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Fidelitas Wines


 

Jess Zander
 
November 21, 2018 | Jess Zander

5 Things We Are Grateful For

1 – Our Members

Fidelitas fans made this year one to remember.  We launched a brand-new way for our members to buy Fidelitas wines; allowing the Club to select from our newest releases and create their own, unique allocation.  Through the loyalty and dedication of our Club, we have now (nearly!) sold out of every wine we released in 2018.  These faithful, loyal, and true members push us to keep ‘making our best wine yet’ as we look for new ways to surprise and delight them in vintages to come.

Magna Dinner, Red Mountain, July 2018

Summer in the City, Seattle, August 2018

2 – Charlie

Charlie is what makes our jobs easy.  Obviously, he makes amazing wines, and that is the best part.  But he’s also just an amazing guy to work for and work with.

This year, Charlie was awarded 2018 Vintner of the Year by his peers at the Auction of Washington Wines.  This recognition gave credit to the 30+ harvests he has committed to making wine in Washington.  Charlie’s effort and dedication, along with that of his peers, is what continues to advance the Washington wine industry.

Charlie Hoppes, Honorary Vintner, and Marshall Edwards, Honorary Grower, at the Auction of Washington Wines, August 2018

Skye, Jess, Will, Charlie, and Michelle at the AWW Picnic and Barrel Auction, August 2018

 

3 – Red Mountain

We call this tiny AVA home.  At just 4,040 acres, with nearly every plant-able acre now under vine, this is a really special place.  Charlie often remarks that there are only a few growing regions in the world where you can stand in one spot and see the whole AVA, block by block.  The unique terroir, devoted growers, and outstanding neighboring wineries, have established Red Mountain as one of the most premium wine producing regions in the world.

Fidelitas Estate Vineyard on Red Mountain, September 2018

Estate Vineyard Dinner, September 2018

4 – Team Fidelitas

We’d be nowhere without our staff!  On a very personal level, I am so grateful to have such a dedicated, positive, and all around great team representing Fidelitas every day.  They tell our story and share the wines with our customers, sweep the floors, pack boxes, haul wine, make dinner reservations, throw parties, and SO MUCH MORE.

Team Fidelitas Staff Vineyard Tours, July 2018

Team Fidelitas at the Mariners, June 2018

Team Fidelitas of the Future: Charlie and Brynn, January 2018

5 – Wine

Seems simple enough.  As a winery, you make wine, you pour wine, you sell wine.  But our wines were somehow extra special this year and I am thankful for that. 

10 of the 19 wines we released in 2018 were sold exclusively to our members in Club allocations, meaning they never even made it into the tasting rooms.  We had exceptional releases such as varietal Malbec from Quintessence Vineyard, intense Cabernet from Blackwood Canyon Vineyard, old vine Merlot from some of the oldest blocks on Red Mountain, found in Kiona and Ciel du Cheval Vineyards, and of course our own Fidelitas Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon.

Washington wine is growing.  Red Mountain wine is growing.  But, Charlie’s longstanding relationships with growers allows us to select fruit from specific blocks to make exceptional wines for our members, and this is what sets Fidelitas’ wines apart.

Fidelitas 2018 Releases, start to finish!

Time Posted: Nov 21, 2018 at 10:04 AM
Jess Zander
 
October 3, 2018 | Jess Zander

Harvest Over The Years: He Said/She Said

I got a text from Charlie at 6:15 this morning with picutres of him doing pump overs.  At that hour, I'm still dragging and dealing with the kids.  Charlie's picture, however, showed him smiling, looking at the soon to be wine, while it's still dark outside.  Is he a little bit insane?  Maybe.  But I'm starting to realize that is what harvest is all about.

Here are some memories of harvest over the years from both Charlie and his wife, Terri.  Raising 4 kids and being a small business owner is no joke.  Throw in some 14 hour work days, 6 days per week, and that's just fun for the whole family.

What were some of your first impressions those first few harvests, starting in 1988?

CHARLIE: It’s always been intense. My first few vintages were crazy, super busy at a big place like Langguth. I was thrown in to the mix quickly, running the crush pad before I really knew what I was doing.  That’s Mike Januik’s fault…it was really overwhelming and exhausting.  12-14 hours per day with just Sundays off.  After the first few years, I was much more comfortable.  Especially being at Ste. Michelle, where the staff works like a machine to make it all happen.

