The vineyard lies 2 miles north of Walla Walla at the point where the valley transitions to rolling hills. Elevation is between 1050 and 1200 feet, and the land slopes to the south and west.

The soil is extremely diverse. A healthy dose of volcanic ash that was deposited following the eruption of Mt. Mazama 7700 years ago dominates the bottom portion of the vineyard soil. This eruption formed the caldera in Southern Oregon now known as Crater Lake. At a depth of three feet there is a layer of undisturbed ash that is 6 inches thick. This soil has the same texture and smell as ash cleaned out of a fireplace.

Loess deposited by wind provides topsoil for the hillside and at the top of the hill lies a knob of clay. It is rare to find such a diversity of soil types in one spot, which is why Jay & Doug can make an exceptionally complex wine from a single vineyard.

The site also has excellent air drainage, which reduces the risk of frost damage. Rainfall averages 16 inches annually, so a small amount of supplemental irrigation is provided via drip system.

Because of the diversity of soil and differences in the microclimates—from the top of the hill to the bottom—the vineyard must be closely managed. Jay’s experience with this particular piece of ground began while changing sprinkler pipes when he was 12 years old, and this experience and respect for the terroir can be tasted in the wines produced at Dumas Station.

Map of Minnick Hills Vineyard from the Walla Walla Valley Wine Alliance.