The exemplary selection of land upon which SHW Founding Vineyard was planted was chosen through a combination of forward-looking vision and serendipity. When the McClellans set out to plant their first wine grapes in the early 1980s, they benefitted from having over 100 years of family farming experience in Eastern Washington. Not only did they have a deep knowledge of the land, they also drew on the wisdom they had gained over decades of observation, seeing what grows best where. This experience led them to a site on the southern edge of what would later be defined as the Walla Walla Valley appellation. Comprised of deep, silt loam soils over flood sediments and resting at an elevation of 1,000 feet, the 21-acre SHW Founding Vineyard lies in the optimal area for Merlot production in the region.
SHW Founding Vineyard was the first significant Merlot and Cabernet planting in Walla Walla Valley. This land is named not only for its historical importance in the founding of Seven Hills Winery, but also for its critical role in leading the vision and helping shape the viticultural development of the region. These original vines have produced over 30 vintages of highly regarded Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon, and continue to do so today.