Washington State and Columbia Valley
The Columbia Valley is a winemaker’s dream, with low rainfall and long sunny days during the peak of summer. When paired with the diurnal shift—hot days and long, cool nights—the result is concentrated and well-pronounced flavor that locks in perfectly balanced acidity. This largest and most diverse viticultural region in Washington State offers a full artists’ palette for our winemaking team.
The Vineyard Team
Dustin Tobin, Director of Vineyard Operations. Dustin grew up working with his family at Dave Tobin Farms in Grandview, Washington and studied viticulture and enology at Walla Walla Community College and Washington State University. In 2020, Dustin was elected Vice Chair of the Washington Winegrowers board, and serves as our director of vineyard operations for the Browne Family Estate vineyard, along with many other vineyards from which Browne Family wines are sourced.
Brittany Komm, Senior Viticulturist & Vineyard Manager. Brittany grew up in East Wenatchee, Washington, the Apple Capital of the World, and was born into a family that had farming in its blood. She worked may harvests picking fruit in her grandparents’ diverse orchard. Brittany was quickly recruited from the Washington State University to work with Precept Wine in 2014 upon completion of her Master of Science degree. Her scholastic awards are numerous and noteworthy. In 2015, Brittany co-authored an online guide for the WSU Extension on commercial vineyard yield estimation with Michelle Moyer and also had her thesis work published in the highly regarded American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. Today Brittany continues to work closely with her alma mater, working with students and assisting on new vineyard trials. Brittany’s unyielding energy and expertise positioned her as the collector and organizer of field data and she has been instrumental in assisting with crop prediction among many other pursuits. She has served as Precept’s Senior Viticulturist since 2017 and was promoted to Vineyard Manager for Browne Family Estate Vineyard in 2018. In 2020, she was elected to serve on the board of the Washington State Grape Society.
Browne Family Estate Vineyard
The estate-grown grapes of our vineyard, planted in 2009, display terroir-driven flavors distinct from elsewhere in Walla Walla. Originally homesteaded by Uriah Corkrum in the Spring Valley, sprigs of wheat still perk up from the ground at will.
AVA: Walla Walla Valley, Spring Valley District
Varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Chardonnay, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Malbec
Planted Acres: 103.1
Water Source: Well
Trellis: Vertical shoot positioning
Soil: The vineyard enjoys 300-foot-deep silt loam with remarkably little sand in its composure; a sticky, wet texture holds moisture exceptionally well. When paired with the diurnal shift—hot days and long, cool nights—the result is concentrated and well-pronounced flavor.
Topography: A southern exposure on both eastern and western ridges draws maximum sunlight for optimal warmth. In deeper ridges, dry-land wheat still grows, which in summer creates a bright flaxen reflection generating heat for vine ripening.
Climate: 12” of rain per year, average 2771 growing degree days
Formerly known as Wallula Vineyards, The Benches is a 750-acre vineyard site located 20 minutes southeast of Pasco on the Washington side of the Columbia River. This vineyard has 27 geologically-formed benches created nearly 20,000 years ago by the Great Missoula Floods. These benches start at an elevation of 1,400 feet and step all the way down to the shore of the Columbia River, creating the most picturesque vineyard in the state. The vineyard is divided into more than 60 blocks producing more than 15 different grape varieties.
Located just a mile outside of the Red Mountain AVA, Skyfall is a 15-year-old vineyard and orchard with plenty of heat units well-suited for red wine production. It is the earliest ripening site for Browne Family Vineyards. In 2014, it underwent a 70-acre expansion after replacing many acres of pre-existing orchards with wine grapes. Reflective light and warm wines from a nearby ridge contribute to the “big red” fame of the area’s wines. Now totaling 165 acres, plantings include Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Dolcetto, Barbera, and Petit Verdot.
Taylor Mag & Klipsun
The Red Mountain AVA is located on a moderately steep slope rising above the Yakima River. The appellation’s loamy soil is rich with calcium and ripens Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Rhône grapes such as Syrah exceptionally well. Taylor Mag Vineyard utilizes a system of high-density planting and single cordon trellising to create fruit with a higher flavor concentration. Not far from Taylor Mag, the famed Klipsun Vineyard, established in 1982, is a 120-acre estate located on Red Mountain’s southwest slope. Its grapes produce some of the most critically-acclaimed wines in Washington State.
This 800-acre vineyard in the Horse Heaven Hills is a bone-dry, sandy site atop a steep, windy bluff overlooking the Columbia River. Elevation rises from 300 to 1,000 feet. Alder Ridge is known for its exceptionally long hang time and a moderating river effect on summer heat spikes and winter freezes. Red varietals develop tougher grape skins, resulting in suave but firm tannins and intense flavor. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, and Syrah are some of the more than 28 varieties grown on this estate.
Canyon Vineyard Ranch
A primary source for Browne Family Vineyards and a remarkably versatile vineyard, this Prosser area estate offers excellent air drainage, basalt-laced sandy loam soils, and grapes that impart minerality and deep fruit characteristics. The site of high-performing Malbec and Petit Verdot, the 315-acre vineyard has many plantings dating back more than 20 years, thought to impart intense “old vine” flavor. These are some of the oldest Malbec plantings in the state.
This is one of the highest elevation vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley, providing a microclimate of warm, dry, and breezy conditions. The vineyard utilizes the most current technologies for crop monitoring and farming, while embracing advanced sustainable farming practices. Its topsoils are almost uniformly wind-blown loess, a fine and light soil type low in clay-resembling pellets. Its red varietals are thought to have generous textural heft.