Ciel Du Cheval Vineyard was first planted in 1975 and there are currently 102 acres under cultivation. Andrew Will has been sourcing fruit from this Red Mountain vineyard since its first vintage in 1989. In particular, it was the Andrew Will Ciel du Cheval Merlot that garnered the attention of critics and reviewers in the winery’s earliest years.
When the great Spokane Flood formed the Red Mountain region, the Scooteney Channel backed up leaving deposits of gravel and huge stones. The Ciel du Cheval soil is composed of loam on gravel beds which extend 12 feet or more. The high calcium carbonate content of the soil, according to vineyard owner Jim Holmes, is the key to the high quality of the fruit. This calcareous soil inhibits excessive vigor in the vines resulting in smaller berries and moderate canopies.
On average, this vineyard gets 2950 heat units per year making it the warmest site we work with. It is the Ciel du Cheval Merlot which is the first fruit to be harvested at crush.
|Vineyard Manager||Richard Holmes|
|Soil type||High pH due to calcium carbonate. Sandy loam on top|
|Climate / microclimate||Semi arid desert – 4-6” annual rain|
|Average Heat Units||2950|
|Exposition and altitude of the vineyards||
Slight SW. vines run 10 degrees off N/S
|Vine Training system||Fan trellising, bilateral cordon|
|Average age of vines||32 years|
|Average yield in acre||3.5 tons|
|Plants per acre||625|
|Average harvesting time||3 weeks|