Harvest this year seems like a constant juggling act. I’m thinking about 10 days out while Mitch is trying to figure out where we are putting the grapes that are coming in tomorrow.  Hillary is constantly focused on the day to day…getting each wine through fermentation. On any given day, we’re doing 70 lots at a time.  Pump overs started at 6 today, and at 9:30 he’s still going.  We’ll start this all again at about 2:30 this afternoon.

I’m looking at the new guys and they really don’t know what they are getting in to.  Not only is in physically exhausting, but mentally.  But, they all come out with a greater appreciation.  And I think it gets in to their blood.  Some of the guys are turning around to do southern hemisphere harvest too.

TERRI: Was it intense?  Yes!  You put your life on hold during harvest.  Not only is he gone physically but also mentally, but yet he was always there if we needed him to be.  We felt like he was here and were his priority. Intensity for me was the worry of his long-distance commutes throughout different harvests - from Walla Walla, Mattawa, Wenatchee, etc.  Once I heard him come through the door my prayers were answered - driving with so much fatigue isn’t the best!

Langguth/Saddle Mountain in 1988

Did you ever think that Charlie was insane for making a career shift from Boeing? 

TERRI: Never - even if fall can be bittersweet each year. My wish to experience a fall foliage trip in New England with Charlie someday will just have to be a trip to the vineyards!

What are some traditions at home or in the cellar surrounding harvest?

CHARLIE: I always work on my birthday but we always managed to have a party when I came home at night.  My birthday and harvest have always been closely related for me.

At the cellar, we’re playing Shakira every morning.  This started for me at Three Rivers in 2000 with Holly Turner after she had worked harvest in Mendoza.  We’re able to do it with Spotify now…which we definitely weren’t doing in 2000.  Nowadays, the cellar crew is requesting it to start the day.

I also try to help the crew out during harvest.  Sometimes we’ll do a big bbq for lunch or even go out to breakfast, just to break the monotony.  Many years, we’ll also host a lunch for the vineyard crew once the grapes are off the vines.

TERRI: I always remember when our family was young that Halloween was a big deal because Dad was finally home! Harvest was ending, and we would be normal again.

Are there any times Charlie fell asleep at the dinner table after working in the cellar all day?  Any other dirt on him?

TERRI: No - no funny story to share about falling asleep.  He was just always trying to stay awake once he gets home!  And then always waking in middle of the night for a while thinking.  He is never able to really rest until end of harvest.

Is there anything you both like to do as you finish up the harvest season? 

TERRI: It’s hard to unwind at the end of harvest, especially when you are working many, many weeks with no days off.  We just enjoy the time to rest and catch our breath!  We’re always looking forward to holidays with family and can’t wait for a new grandbaby coming into our world in a few weeks!

CHARLIE: Just take the time to slow down.  You know, in some ways Terri is the one who has really put in all the work.  She takes over and raises the family, which is not easy, during fall especially. 

This year, we are just really looking forward to meeting our new grandbaby.

 

 

 

Time Posted: Oct 3, 2018 at 10:14 AM
Jess Zander
 
August 14, 2018 | Jess Zander

Cheers, Charlie!

This week, we are celebrating Charlie as the Auction of Washington Wines’ 2018 Honorary Vintner.  And, in the midst of our excitement and party planning and wine coordination, Charlie is keeping on as his steady self, preparing for another harvest in Washington…his 31st to be exact.

I recently celebrated my 10-year anniversary with Charlie and Fidelitas.  It was so exciting for me.  It was the longest job I had ever held, and I know that there is limitless growth and opportunity working with Charlie.  However, I now realize that my decade is nothing in comparison to his three in Washington.  And if I feel so inspired by my 10 years, there have to be so many others out there who have been influenced and taught by Charlie over the years. 

