. Drink now or put it away for a year or more.
Dowsett Family Oregon Pinot Noir
The vineyard owned by Chris’s sister Libby Becklin and her husband Don has a streak of Jory soil through the middle section, where the Pommard Clone grows. This is our perfect storm for the style and character of Pinot Noir that we love.
Dowsett Family “Two Magpies” Red Wine
A blend of Syrah and Mourvedre, inspired by the blends Chris loved during his time studying winemaking in South Australia. The label artwork by Walla Walla artist Todd Telander depicts the North American and Australian Magpies.
Selecting Only the Best
We believe the stellar quality of our wines begins with amazing grapes. We work with about six vineyards, including those owned by our family, with beautiful views of the Columbia Gorge and the Willamette Valley.
Aunt Diane’s Vineyard (Columbia Gorge, WA)
Chris’s Aunt Diane inherited this property with its gorgeous setting in 2011. It is approximately 2.5 acres of superb Riesling planted in 1980. The vineyard experienced periods of use and neglect through the generations, but beginning in 2012, Chris, his son Lyle, and Aunt Diane brought it back to life. 2014 was our first bottled vintage.
Becklin Vineyards (Willamette Valley, OR)
Chris’ sister and her husband, Libby and Don Becklin, purchased Becklin Vineyards in 2015. The 12-acre vineyard was planted in 2000 with three different clones of Pinot Noir. The Pommard clone, grown in Jory soil, is a longtime favorite of Chris’s for finnicky Pinot Noir. This combination adds rich flavor to our red Pinot. The Georgia Rose uses the 777 clone at the bottom of the hill in the deeper Nekia soil for an approachable and fruit-driven Rosé.
Celilo Vineyard (Columbia Gorge, WA)
This site is a true Washington Grand Cru. The Gewürztraminer we purchase from this site was planted in 1982 and has proven to be one of the top West Coast sites for the variety. Chris began working with the block in 2002 and has bottled a Dowsett Family single vineyard wine ever since 2007.
Heart of the Hill Vineyard (Red Mountain, WA)
This warm vineyard high on the slope of Red Mountain is a great site for ripening the late-harvested Mouvedre. It is owned and managed by Scott Williams and Kiona Winery. We began purchasing Mourvedre from the vineyard in 2007.
Morrison Lane Vineyard (Walla Walla)
This vineyard features the oldest Syrah plantings in Walla Walla. The vines grow on the valley floor in loess soil near a rocky creek bed. Chris has known the Morrison Family since the late 1990’s and has worked with the Syrah since 2002.
Oak Ridge Vineyards (Columbia Gorge)
This 1985-planted five-acre block of Gewurztraminer was the first Columbia Gorge fruit Chris worked with in 1997. The wind and water of the Gorge give the vines cool evenings while maintaining hot days for a controlled ripening we love. There were five vintages bottled while Chris was at Canoe Ridge Vineyards. In 2016, we were able to start working with some of that fruit again when creating our Columbia Gorge Gewurztraminer.