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Dineen Vineyards

Our Vineyards and Varietals

Dineen Vineyards is located in the Yakima Valley AVA just north of the town of Zillah, Washington. We are in a unique hill-top area that is especially well suited for growing premium wine grapes as well as offering far-reaching views of the valley and Mounts Adams and Rainier in the distance. Dineen Vineyards began planting in the spring of 2001 and continues to add annually to the planted acreage. Currently there are 75 acres under vine. Our neighbors include the well-recognized vineyards of Andrew Will, Sheridan, and Two Mountain.

We are focused on planting grapes traditionally grown in the Bordeaux and Rhone Valley regions of France. Our vineyards are home to the following varietals:

Cabernet Sauvignon: Cabernet Sauvignon is originally from the Bordeaux region in France and is probably the most widely planted varietal in the world and the most prevalent red varietal in Washington state. Here at Dineen we grow Clone 8, one of the best and most versatile. It is used in some of Washington´s finest wines. Typical characteristics for Dineen Cabernet Sauvignon are, black cherry, black currant, blueberry, black pepper, tobacco, and violets.

Cabernet Franc: Nicknamed the “Third Red of Bordeaux”, Cabernet Franc is one of the finest and most distinctive grapes. Originally from the French Basque Country, to the southwest of Bordeaux, this varietal has a heart of its own and holds its acidity like very few others. Some typical characteristics from Cabernet Franc are strawberry, raspberry, green bell pepper, roasted red peppers, red plum, and mineral notes. We strive to eliminate the green pepper flavors often attributed to the varietal by early leaf removal and sun exposure. We have two clones at Dineen Vineyards, both of which concentrate color, tannin and aroma.

Syrah: This mythical varietal, which also goes by the name Shiraz, may have originated in Syracuse (a city in Sicily, southern Italy) or in Persia in the Middle East. Syrah is s one of the most important varietals of the world and has become highly acclaimed in the Rhone Valley, France with some of the best Syrah-based wines such as Côte Rôtie, Hermitage and Châteauneuf-du-Pape (where it was grown as the Pope’s wine). Syrah is now grown extensively in the new world (U.S.A., Australia, Argentina, etc.) and shows a very different sensory profile. Old world Syrah tends to have higher acidity and earthy-mineral notes, while New World Syrah is bolder with red fruit and flower aromas. Syrah is generally a tannic varietal, regardless of appellation, but has multiple personalities and is not afraid to show them. Washington State prides itself on having some of the best terroir conditions for growing Syrah in the world and the quality of the fruit is the proof. Dineen Vineyards grows two of the most coveted Syrah clones: Sara Lee and Joseph Phelps.

Merlot: A French red varietal originating in the Bordeaux region. Merlot is now planted extensively with more than 600,000 acres worldwide. Washington State has made quite a reputation for fantastic Merlots, given its optimal growing conditions. Merlot has complexity and power, yet subtleness runs in this varietal´s flavor profile. Aromas of black cherry, raspberry, tobacco, vanilla, and cedar are prominent in wines of this varietal.

Malbec: While most people associate this varietal with Chile and Argentina, it actually originated in Cahors, South-West France, and has historically been represented in Bordeaux wines. This thick-skinned grape allows the winemaker to express his or her style; be it lighter, elegant and lower alcohol or big, bold and fruit forward. Here at Dineen Vineyards we have soils very similar to Chile and Argentina (silt loams with a concentration of calcium carbonate) and produce grapes with characteristics of raspberry, violets, plum, blueberry, rosemary and white pepper.

Petit Verdot: This grape is the 5 th red varietal typical in Bordeaux wines. It provides tannin and color. When blended, it brings soul even to the most soulless wines. It can be harsh, given its polyphenol concentration, but if blended correctly it can be a great addition. Dineen Vineyards has the microclimate and good growing practices to properly ripen this late harvested grape. It is one of our rising stars. Petit Verdot adds body, structure and tannins. Some typical flavors of this varietal are black cherry, violet, sage, and rosemary.