Here is a bit of what Team Fidelitas had to say about Charlie:

I first met Charlie while working for Bob and Roger Gamache.  I had recently completed my degree at WSU, and was eager to start my winemaking career.  Charlie was always supportive and encouraging, and now 12 years later we are getting ready to start our 9th harvest together.  Along the way I have had an amazing opportunity to not only learn about wine and winemaking, but more importantly how to be a good husband, father, and member of the community.   I will always be thankful for all that he has shared with me.  - Mitch Venohr, Associate Winemaker

There is so much to say about Charlie as a person and not just his talent as a winemaker. Having the blessing of knowing and working for him for almost eight years has given me a perspective from behind the scene as to his character; who he is on the inside.  I have observed Charlie’s kindness to others, his friendly easy-going nature always respectful to a situation and people around him.  He is so very generous of his time and knowledge for others and he has a funny bone that comes out with wit and ease.  He also lives his life with integrity, true to his beliefs inside and out before family, friends, and coworkers. It is my honor to work for this compassionate man.  - Kathleen Batchelder, Team Fidelitas

I met Charlie in 2010, sitting across a picnic table at a little restaurant in Benton City, where I boldly convinced him that I could build a laboratory in his new winery. From that moment on, Charlie has supported all of my crazy mad scientist experimentation and winemaking ideas. He understands my passion for learning and lends me the platform to develop new techniques that drive our winemaking style. I often get an eye roll and a laugh when I tell him, "I have an idea" and lead him to the white board in my office. Then he says, "ok, lets try it...."  - Hillary Sjolund, Associate Winemaker

From hearing Charlie's drive to make 'the best wine yet', to traveling to various wine regions together for education, and learning how connected he is throughout the industry, or sharing beautiful bottles of wine over great meals, every experience with Charlie is awe-inspiring. I feel so honored to be a part of his Fidelitas family. Some of my favorite memories are from spending time with Charlie during harvest on Red Mountain last year, drinking our morning coffee, and listening to him talk about all of the careful and meticulous processes that he puts into each wine we make. Charlie's passion, paired with his overwhelming kindness and humbleness is inspirational for us all.  - Michelle Marsh, Fidelitas DTC Manager

It's been a pleasure working with Charlie over the years, he has showed me time and time again, how meaningful and supportive the wine industry can be. His kindness and generosity reflect in every aspect of his business. It's also eye opening to work for someone who constantly has nice things to say about his peers, he is always positive and shows us daily that we can't do our jobs without the support of everyone who works in the wine industry. It all starts from the ground up!  Charlie has also taught me how to enjoy wine and champagne (to never get a house palate) and to always stop and enjoy the simple things in life! His general passion for a nice bottle of wine, sharing a meal with family and friends over great conversation is what it's all about!  - Chelsea Larson, Fidelitas Red Mountain Tasting Room Manager

When I first met Charlie he had been named Winemaker of the Year by Seattle Magazine just one year prior. Now, 5 years later, he has been named Honorary Vintner by The Auction of Washington Wines. In these past few years working with him I have learned that there is no one more deserving of these amazing titles than Charlie himself. I'm lucky enough to witness his profound love for Washington wine, Fidelitas, and his family. It's been an honor to say I've learned from Charlie and because of him, there is no other industry I would rather work in.  - Skye Dissette, Fidelitas Club Concierge

I thank my dad, Charlie, for laying out the path for me and the many second generation Washington winemakers.  His work ethic, thousands of hours spent in the vineyard and winery, determination to never cut corners, commitment to making the best wines in the world, and relentless joy for wine-making are incredibly inspiring.  Here's to another 30 years of making wine in our home state!  - Will Hoppes, Fidelitas Woodinville Tasting Room Manager, Charlie’s kid, and second generation Fidelitas

My own personal story began more than 10 years ago, when my interview with him consisted of driving around Red Mountain vineyard sites in his dusty pickup.  Listening to him that afternoon, I saw his passion for making wine in Washington state and knew instantly that I had so much to learn.  Since then, he has become a part of my family, a baby-whisperer for my girls, a mentor, and someone I look forward to awesome new ventures with.  I used to dread when he called me during harvest or blending because I knew he was going to ask about making some crazy wine.  But now I see that it is all a part of the amazing experience of working with Charlie.  There is no recipe, no consistency…just something we call modern craft winemaking that promises to still produce ‘our best wine yet’.

