Wineries of America
Mountain Dome Winery
Our first crush was in September of 1984 in which we pressed one ton of grapes that were hand harvested in the Columbia River Basin. Following the classic proportions of 1/3 Chardonnay and 2/3 Pinot Noir, we pressed the grapes in our kitchen and fermented them in a small stainless tank. The harvest in 1985 and 1986 also were one ton. We experimented with different yeasts and vineyards. Our current production is 6,000 cases per year. From 1987 to 1990 we used David Ramey, then from Matanzas Creek Winery, as our consultant. Currently our consultant is Raphael Brisbois, who has been the wine maker for the sparkling wines at Iron Horse and most recently at Piper Sonoma. The 9,500 square foot winery and 4,000 square foot geodesic dome were built entirely by our family. The winery is temperature controlled all year around and serves as the "chai" for the barrels and the "caves" for the bottle aging. A 150,000 square foot underground bottle storage cave is planned for 2003. We have state of the art equipment and use both hand riddling and the Northwest's first Gyro-matic riddler from France. This computer controlled riddling machine uses the same program as our hand riddling but works 24 hours a day.
Mountain Dome Winery produces exclusively sparkling wines made in the traditional French methode champenoise. The technique of the second fermentation occuring in the bottle is what creates the tiny bubbles at Mountain Dome. All our grapes are grown in the cooler regions of Washington State. A number of different sites were choosen to bring complexity to our blends while insuring a balance between varietal tastes, sugar and acid levels.
We use three kinds of grapes. The Chardonnay adds softness and complexity to the cuvèe or blend while Pinot Noir contributes the backbone and power to our wines. A small amount of Pinot Meunier adds strength and character. Pinot Meunier is an offshoot of Pinot Noir and commonly used in wines of Champagne. The juice is fermented in small French oak barrels. This allows our wines to gain in depth and complexity while causing them to age well. Small French oak barrels also aid in controlling the temperature of fermentation as well as adding complexity in the taste. We use yeast that is available only from Champagne France to add to the bouquet as well as producing tiny bubbles.
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