We are so pleased to be able to collaborate with the Sauer family on our inaugural Cabernet Sauvignon. We are so fortunate to be allowed to take advantage of the culmination of their decades of experience on Red Willow Vineyard. And we are privileged to share with you their palpable love of land and family that brings an ineffable quality to their grapes, which we hope to convey with our wine, Ex Animo.
Driving through the endless farmland of Yakima Valley, you will pass produce stands offering a cornucopia of tomatoes and squash, apples and melons. Architectural trellises of hops stream by in row after row. Wide pastures stretch over the horizon dotted with lazy cows. A pair of rocky ridges stretch east from the Cascades cradling a verdant valley between them which is home to the Yakama Indian Reservation. Near the western crux of the valley, a turn onto a gravel road winds its way up the sun-drenched south-facing slope, and fields of grain transition to carefully tended grape vines. You have arrived at Red Willow vineyard.
The Sauer family has worked this land for four generations, and in fact much of the fields of asparagus and potatoes surrounding the vineyard are still farmed by aunts, uncles, and cousins of the vintners. Their connection to the land is deeply ingrained, and as they look toward a fifth generation of family farmers, they naturally have the commitment to the long view that exceptional vineyards require. They were pioneers, planting Cabernet Sauvignon in 1973, and have consistently pushed the Washington wine industry forward, introducing new varieties over the decades, experimenting with new viticultural techniques and painstakingly discovering the optimal methods for their entirely unique terrior.
“We are honored that Mike and Rachel would choose to highlight wines from Red Willow. Mike, following the footsteps of David Lake, actively follows the seasonal progression of the grapes and chooses to emphasize terroir and vineyard identity. With friendship and common purpose, we look forward to this partnership in making wines of elegance and distinction.” - Mike Sauer, Red Willow Vineyard Owner