 

 

Jess Zander
 
June 25, 2018 | Jess Zander

Auction of Washington Wines: Win a Full Barrel Winemaking Experience

We are unbelievably proud to recognize Charlie as the 2018 Honorary Vintner for the Auction of Washington Wines. As a part of the celebration at the Gala, we have partnered with Honorary Grower, Marshall Edwards, to create a one of a kind experience where the winning bidder will be able to create a custom barrel of wine. Contact me for more information on how this could become yours!

Own a Piece of Red Mountain: A Vintner’s Experience

Full Barrel Winemaking Experience with Fidelitas and Quintessence Vineyard

This year’s Auction of Washington Wines’ Industry Honorees, Charlie Hoppes and Marshall Edwards have generously donated a full barrel of red wine from the acclaimed Quintessence Vineyard, but that is only a part of this amazing auction lot!

The winning bidder will become an honorary Vintner at Fidelitas. This unique experience will make their winery, your winery, not just for one year, but for years to come, as you harvest, blend, and bottle your own Red Mountain wine.

You will be invited to begin your journey during Harvest 2018. You and your guests will be involved in selecting grapes from Quintessence and Shaw Vineyards on Red Mountain, seeing them through the sorting process, and starting fermentation in the tanks. As the wines age in barrel, join us for your second trip to experience a hands-on blending trial with Fidelitas Winemaker, Charlie Hoppes. You will be able to taste barrel samples and blend with other varietals from the vineyards as the team comes up with their 2018 vintage wines.

The third and final trip will include bottling of your exclusive wines from your personal barrel. After your day on the bottling line, you will have ownership of 25 cases of wines that you can distribute as you see fit. Enjoy with friends, give to employees as gifts, or cellar to enjoy for years to come.

With each visit, two couples will enjoy hotel accommodations, meals, vineyard tours and library tastings to immerse yourself in the history of the winery and vineyard.

This lot includes:

  • One barrel of your own custom created and blended wine (25 cases total!)
  • Label design by an award-winning creative agency
  • Three separate trips to Red Mountain; for harvest, blending, and bottling of your wine. Each trip will be for two couples and includes accommodations and special Red Mountain experiences.

One barrel contains approximately 300 bottles (25 cases) of wine. All Red Mountain experiences are based on a mutually agreed upon date. Transportation to Red Mountain not included.

Time Posted: Jun 25, 2018 at 10:48 AM
Charlie Hoppes
 
April 24, 2018 | Charlie Hoppes

News from the Winery + Vineyards

As we come in to the end of April, I thought I’d take the time to talk a little bit about what’s going on here at the winery and in the vineyard.

We’re working hard in the cellar.  Already, we’ve bottled some of the 2017 whites, including Quintessence Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, which came out of the Ovium Barrel, and later this week will be the Semillon. With the Optu White Wine, we are going to let things age out a little bit longer.  We have equal parts of the Sauvignon Blanc for this blend in our new concrete egg, and in the standard French Oak that we’ve used in the past.  We want to see what each component is like and can bring to the blend and will either use one or the other, or maybe a mixture of both in the final blend.  Overall, we like to give the Optu White just a little more time to pick up some creaminess and a bit more flavor.

On the reds side, we’re doing some testing with letting the 4040 spend some time in the oak upright tanks before bottling.  That blend doesn’t get a bunch of oak aging otherwise, so we’ll see what this ‘flashing’ at the end does as far as boosting the final product.  This is another example of how we aren’t ever following the same recipe and are always willing to try new things to make excellent wines.  Beyond that, in June we’re planning to start bottling some 2016 reds, including that 4040, as well as some Malbec, and Merlot, and then the Cabernets and bigger blends will fall later in to the summer.

4040 spending it's final days in Oak Upright tanks, prior to June bottling

Out in the vineyard we’re starting to see some bud break, and it’s like we’re starting anew.  Like in the fall, when we’re in the cellar and starting to make wine again, you feel like you’re starting a new vintage.  Really, that vintage starts right now when you’re starting to see some growth and are starting to prune things a certain way.  I think one of the things that is great to see is that there is a lot of new planting on Red Mountain.  A lot of the fruit we take, and wines that we make, are from these newer sites.  This includes Quintessence, which was planted in 2010, and we took the first crop in 2012.  Same thing with The Canyons Vineyard, that was planted in 2009, and we took our first crop in 2012 as well.  As these vineyards age out, I think that these wines are going to settle and even out, and we’re excited to work with them long term.

