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Smockshop Band

The intensity of a place's geography corresponds to the evocative power of its wine. The Columbia Gorge is a potential paradise for wine production. The wonderful things in nature are intimately situated together. This expresses itself on a scale that is both majestic, as in the connection between the two great mountains and the Columbia and in the wonderfully small and intricate.

Some terroirs speak in gradations of nuance. Burgundy is like this. A small swale or windbreak is capable of inducing maddeningly subtle provocations. The gorge is the opposite. As one races from sea level to alpine heights and moves from rainforest to desert the change is dramatic. Nearly any expression of wine is possible. The Hood River Valley is eerily similar to the Napa Valley of 70 years ago, cooler, and filled with orchards before the vineyards came. It’s easy to mistake the rocky woodland scrub of Mosier for some of the wild terroirs of Southern France, and Underwood is the only place in the US where one can indulge in cool climate, steep slope, big river winemaking in the style of the Wachau or Rheingau. On volcanic islands such as Sicilia’s Etna or Mt. Tiede in the Canaries one can move from sea level to the solitary volcanic peaks in a very short distance. Hiyu is located at 600ft and a bird can reach the summit of Mt. Hood at 11,242 feet in just 20 miles. The wines express similar alpine and volcanic essences. The comparisons go on and on; with Central Otago, or Alto-Adige, etc., etc. Its one thing to note that all of this is possible in the state of California, but quite another to experience it in an AVA that is less than 5000 acres.

Given all of this possibility the natural thing to do is explore. To seek out new relationships between grape, place and people. Smockshop Band was a name randomly generated by Lewis and Clark on their travels. We happened to discover it on an old map right at the location where our Hood River Valley farm lies. We’ve taken up the name as a vehicle for our explorations of this incredibly diverse place.


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