A Climate of Excellence
Family owned. Estate grown.
Letter from the Monson Family
Greetings from Goose Ridge,
This special edition of our last newsletter for 2022 celebrates our many local, regional and national business partners, colleagues and media who joined us recently for an immersive experience here at Goose Ridge. It was a beautiful fall Saturday when our family had the distinct pleasure of welcoming more than 300 industry friends from around the country to our ranch. This wonderful event was more than a tour and a celebratory Harvest dinner: It was an opportunity to unveil why Goose Gap - a newly named AVA - is so important to this region and to what we do.
Following the map of our estate we took our guests on a well-orchestrated tour offering stops along the way to talk about our orchards and cattle pastures, our vineyards on Goose Mountain, the winery and finally our distillery adjacent to our cellars. The day culminated with a dinner al fresco at our family park where we shared beautiful views and wonderful company. The perfect end to a wonderful opportunity to say thanks to all who could join. From our family to yours, wishing you all health and happiness in 2023.
The Monson Family
On the Ranch
It was a cool start to the day as we hit our first stop on the tour of apple orchards overlooking a herd of cattle grazing in the pasture. Bill’s son Blake who helps manage our orchard operations walked our guests through our 70-plus years growing apples for national markets and the effort it takes to harvest the perfect apple for packing out to grocery stores across the country. Our guests were as excited about the process of growing, picking and packing apples as they were about our vineyards and making wine, which wasn’t a surprise. It was an educational look at farming produce and what it takes to bring our apples and cherries to consumers. While we enjoyed a taste of our Goose Ridge Cherry Cider, Blake talked about the many varietals we grow, the trellising and harvest process as well as our packing house, which is optimized for delivering delicious fruit to consumers around the country. As manager of our orchards, Blake is building off what his dad started when he was Blake’s age. With three generations of farming to draw from, Blake’s talents don’t fall far from the tree. Before heading up to Goose Mountain attendees also heard from Bill Monson and Jody Pimentel who runs our west coast cattle operation, continuing our family heritage in the cattle ranching business.
After an overview of our cattle business, the tour continued to the top of Goose Gap to hear what makes this terroir so special for growing grapes. As guests looked out over the vineyards to the valley below, winemaker Andrew Wilson and Alan Busacca, soil scientist and geologist, discussed Goose Mountain’s 1,400-foot elevation and the historic Ice Age that contributed to making the terroir on Goose Gape so unique for growing grapes. Our longtime vineyard and orchard manager, Robert Rivera, spoke about our many varieties of cherries, apples and grapes across our estate. Afterall, as an important part of our team for more than 30 years, Robert knows where the best clones should go.
When our family decided to plant grapes on this sundrenched hill adjacent to Red Mountain, we did so under the guidance of Dr. Walter Clore, considered by many to be the “father” of the Washington wine industry. He was impressed by the site’s gentle, south-facing slope and the growing area’s warm temperatures. As samples of our Among The Giants Chardonnay and Vireo Red Blend were shared with attendees, Alan Busacca explained the impact the Ice Age mega floods had on the terrain and position of the mountain, while Andrew Wilson talked about how we take advantage of its north and northeast facing
slopes by planting vineyard rows north-to-south to maximize sun exposure. Planting Goose Mountain in small blocks facilitates our estate-grown wines that are managed for low yields through careful pruning and thinning practices. As a result of the vineyard’s attention to detail, grapes ripen evenly and the wines are consistently ripe, rich, and fruit-forward.
Being able to taste the wines while listening to Andrew and Alan was a wonderful way to draw the connection between the spectacular vineyard site and the pure sense of what Goose Mountain can produce. It’s why we continue to put an emphasis on farming for future generations, and we’ve only just begun.
After a tour through the cellar guests met with our consulting winemaker Peter Devison and Will Wright, our National Sales and Marketing Manager for a surprise tasting of wines from our Destination Brands portfolio. The Destination Brands reflect a shared family vision of the land along with a commitment to artisan winemaking and craft spirits. For us, it started with our grandfather, M.L. Monson in the early 1900s who built a family farming business that endures to this day. Now, we’re bringing along the fourth generation as we expand our wine portfolio and venture into making craft spirits and opening our own Distillery.
The tasting included the 2019 g3 Merlot, an example of why Merlot does so well in this region, and 2021 Revelation Rosé. Mostly Syrah, this pale pink wine features a mix of Rhone varieties for a Provence-style wine that sold out in a matter of months. As with the rest of the Destination Brands, these are just two exemplary offerings delivering on quality and price: This is our goal with these wines that continue to punch above their weight with reviews and scores.
Farming for future generations is what Goose Ridge, Goose Mountain and Goose Gap is all about and it was an exciting opportunity for all of us to demonstrate what makes this region so extraordinary.
Monson Ranch Distillers
After a tour of our cellar and tasting of our Destination Brands portfolio, our tour of the Goose Ridge Estate concluded with special access to our Master Distiller Brian Morton and a few special projects he has in the pipeline. What started as an homage to our father Arvid Monson with the creation of our VIDO Vodka has quickly turned into a newfound passion of the third and fourth generation of Monsons, creating yet another connection back to our estate land and family history. We launched VIDO Vodka in 2020 to honor Arvid Monson, a visionary, farmer and businessman. Known by friends and family as Vido, he always dreamed of producing his own premium vodka. VIDO Vodka is a grape to glass product made from our estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon wine grapes. Distilled through multiple 25ft columns to a purity of 96% abv (192 proof), VIDO Vodka is freeze filtered before hand bottling. This process uses a proprietary blend of dusted carbon before it rests for several weeks to assure a smooth and mellow finish. Since introducing VIDO to the market, it has since become the premium vodka partner of the Seattle Kraken and Climate Pledge Arena.
Feather & Folly is our newly launched gin that also begins its journey as a pure grape neutral spirit made from our estate grow Cabernet Sauvignon. Our proprietary recipe offers a soaring and seductive gin experience. Feather & Folly is copper pot distilled in small batches three times to proudly showcase its local and thoughtfully sourced botanicals from around the world, garnering its bright profile from ethically sourced juniper berries, angelica, black lime, coriander, licorice root and orange zest. Available online, in our tasting rooms and a West Coast retailers.
We have so much on the horizon at Monson Ranch Distillers, and look forward to sharing more of the story with you at the beginning of the new year. In the meantime, we hope you get a chance to try our 5 Arrow VSOP Brandy. This is our very special double pot distilled brandy, also made with 100 percent estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. It is barrel aged in French oak for over four years, giving the bottling its VSOP designation (Very Superior Old Pale). Cheers!
The Harvest Dinner Celebration
Our Goose Gap Harvest Dinner was the perfect combina tion of exceptional wines, delicious food, beautiful views, and of course, wonderful company. The event took place at our family park on our estate and kicked off with passed hors d’oeuvres paired with our wines, along with featured cocktails made with our ultra-premium VIDO Vodka and newly released Feather & Folly Gin. We also provided a sneak peek at our 5 Arrow VSOP Brandy.
As the sun set, folks gathered at their tables for a dinner highlighting hyper-local ingredients, including an arugula and endive salad with Monson family apples. The main course was New York Steak featuring Monson beef alongside smashed potatoes and Walla Walla sweet onions, followed by a dessert of apple crisp, once again made with Monson apples. Each course was paired impeccably with a selection of our Goose Ridge wines, making the perfect end to a perfect day. We feel a new tradition is on the horizon with this Harvest Dinner. We hope to see you all next year!
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