Bud break in the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard

The other thing that is exciting for us to see is getting to third leaf in our new planting of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard.  These are the 9 acres we planted in 2015, that we will now be coming in to perhaps half production this year, based on what we’ve seen so far.  This is really going to give us the chance to see what the wines might be like.  Not only with some new Cabernet Sauvignon clones that we planted out there, like 412, 33, 169, but also some clones 2 and 6 in addition to the original planting of 2, 6, and 8.  We’ll also be looking at how the Merlot is going to come on, as well as the Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc.  We’re really looking forward to seeing how those are going to start turning out and are thinking about the next chapter of the vineyard.

Exploring the new plantings of the Fidelitas Estate Vineyard

Overall, on Red Mountain, things look good.  We’re maybe a little bit behind a normal year, but as we know, a nice little heat boost along the way can push things forward really quickly.  Already, we are scheduled to get to 86 later this week, which is really warm for the end of the April, and believe me, will push shoot growth and get us closer to a normal year.

As far as newly released wines, we are focusing a lot on Quintessence Vineyard right now.  I really think that this is a great vineyard.  The main blocks we take from give us extreme southern aspect, we are working with some great clones, and probably the most essential part of the vineyard, is the human factor on the terroir and what a great job they are doing there.  The Sauvignon Blanc, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon are all tasting great upon release.

Time Posted: Apr 24, 2018 at 12:27 PM
Will Hoppes
 
April 18, 2018 | Will Hoppes

Vendimia 2018 - Making Some Argentinian Malbec

Back in 1988 as a recent graduate from UC Davis' Viticulture and Enology graduate program, my dad was hired by Mike Januik (a fellow Davis grad) at Snoqualmie/Langguth near Mattawa, WA for his first winemaking job.  After doing a harvest at Waterbrook in 1990, he rejoined Mike as a part of the winemaking team at Chateau Ste. Michelle, and worked alongside him for just under a decade, becoming the head red winemaker in '93 as Mike was serving as the head winemaker.  They worked on the the first few vintages of the Col Solare project together from '95 to '98 and helped push Washington onto the world scene with the wines they crafted together during their time at the Chateau.  Itching to start their own projects they both left around 1999, Mike staying on the west side of the state and creating Januik and my dad starting Fidelitas on the eastside.  But you probably know this already, it's been well documented and touted by us throughout years.  

What you may not know is that Mike's son, Andrew, who apparently I spent a lot of time hanging out with when I was too young to remember, has stepped into a winemaking role at Januik, and has his own "Andrew Januik" label since 2011.  He started working part time at the winery when he was 13 and shortly after started working full time during the summers - a sentence that sounds all too familiar to me.  

Since starting to manage our Woodinville tasting room about a year ago I reconnected with Andrew - which felt natural to say least with how much we had in common with our lives following very similar paths.  After many glasses of wine, nights at karaoke bars, times spent dog-sitting for him, and quests to find the best beers in Seattle we became good friends and thought it'd be and awesome idea for me to join him for a Malbec project he had going in the famed Uco Valley region of Mendoza, Argentina.  Not wanting to pass up on the opportunity to travel and learn from a talented winemaker like Andrew it was a no-brainer.  Below are some highlights of past few weeks spent harvesting in Argentina:

We flew into Buenos Aires after a layover in London (this is what happens when you buy tickets at the last minute) and spent 1 night there before heading over to Mendoza.  We spent hours and hours exploring the city with plenty of stops to drink beer and play cards:

Then over to Finca Agostino in Mendoza to check in on Andrew's 2017 Vintage:

Checking our fruit the day before the first pick:

Note how high these Cabernet vines are planted

Malbec

Cabernet

First day of crush at O Fournier

Early Morning Pumpovers with a view

If it weren't for the snow-capped Andes in the background you'd think this was Eastern WA

Before and after pumpovers

With plenty of breaks for empanadas

Inoculation

Thanks to Andrew for letting me tag along. 

There's so much I can take away from this trip to help me in my winemaking journey. 

Make sure to go taste his wines if you haven't yet!

Come see me in the tasing room this weekend!