Viognier: A white varietal originated and planted extensively in the Rhone Valley in Southern France. Viognier is used in the production of great whites and sometimes co-fermented with Syrah. Viognier is an aromatic grape, that gives lovely perfumed aromas. The Dineen Viognier has aromas of granny smith apple, honeysuckle, tangerine, peach and a hint of eucalyptus. This varietal has the complexity and versatility to be made in many ways. Viognier can be as fresh and crisp as a Chilean Sauvignon Blanc, and it can be as interesting, deep and complex as an oaked California Chardonnay. Viognier is one of the hidden gems of Washington State; and here at Dineen, in the heart of the Yakima Valley, we grow some of the finest viognier grapes in the state.

Riesling: A white varietal from Germany. Riesling is an aromatic grape, meaning that there is a higher amount of some compounds found in grapes called “terpenes”. These terpenes are caused by fermentation and are extremely volatile and can be smelled from great distance. Riesling grapes from our vineyard typically have aromas of lemon zest, jasmine, peach, honey-crisp apple, and honeysuckle. The fruit offers flavors are of honey, peach, apple cider and chamomile. Roussanne, Semillon, Grenache Blanc and Tempranillo are also grown at Dineen Vineyards in small amounts for select wineries. These varietals can be very stylistic and are grown to the winemaker’s specifications.

Today, Pat Dineen’s focus is on the business side of the vineyard including overseeing the estate winemaking and wine sales. Daily operations at the vineyard are co-managed by brothers Matt and Patrick Rawn, owners of Two Mountain Winery. The Rawn brothers have extensive viticulture experience and are always available to assist winemakers’ specific needs and schedules. Matt and Patrick are greatly assisted by Crew Chief, Eliseo Gil and the rest of his capable crew.

Growing Philosophy & Vineyard Practices

Our mission is simple – growing exceptional wine grapes that meet and exceed the requirements for our Estate Vintage wines and of our fruit buyers.

We work to accommodate the specific criteria of the unique fruit buyer within acceptable viticulture practices. The majority of the work at Dineen Vineyards, from planting to harvest, is done by hand and the grapes are treated gently on the way to the bottle. The handwork in the vineyard helps prevent disease and eases training of the plants by allowing close observation as they grow. It ensures that the growing berries receive enough sun to ripen fully. Yields are kept low, at roughly 3-4 tons per acre by natural processes attributed to low vigor soils as well as careful canopy management including water control, aggressive pruning, and shoot thinning. We practice sustainable viticulture with minimal use of non-organic pesticides and fertilizers. Organic compost is applied every other year to replenish nutrients that the vines consume in producing fruit.

As the fruit approaches maturity, we supply our vintners with berry analysis which includes Brix (sugar content), pH, and TA (titratable acidity). Harvest decisions are mostly dictated by the vintner in coordination with our vineyard manager. Most of our fruit is hand-harvested and field sorted which keeps the wine quality high by culling poor clusters and vine debris. Machine Harvesting is available when requested by the vintner.

We encourage grape buyers to visit the vineyard and welcome their input during the growing season so that the fruit will meet their specific goals. The vines at Dineen Vineyards tend to produce rich and deeply colored wines with medium to soft tannins.

Details:

  • Address: 2980 Gilbert Road Zillah, WA 98953
  • American Viticulture Area (AVA): Yakima Valley and/or Rattlesnake Ridge
  • Elevation: 1050–1140 feet
  • Aspect: South facing gentle slope
  • Rainfall: Less than 7" annually
  • Total Acreage: 92 acres / 75 planted
  • Yields: 3–4 tons per acre (or winery requirement)
  • Varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, Syrah, Semillon, Viognier, Roussanne and Riesling
  • Soils: Harvard-Burke silt loam and Scoon silt loam with an abundance of stones in areas. Soils are shallow with depths of 8–24". In addition, there is a good deal of Caliche (calcium carbonate) underneath at various depths. Soils are nitrogen deficient with very low vigor and maintain a pH around 7.3.
  • Planting: 8×4 and 8×5 spacing with VSP trellis. Rows run north and south and aspect is mostly south-easterly with some rolling hills. Vines are mostly bi-lateral cordon pruned except for small areas of cane pruned as requested by specific wineries.
  • Irrigation: The entire vineyard is drip irrigated. Water is supplied from the Roza Irrigation Canal with a back-up emergency well. We irrigate from bud-break through bloom and fruit set; until we reach desired shoot length. We then practice deficit irrigation through veraison. Post veraison, we apply sufficient water to keep the plants healthy and in balance until harvest.