6141 Gap Rd
Phone: (509) 839-2606
Contact: Amber Newhouse
Snipes Mountain was named after cattle king Ben Snipes, who was the first to settle the Yakima Valley and who made his vast cattle business headquarters on the south side of Snipes Mountain in the 1850's. He chose this site because it was the highest point around and from the top of Snipes Mountain he had a panoramic view of the Yakima Valley and his vast herds of cattle. He also couldn’t help but note that the mountain added a little more protection from the elements of Mother Nature that the rest of the valley didn’t seem to offer.
In 1914, William B. Bridgman, two-time mayor of Sunnyside and author of many of the Yakima Valley's irrigation laws, planted table grapes on Harrison Hill. Currently owned by the Al Newhouse family, it is now the second oldest Cab site in the state, planted in 1964, and goes into DeLille Cellar’s Harrison Hill bottle. In 1917 Bridgeman planted vinifera wine grapes on Snipes Mountain. Because of the country's prohibition laws of 1916, and Washington State's even more stingy anti-alcohol sentiments, Bridgman foresaw an increase in demand in wine grapes. While all other grape growers around the Yakima Valley and Columbia Basin were farming table grapes, Bridgman was planting more and more wine grapes. And before long, he was selling them for far greater prices than his neighbors were receiving for their table varieties. By 1934, Bridgman had over 165 acres of wine grapes under contract with more than 70 growers, which prompted him in that same year to open Upland Winery. It was the first winery in Washington east of the Cascades (two others were opened a few months earlier the same year on the west side) and also the first to commercially make European style wine (what we drink today) in Washington State. Upland Winery was making table wine from vinifera grapes, rather than fortified wines made from fruit and labrusca grapes (like Concords). Although these wines only accounted for about 10% of Upland’s volume, it would prove to be a very important stepping stone in Washington’s evolution into a world wine region powerhouse. In other words, the seed was planted.
By 1947, because of financial strain, Bridgman was eventually forced to give into demand and concentrate entirely on fortified wines. And after two extremely harsh winters in a row, ’48-49 and ‘49-’50, Upland Winery sadly began a slow decline. In 1960, Bridgman sold the winery and in 1972, it was shut down. Bridgman died in 1968, but by then he had deeply affected the future of Washington’s wine industry. One way in which he did, involved Dr. Walt Clore, who is regarded by most to be the “Father of Washington Wine.”
Winemaker: Todd Newhouse
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