Good Fruit Grower

December 2011

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Grapes Washington D Jones of on't let the magnitude of Jones of Washington Vineyard and Winery fool you. With vineyards spread about a 45-mile radius from Quincy to Mattawa, and the winery housed inside an expansive custom bulk winery, everything seems large-scale. But it's a hands-on, family-run operation that focuses on quality and bringing out the best in its grapes and wines. The Jones story starts with Jack Jones who moved to Washington's Columbia Valley as Jack Jones has vertically integrated his grape farming— from vineyard to premium winery to bulk winemaking— all within 15 years. by Melissa Hansen a child in 1954. In the early 1950s, and even through the 1970s, the Columbia Basin rep- resented opportunity, with plentiful water from the Grand Coulee Dam and the Colum- bia Basin Project and loess soils suitable for a wide variety of crops. Jack's father grew potatoes and other field crops and built a successful fresh potato storage and packing operation. When Jack began farming, he diversified beyond field and row crops to plant his first tree fruit orchards in the early 1980s. "In the mid-1990s, I was thinking about expanding again," he said, adding that he was pretty well settled in the potato deal. He considered expanding his apple and cherry acreage, but with interest in wine grapes running high in the state, he planted his first vineyard in 1997 and hasn't stopped yet. Through the years, he also vertically integrated some of the farming operations, building a cold storage facility for tree fruit and adding a winery for the grapes. The Jones farming operation is about as family as a farming business can get. Two sons, Greg and Jeff, are involved (Jeff with potatoes and row crops, Greg focused on the grape and wine side) and daughter Megan helped develop and launch the winery and tasting room. Another daugh- ter is not involved with the family farm. Additionally, Jack is a partner with his brother Mike in some farming aspects, such as the potato processing business and a large orchard. Today, Greg manages more than 1,000 acres of wine grapes. Planting has been continuous, and he has another 60 acres of Riesling to finish planting near Quincy next year. Then, he hopes to take a break from vine- yard planting—maybe. Jack is a planner, and always seems to have another project in mind for Greg to implement. Most of their white varieties are grown near Quincy in the proposed Ancient Lakes American Viticultural Area, while the red varieties are planted near Mattawa in the Wahluke Slope AVA. Whites have proven to do well in the silty loam, glacial soils near Quincy, which is a cooler area than Wahluke. Red varieties on the Wahluke Slope, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Merlot, have performed well in the sandy loam soils and warmer tempera- tures, and the region is developing a repu- tation for growing premium quality red varieties. Uniformity Greg's emphasis in the vineyard is on uniform, balanced vines. His attention to detail is evident in consistent and uniform cluster size, canopy density, and vine growth. Using just one training system in the vineyards—a bilateral cordon with vertical shoot positioning—also lends to uniformity in the Jones of Washington vineyards. 40 DECEMBER 2011 GOOD FRUIT GROWER Jones of Washington winemaker Victor Palencia holds a cluster of Syrah grapes as Jack Jones, center, and his son Greg sample berries. The Syrah were to be picked later that day.

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