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Production: (1997) ~8k cases, (1996) ~5k cases
Vineyards: 50 acres planted (1998), expanding to 200
Distribution: (planned) Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Chicago, New York, Washington D.C., Madison WI, Dallas TX, and L.A.
Keith Pilgrim received his degree from U.C Davis in the early 80's, but then went to work as a geological consultant for a firm in Redmond WA. By the early nineties, he decided he wanted to put his enology degree to work and pursue building his own vineyard and winery.
In 1993, he began developing a vineyard on Red Mountain, and named it Terra Blanca as the soils of the area have high calcium carbonate concentrations and tend to appear very light colored to the eye. Fifty acres of vines are in with another 200 to be planted over the next 5-7 years. 1997 was the first harvest because just as the vineyard was ready to begin producing, it was frozen to the ground in the great freeze of 1996.
Although the winery was due to open in time for Yakima Valley Barrel Tasting weekend in 1996, they didn't yet have the tasting room building! Sometimes even with an extremely ambitious and energetic individual like Keith, things just don't get done on schedule. Keith's ambition is obvious when you first visit the facility. The winery is large, practical and spectacular! Big equipment, lots of tankage, and a tasting room with a lovely view above the valley. The facility also features the first wine aging tunnels in Washington State with a capacity of around 1100 barrels.
Assistant winemaker: Dave Harvey
The Wines: Current releases (Spring 1998)
Keith Pilgrim 1993-present
Of special note:
With over seventeen thousand square feet, the winery facility includes the first barrel storage caves in Washington with a capacity of over 1000 barrels. The facility is designed to allow for gentle handling of the grapes with the white grapes routed directly to press and many of the reds fermented in open top fermenters with the caps hand-punched.
The winemaking philosophy at Terra Blanca is fairly simple... start with high quality grapes, treat gently, ferment utilizing multiple yeasts, allow for solids contact to develop flavor profiles and finally rack, fine, and filter only as necessary. Allow the grapes to express their terrior without inundating with excessive new oak. The resulting wines exhibit balance, depth, complexity and structure.
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