In The News

The Benefits of Owning a Vineyard in the Columbia Valley AVA

Industry-leading viticulturist Dick Boushey performed a detailed site assessment of Dream Big Vista Vineyard, excerpts from which are reflected in this article. His full assessment is available on request.


We know that investing in viticulture is a big decision and that location is everything to fulfill the financial success of your vineyard dream and investment. Dream Big Vista Vineyard is a 160± acre property in the Columbia Valley AVA near The Dalles, Oregon. With Oregon wines already known on the world market, Dick Boushey’s industry opinion is that this specific area is “an up-and-coming viticultural destination.” The area’s laid-back charm and stunning scenery draw people in, and Portland is close, just 90 minutes away. According to Boushey, “It is rare to find a large, quality vineyard property like this one with water rights,” and this property is a spectacular value.

vineyard rows oregon dream big vista vineyard


The Columbia Valley AVA is as diverse as it is beautiful, encompassing approximately eleven million total acres. With the Cascade Mountains to the west and the Columbia River and its tributaries meandering through it, this beautiful valley was created by the Missoula floods, which deposited a deep silt soil into the region. Coupled with a semi-arid climate, this well-drained, sandy/silty loam provides the ideal terroir for growing full-bodied and balanced grapes, allowing the vines to develop deep, strong roots. During the growing season, warm days and cool nights create the perfect combination for ripening. With a site average of 2,800 growing degree days, approximately 14 inches of annual rainfall, and, according to Boushey, good air drainage affording “low risk for frost and freeze damage to vines,” Dream Big Vista Vineyard offers a comprehensive viticultural opportunity. 


Situated in the rolling hills east of The Dalles on the Columbia River, Dream Big Vista Vineyard’s site elevation ranges from 775 to 1,120 feet. Boushey detailed that “the hillsides and broad hilltop provide a range of ripening zones for different varieties and flavor profiles, and make it an ideal site for high-quality aromatic whites on the north slope, and reds on the south slope. The whites would include Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Rhone whites, and the reds, Sangiovese, full-bodied Pinot Noir, Syrah, Tempranillo, and Bordeaux-blend varieties.” Boushey also spoke of Dream Big Vista Vineyard’s “site topography and location [as] well positioned for future climate change, given its geographical transition zone between the maritime west and arid east of the Pacific Northwest.”  

wine grapes oregon dream big vista vineyard

 The property has abundant amenities: irrigation and domestic groundwater rights (due to natural filtration, groundwater is cleaner and causes less pollution than surface water and is also less vulnerable to contamination) that, according to Boushey, are “excellent.” Well and main lines are installed, as well as three-phase electricity. A deer fence surrounds the property, and gravel roads are along planted areas. Both slopes have been sustainably farmed using viticulture practices that consider sun exposure (single-wire trellis for sun/heat protection), water conservation, and the use of cover crops to reduce spraying. Boushey marveled at the perennial grasses planted there, which improve the soil’s water-holding capacity and protect it from erosion, “providing a beneficial biome” and increasing biodiversity in the vineyard.


With substantial infrastructure in place, this vineyard needs little land preparation for planting additional acreage. Of approximately 75±  acres of prime south slope, 20± acres were planted in 2006 with drip irrigation and site-relevant, single-wire trellis; approximately 55 additional bare ground south slope acres are ready to plant. For the roughly 75 acres on the north slope, 15± acres were planted in 2007, ready to prune and train to wire. The remaining 60± acres are open for your future planting.


Again, it is rare to find a large, quality vineyard property like this, especially with such favorable water rights, infrastructure in place, and close to a major metropolitan city and international airport, with the additional benefit of being in a historical fruit-growing area. Boushey closed by saying, “This would be an excellent opportunity to acquire a vineyard with some production already established and low development costs to plant additional acreage.


Dream Big Vista Vineyard Call to Action


More about Dick Boushey:


Dick Boushey has grown wine grapes in the Yakima Valley for over 40 years and is considered one of the preeminent viticulturists in the Pacific Northwest. Grapes grown in his Boushey Vineyard have been used to produce some of the most critically acclaimed Washington wines, with the name Boushey Vineyard regularly being featured on vineyard-designated labels. Paul Gregutt, wine writer for the Seattle Times and Wine Enthusiast, lists Boushey Vineyard as one of the top ten vineyards in the entire state. Dick develops vineyards, manages, and consults for a number of well-known wine producers up and down the Columbia Valley, including notables in the Red Mountain AVA. He also regularly serves as an advisor for wine industry firms and investors throughout Washington.


Dick currently serves on the Washington Wine Commission Board as Chairman of the Research Committee, is on the Wine Research Advisory Committee, which oversees grape and wine research programs in the state, is on the Auction of Washington Wines Board, and has been involved with many other industry organizations and activities.


Dick has been the recipient of several distinguished industry awards: the “Walter Clore Award” from the Washington State Grape Society; Washington State Wine Commission’s “Grower of the Year”; Wine & Spirits “Grower of the Year”; Eric Hanson Memorial Award from the Washington Association of Wine Grape Growers; “Honorary Grower Chair” for Children’s Hospital Auction of Washington Wines; and “Industry Service Award” from the Washington Wine Grape Growers.

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