Rezabek Vineyards, located just north of Battle Ground, recently announced the initial planting of 200 Pinot Meunier grape vines intended for wine production. Roger Rezabek, of the vineyard, believes it could be the first time in history that Pinot Meunier has been planted on a commercial basis in the county.
According to Rezabek, Pinot Meunier is known in the wine-world as the third grape of Champagne. Traditionally, he said sparkling wine is made from Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Sometimes only one of the grapes is used, but most often a blend of two or all three of these grapes is used to produce the Cuvee.
Washington state is the second largest producer of wine and wine grapes in the United States, and the Northern Willamette Valley and Southwest Washington area has become known for producing exceptionally high quality cool-climate wine grapes such as Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay, among others. Clark County currently has 14 registered wineries, and numerous vineyards that dot the landscape, particularly along the Ridgefield-to-Battle Ground corridor in the central part of the county.
Rezabek Vineyards was established in 2010, and is co-owned by Roger Rezabek of Battle Ground and Donna Anderson of Vancouver. The vineyard will eventually include about four acres of wine grapes.
Rezabek knows that Argyle Winery in Dundee, OR and Willakenzie Estate in Yamhill, OR use Pinot Meunier in their blends to produce sparkling wines.
In the Champagne district of France, Pinot Meunier accounts for almost 40 percent of the vineyard area according to curent data. Rezabek said that many people have pointed out the similar latitude and growing conditions between the Northern Willamette Valley and Burgundy, France where historically, some of the greatest Pinot Noir is produced, but Rezabek said few have asked what is just north of Burgundy?
“It is the Champagne district of France,’’ Rezabek said. “And what is just north of the Willamette Valley? The answer is, Clark County, Washington.’’
Perhaps Southwest Washington, Rezabek thinks, might just become a great place for sparkling wine production.
Rezabek hopes to make sparkling wines, using traditional methods, that will become world renowned, but the vines planted this summer will take several years to mature. It also will require anywhere from 1-5 years for the wine intself to go through the slow process of changing from a newly-fermented wine, gain it’s sparkles, and then mature to become an exceptional bottle to grace the tables of Washington residents.
But someday, Rezabek hopes, “when Wasington has become known for its extraordinary, sumptuous sparkling wines, rivaling the best of Champagne and Napa Valley, historians can point to the day of his recent planting, and say, the first Pinot Meunier in Clark County was planted at Rezabek Vineyards in 2012.
For more information about Rezabek Vineyards, email email@example.com or call (503) 467-1261. Rezabek Vineyards is located at 11700 NE 279th St., in Battle Ground.
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