Watermill Winery is returning to the critically acclaimed The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA with the Hallowed Stones Estate project.
In addition to a new estate label, Hallowed Stones will include an appointment only tasting, production, and event facility located in Watermill’s Ansbah vineyard in the heart of The Rocks District AVA. The first of its kind in the Rocks District, the Hallowed Stones facility is scheduled to open by Walla Walla’s Spring Release Weekend of 2019 (May 3rd-5th). Watermill will also plant an additional 15.5 acres of new vineyard in the Rocks District to support the project and supplement their existing 15 acres of vines in the AVA. Watermill will debut its first two Hallowed Stones offerings, estate Syrah and estate Cabernet Franc, at the Rocks District Winegrowers industry showcase, Experience the Rocks District, in Seattle on Monday, October 22nd.
“My family has been farming in the Milton-Freewater area for more than 50 years. We believe The Rocks District is producing the most distinct and terroir driven wines in the Pacific Northwest and as one of the few wineries located entirely on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla Valley we are committed to helping lead the growth in our home region” said Andrew Brown, Director of Production and head winemaker for Watermill Winery. “Hallowed Stones gives us the opportunity to share this amazing region with wine enthusiasts across the world. With the addition of an in vineyard tasting room we will be able to show visitors first hand how the stony soil creates a unique flavor profile. And with the addition of two new vineyards we will be able to increase production and bring estate wines from The Rocks District to markets across the country at a more competitive price point ($40)” said Alex Hedges, Watermill’s Commercial Director.
Watermill winery was founded in 2003 by the Brown family of Milton-Freewater. In 2017 the Browns partnered with the Foreman family of Wenatchee Washington. Together they grown more than 4,500 acres of Apples, Pears and Cherries in Washington and Oregon and farm 140 acres of vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater, the Columbia Valley, and the Rattlesnake Hills. Watermill’s sister company, Blue Mountain Cider makes estate ciders from Brown Family Apples at Watermill in downtown Milton-Freewater, Oregon.
The Rocks District was given AVA designation in 2015, 18 years after grapes were first planted in there in 1997. The Rock District of Milton-Freewater was certified as and American Viticulture Area by the TTB in February of 2015, 18 years after the first vineyards were planted there. Located entirely in the state of Oregon, The Rocks District is a sub region of the greater Walla Walla Valley. The AVA boundaries have been fixed by virtue of a single soil series (Freewater Series) and a single land form (alluvial fan). The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVA is just 3,400 acres, of which 338 are planted with wine grapes. Praise for the region has been pouring in for years. Harvey Steinman of Wine Spectator has called it, “The most distinctive AVA in the United States… making some of the greatest wines in America” and wine reviewer Jeb Dunnuck has stated, “This incredible terroir produces an exotic, perfumed, and textured style of wine that’s one of the most unique - and identifiable – in the world”.