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Ask anyone in the Washington wine industry to name the best vineyards in the state, and Champoux (pronounced “sham-POO”) will be very high on that list. Ask about the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the region, and this site may be number one.
Champoux is also one of the oldest vineyards in Washington. Established in 1972 by Don and Linda Mercer, the property’s current namesake, Paul Champoux, joined as vineyard manager in 1989. Paul and his wife, Judy, began leasing the land in 1993, and then purchased the property in partnership with the Powers family and four other leading wineries in 1996.
The vineyard is located in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, about five miles north of the Columbia River. (For map fanatics, Champoux can be found at 45.9 degrees N, 119.9 degrees W). It spans an elevation ranging from 550 to 700 feet above sea level, and the soils are a sandy-loam mix in which grapevines thrive. Like much of Eastern Washington, the location is very sunny, very dry (only 6 to 9 inches of annual precipitation), and very warm (3000 degree-days of heat accumulation).
From a modest beginning of just seven acres, Champoux has grown to a footprint of 185 acres planted to vines. About 90% of the production is red, and the most prevalent variety by far is Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition, there are smaller plantings of Merlot and Cabernet Franc; the only two whites are Chardonnay and Muscat Canelli.
For serious viticulture enthusiasts, initial plantings were as wide as 12’ x 6’, while more recent work is laid out 9’ x 4’. Trellising is bilateral cordon VSP and T-top, while irrigation is by micro-sprinklers and drip. Yields average three tons per acre for reds and five tons per acre on whites.
Paul and Judy employ five people full-time, with approximately 20 more joining them on a seasonal basis. They manage a world-class vineyard operation, and we are extremely proud of our collaboration with them. You can taste the fruit of this partnership in every bottle of Powers Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve designated with Champoux Vineyard on the front.
Paul and Judy Champoux at their namesake Vineyard
To learn more about Champoux Vineyard, visit the website: www.chateauchampoux.com
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