Friday, June 25, 2010

A Very Drinkable Syncline

The syncline at Sucia Island is appealing, but another syncline in the Columbia River Gorge is very drinkable. A good break while exploring the landscapes of the Washington side of the Columbia River Gorge. 

A great blend of geology.

We stopped by for a taste after exploring the various features of the Missoula Floods from Wallula Gap down the gorge. The tasting room staff confirmed that they get their share of geologists. Last year the GSA had a section meeting in Portland with a field trip exploring the geology of the Washington and Oregon wine country. The Missoula flood deposits support a lot of prime vineyards.

The winery is named for the Mosier Syncline, a fold within the Columbia Flood Basalts that is well exposed on the cliffs of this part of the gorge.

Folded basalt layers of the Mosier Syncline with Mount Hood in the background.

We left the winery with a bottle of Subduction Red. Tell me they are not marketing to geologists.
The area around the winery appears very similar to the Napa and Sonoma areas of northern California. The area is a mix of grass lands with groves of oak, pine and fir with lots of California poppies. Rainfall amounts begin to drop off significantly to the east due to the rain shadow of the Cascade range. A few miles to the east of here it becomes too dry for any trees. A few miles to the west and it is solid forest.

View of the vineyard with oaks, pines and grassland.

We stopped at another winery just down the road, Cor Cellars . All in all a nice bit of geology and wine. An evening with Subduction Red on the table might even get your wine friends to listen about how crucial geology is to wine or how mirco climates result is certain wines being superior to others. Can you taste the Missoula Flood or the heat units from Red Mountain?


Helena Mallonee said...

Oh, that's brilliant marketing. I'll have to stop by next time I travel through.
Also a nice syncline!

Casey Klahn said...

Hi, Dan. I remember distinctly when I went up the North Ridge of Mt Hood, to do a climb @ the north face area, how the razorback trail was eastern terrain on the left side as you go up, and western greenery on your right.

Mt Adams gives some of that flavor, but this was particularly fun the way these things were so different, and right at my feet.


Dan McShane said...

Thanks Casey. One of the appeals of the area is that it located on the edge of ecosystems. Your right in that the boundary can be defined as a line between Hood and Adams.