Time Posted: Apr 18, 2018 at 3:00 PM
Jess Zander
 
March 21, 2018 | Jess Zander

Charlie is Named as the 2018 Honorary Vintner for the Auction of Washington Wines

Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker, Charlie Hoppes, named

2018 Honorary Vintner

by the Auction of Washington Wines

 

As Charlie marks 30 years of making wine in Washington, we are thrilled to announce that he has been named the Honorary Vintner by his industry peers for the 2018 Auction of Washington Wines.

 

This recognition is reserved for people who have exemplified leadership in the industry, and for those who have made significant contributions to the Washington wine community. Charlie shares this honor with the Honorary Grower, Marshall Edwards, who manages Quintessence Vineyard, a favored site for Fidelitas on Red Mountain.

 

“Charlie and Marshall both reflect what makes the Washington wine community so special,” said Shelley Tomberg, Executive Director of AWW. “Their sincerity in building relationships is inspiring, and it results in top-notch, innovative, premium Washington wines that influence the industry on a global scale.”

 


 

We look forward to celebrating Charlie, while supporting the mission of the Auction of Washington Wines, at events coming up this spring and summer on Red Mountain and in Woodinville: LEARN MORE

 

Read more about Charlie's history of Washington winemaking.

Time Posted: Mar 21, 2018 at 12:52 PM
Will Hoppes
 
March 15, 2018 | Will Hoppes

Quintessence Vineyard

With 3 different releases coming out of one of our favorite vineyard sites next month I wanted to look at the history of our relationship with Quintessence vineyard and what makes their site so special.

History

Quintessence is a young site with the first phase of planting taking place in 2010.  The first fruit we pulled from this initial phase was cabernet in 2012 which blew us away with the quality for such young vines.  So much so, that we decided to blend the clones 169 and 191 Cab into a single vineyard Cabernet, and our Optu Red Mountain for that same year was 47% sourced from Quintessence.  This was the beginning of a love affair – since then we’ve made 3 more single vineyard cabs (always sourced from those same French ENTAV clones), 2 single vineyard sauv blancs, a new single vineyard malbec, and likely more vineyard designated wines to come.

Slope

While the general slope of Red Mountain gently angles to the Southwest, Quintessence is slightly more Southeastern facing right into the teeth of the morning sun.  This early morning heat and rocky top layer that retains and reflects that solar energy is why I think Quintessence is consistently one of the first sites to ripen in the AVA and results in extremely concentrated wines across the board.

Management

An incredible vineyard site can only take you so far if it's not placed in the right hands.  Luckily Quintessence has Marshall Edwards to look after it, who like my dad, has over 3 decades of experience managing some of the best vineyards in Washington to draw on.  It's great that the two of them have known each other for so long too, because Marshall enjoys harassing my dad: last time we were there for harvest a couple days before the first pick he told him that "all of the work was done - now don't mess things up."

One of the most unique aspects of Quintessence is all the different clones of Cabernet that are planted there: go wild and explore their interactive map.  In one block you can taste the sweet, bright, red fruit, large clone 8 clusters and walk 10 yards to another block and taste the lower yielding ENTAV clones where the taste of the thick skins and seeds is much more present and the fruit tone darker.

Harvest 2017 - making sure Marshall hadn't messed anything up

Quintessence Clone 8 Cab

Barrel Tasting

Often the winemaking team isn't sure what wines are going to be released for the upcoming year until they go through and taste all of the finished wine in barrel and see if anything jumps out at them.  This is where we get small production releases such as Canyons Malbec, Ciel du Cheval Petit Verdot, Old Vines Merlot, and the upcoming April release Quintessence Malbec which will likely never make it to the tasting bar for long.  

Tasting 2016 Quintessence Cab

More Information

http://www.quintessencevineyards.com/about.php

http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2017/05/09/marshall-edwards-grows-some-of-washingtons-top-wines/

http://www.greatnorthwestwine.com/2014/07/16/marshall-edwards-stands-behind-some-of-largest-washington-vineyards/

 

Time Posted: Mar 15, 2018 at 9:00 AM
Charlie Hoppes
 
December 27, 2017 | Charlie Hoppes

Happy New Year from Charlie

Dear Friends of Fidelitas:

2017 proved to be a great year for Fidelitas. The Fidelitas Estate Vineyard is continuing to develop, and the other vineyards we source fruit from on Red Mountain are outstanding. The future looks bright for the wines we will continue to make.

