ROCKS DISTRICT OF MILTON-FREEWATER

Don Carlo Vineyard lies within “The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater” viticulture area in Umatilla County, Oregon. The viticulture area lies entirely within the Walla Walla Valley viticulture area which, in turn, lies within the Columbia Valley viticulture area. The distinguishing feature is the soil. About 96 percent of the soil is very cobbly loam and gravelly silt loam known as the Freewater soils series. Large amounts of loose, uncemented gravel, cobbles and boulders from very deep layers. The rockiness of Freewater series soils prevent erosion and discourages rot & mildew by allowing water to drain freely. The depth of the soils allows grapevine roots to penetrate 30 feet or more. The numerous cobbles in the soil absorb and store solar radiation, which raises the soil and air temperatures and reduces the risk of frost damage in late spring and early fall. These soils contain high amounts of calcium, titanium and iron which are important nutrients for healthy vine growth.*

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*Courtesy of Kevin R. Pouge, Professor of Geology at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington who was instrumental in the proposal and establishment of the new “Rocks of Milton-Freewater” American Viticulture Area.