The Story of Washington’s Columbia Valley Soils

Fifteen thousand years ago during the last Ice Age, an enormous two thousand foot high ice dam formed near what is now the northern border of Montana and Idaho. When the ice dam weakened and erupted due to the enormous pressure from Lake Missoula, a giant wall of water equal to ten times all the world’s rivers — the Missoula Floods — ripped through what are now central Idaho, southern Washington and northern Oregon.

A rich brew of minerals and silts were created as these waters churned toward the Pacific Ocean. Easterly-blowing winds then lifted these deposits from western Oregon and Washington back to what is now the Columbia and Willamette Valleys. Thus the soils for our Single Vineyard Rieslings were born.

There’s a reason that Pacific Rim’s home is in the Columbia Valley — the region provides ideal terroir for Riesling. Soils found nowhere in the world combined with an arid climate with cool evenings year-round are the perfect ingredients for growing world-class Riesling. And the vineyards we’ve selected for our Single Vineyard Rieslings represent the absolute best of the best: Wallula, Solstice and Selenium Vineyards.

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View slideshow images of the Missoula Floods (NEXT button)

A 2,000 foot high dam of glacier ice gave way under the massive pressure of Lake Missoula.

Cascade Range volcanoes belched ash that blotted out the sun.

Mammonths by the hundreds were swept to their deaths by the floods.

Landscapes were changed forever by the mighty power of the torrents.

The earliest Americans witnessed the cataclysms at their peril.

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