The Rocks District Story

The Rocks District is receiving international acclaim for its wines; particularly Syrah. The distinctive character of these wines is discernible, and global recognition is fueling the planting of new vineyards. Simply, this growing region has been recognized as one of the most distinctive in the world! What makes the future so exciting is that modern day wine grape farming within the AVA is only a couple decades old. The cultural context is supported by a rich, and diverse, agricultural tradition dating to the early 1900’s. Specialized farming practices have been developed to capture the savory/saline/umami wine qualities derived from these cobbled soils.

Nested within the Walla Walla Valley AVA, The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater resides entirely on the Oregon side of the Valley. This web site is designed to meaningfully engage the growth to come, while providing a primer for virtual, as well as feet-on-the-ground, visits to the Rocks District and Walla Walla Valley. Currently, the Rocks District Winegrowers are 19 members strong: wineries with Rocks District vineyard sources (inclusive of three new growers in development). Most importantly, the Rocks District AVA is distinguished by singularly distinctive wine expressions...each worthy of discovery.

The Rocks District is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries (96%) have been fixed by virtue of a single soil series (Freewater Series) and a single land form (alluvial fan).

  • 279.2 planted wine-grape acres
  • 105 acres in development
  • Top Varieties:
    • Syrah - 126.7 acres (45.4%)
    • Cabernet Sauvignon – 66.3 acres (23.7%)
    • Grenache – 20.9 acres (7.5%)

Final TTB approval of this new 5.9 square mile (3767 acre) AVA within Walla Walla Valley occured February 2015.

The Rocks District is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries have been fixed by virtue of a single soil series and a single land form.

— Dr. Kevin Pogue

The Numbers

24 Wineries with 90+ point wines
35 Vineyards
100 Vertical feet of Subterranean rocks

Ali Mayfield, Co-Founder & Winemaker

Ali Mayfield is one passionate winemaker. This mom of three followed her dream from Indiana, through the halls of education, and into the cellars of many illustrious wineries.

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Ryan Raber, Winemaker

As his interest in wine grew he decided to pursue a career path that would eventually lead him to become the winemaker for Tertulia Cellars.

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Tim Kennedy, Owner

The name for Don Carlo Vineyard comes from Lori’s grandfather Carlo, who emigrated from the Calabria region of Italy in the 1930s and ultimately settled in Seattle. Today, Carlo’s face graces the label.

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Chris Dowsett, Winemaker

“I think about individual rows and blocks, and what makes them distinct, and I then I try to preserve those elements all through the process.”

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Louis Skinner, Winemaker

Start with the highest quality fruit you can, treat it vigorously when necessary, gently most of the time, and stay out of its way but watch it closely.

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A Proper Team

We love wine – particularly old world, earth-driven wines. We’ve long been fans of the Walla Walla appellation and the signature Rhone-style Syrahs being produced.

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Doug Nierman

He views winemaking as an art that should be subtly guided and helped by science. This philosophy fits well with the artisanal winemaking and grape growing style Cecil established for Zerba Cellars with the intent to produce elegant, balanced wines that are food-friendly, approachable, and crafted with environmentally sustainable methods from grape to bottle.

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The Family

Long committed to sustainable farming practices, the Brown family has nurtured a deeply rooted passion for world-class wines from the diverse soils of its estate vineyards.

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Kurt Schlicker, Owner & Winemaker

The passion Kurt has for winemaking is abundantly evident in his enthusiasm chatting about our winery.

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Steve Robertson, Vintner

Steve has a long history of building world-class teams in the development, exercise and manufacturing industry segments. He brings his strong entrepreneurial background and team-building experience to bear at Delmas and SJR Vineyard...leading the operational and business components of the estate.

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Tom Glase, Winemaker

Tom Glase works closely with Tom Waliser to create wines that expertly express the unique character of Beresan's Estate Vineyards.

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Billo Naravane, Co-Owner & Winemaker

Unique, terroir-driven wines from the best vineyards in Eastern Oregon and Washington

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Jon Meuret, Winemaker

Early on, Jon fell in love with wines from the burgeoning wine regions of Oregon and Washington. After many trips to the Pacific Northwest, he and his wife Amy, made the move west. Maison Bleue was founded in 2007 and is located in Walla Walla, Washington.

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Sean Boyd, Owner & Winemaker

Wine is personal with Sean, and as far as he’s concerned, there’s no right or wrong way to create or consume it. He just makes what he loves to drink—French-style Rhone blends.

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Richard Funk, Owner & Winemaker

“The winemaker’s cycle repeats itself over and over, year after year. Always the same and always different…and the winemaker is always hopeful.”– Richard Funk, Owner/Winemaker

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Aryn Morell, Winemaker

Our winemaking style allows you to learn as much about the terroir as it does about us.

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Dr. Kevin Pogue takes you on a tour of the Rocks District

The Rocks District Story

Marquis TV Rocks Episode

John took a trip to Washington and Northern Oregon last month to have a look at some interesting vineyards and wineries; this will be the first of a few videos showing his trip around the area.

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The Rocks District Story

Oregon’s Wine Regions Profile

Vineyards have received instant acclaim from critics, who noted their sumptuous aromas and unique flavor profile

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The Rocks District Story

Sera Design: Project Discovery

The community’s vision offers an integrated and holistic framework that will guide the city toward becoming the beating heart of Rocks District of Milton-Freewater American Viticultural Area–a prosperous and desirable destination for living, working and visiting.

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The Rocks District Story

Union Bulletin ~ Wine from stone

“A pronounced savory, funky aromatic note and meaty spicy taste to the fruit, which made me very curious about how this could be so different from all the other syrahs I had tasted,”

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The Rocks District Story

Wine Business Monthly

Making Rocks District Syrah: Using grapes from the same vineyard, Billo Naravane found a way to make two distinct wines that flaunt Walla Walla’s newest sub-AVA’s unique terroir.

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