This fall, in addition to pulling fruit from the 2009 planting, we were able to harvest a little bit from our 2015 Estate Vineyard planting.  We are eager to see how these young wines mature over the months ahead.  Also in September, we released our third Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2014.  If these first three vintages are any indication of the future of our Estate, then the future looks good.  I have been very happy with the wines we have made from our own vineyard. With 2014 being one of the warmest vintages on record, we really looked to make these wines very consistent and a true reflection of Red Mountain.

We also released our last wine ever for Fidelitas from Champoux Vineyard, closing a long term working relationship with Paul and Judy Champoux. With Paul’s retirement following the 2014 vintage, we decided this would be the last Champoux Vineyard wine we would make. This is, to say the least, the end of an era for Fidelitas. We made our first Champoux Cabernet Sauvignon in 2002. In total, we made 27 wines from 13 vintages from Champoux Vineyard. Many of you enjoyed these wines over the years when we expanded our offerings to Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon from Block 1 and our Cabernet Franc based blend we called Magna. Paul and Judy have been great to work with over the years and we all will have lasting memories every time we open these wines from our cellars. Check with any of our team members to see what might still be available from Champoux Vineyard.

Looking forward to 2018, we have many great wines we are extremely excited about from the 2015 vintage of red wines as well as some very unique 2017 white wines to look forward to. As many of you know, we make wines from many sites on Red Mountain, giving us a great cross section of what the mountain has to offer. A few highlights of exciting new offers we will have in the upcoming year will include a 2015 Old Vine Merlot from Ciel Du Cheval and Kiona Vineyards. This wine comes from some of the first plantings on Red Mountain from both the Holmes and Williams families from the mid-1970s. We feel fortunate to have been able to source this fruit and look forward to sharing this with all of you. 2015 will also be the first vintage of Malbec sourced from Quintessence Vineyard. We currently make a Cabernet Sauvignon for this vineyard as well as limited release Sauvignon Blanc. Having the Malbec will be a nice addition. I have had a chance recently to go back and try some of the upcoming 2015 vintage releases and am looking forward to sharing some really stellar wines.

As always, we aim to continually try and improve our wines from Fidelitas. We continue to experiment with oak fermentation, use new barrels we have never worked with before and pushing the envelope in winemaking to continually improve.

Fidelitas exists as a winery because of our faithful customers. Thank you for your continued support. Many of you have been with us from our very first vintages and we truly appreciate your loyalty.  We are All in on Red Mountain!

Happy New Year!
Time Posted: Dec 27, 2017 at 12:01 PM
Jess Zander
 
November 10, 2017 | Jess Zander

Harvest 2017...done!

And just like that, the 2017 harvest is done.  The grapes brought in were lovingly turned in to some top notch juice, and are now nestled in to their barrels to rest for a bit.  We saw our first fruit of the season, Sauvignon Blanc and then Semillon, come in from Klipsun Vineyard just after Labor Day.  Reds started to come in just after that.  Mostly from the eastern facing Quintessence Vineyard, but we worked our way west with the sun, and finished up by picking our own Fidelitas Estate Vineyard in mid-October.  It is wonderful and challenging to have all of our fruit from the smallest, and warmest, AVA in the state.  Everything ripens at about the same time, all vying for space in the cellar.  Charlie and his crew worked around the clock to keep things moving along, and just took their first weekend off a few days ago.

A special shout out to Charlie, who just completed his 30th harvest in Washington state.  His first winemaking job, fresh out of UC Davis, was at the start of crush in 1988 at Langguth/Saddle Mountain, and he’s never looked back.  We have just a handful of winemakers in Washington nowadays who can claim three decades, and I’m proud to be working with one of them.  When I asked him about this 2017 harvest, here is what he said:

"This has the potential to be one of my top 5 vintages. Already, the wines are showing great promise, like those in 2009 or 2012. In 2017, we had cooler weather than recent vintages, and longer hang times which really led to the development of flavors. It was a lower crop overall, contributed to the high quality of fruit we brought in. Of course, we still need time to see how they age out, but everyone is blown away by it now." - Charlie Hoppes, Fidelitas Owner + Winemaker

 

 

Time Posted: Nov 10, 2017 at 11:10 AM