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by Fred McMillin
for May 29, 1998
Winery of the Week
Preston of Washington
...Anthony Dias Blue in American Wine
Twenty years and 400 medals later, it's clear that Bill Preston built a winner. What are some of the reasons?
Climate—The New York Times tells us: "Most Washington grapes are grown between the 45th and and 47th parallels, or about the same latitudes as Bordeaux and Burgundy. This means more sunlight, which provides a beneficial longer growing cycle. It also means more stress for the vines than in milder California. Vines that must struggle to survive always produce finer wines."
Farming Know-How- Bill ran his old, established family farm and irrigation machinery business. Thus, he developed creative methods for the "care and feeding" of his vines. (Note: There IS water in arid eastern Washington; the Columbia River flow is twice that of Egypt's Nile.)
Family Dedication—While Bill and Joann Preston created all of this, their grown children play major roles today. Son Brent is now the winemaker and daughter Cathy is director of marketing. Here are comments on what she sells.
Merlot—As far back as 1982, critic Roy Andries De Groot said Preston's
was "the best American Merlot I've tasted. "
Name—Preston Premium Wines
How does the Preston Vineyard climate compare with that of the central Napa Valley? The total amount of growing heat is about the same. During the summer, the sun shines about two hours longer in Pasco than it does in St. Helena.
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