Press & Accolades

Recent Press for South Hill

South Hill Owner Philip Jones Featured on KGW News

Thank you to the firefighters who responded quickly and contained the fire in Underwood in the summer of 2023!

We had an amazing turn out at our recent Donation Day on July 15.  The proceeds of our sales for the day amounting to $7470.00 will be donated to the Underwood Volunteer Fire Department. Thank you to our fighter fighters for keeping us safe and to our community for your support!
 

South Hill Wine Accolades

Sauvignon Blanc

  • 2018

Double Platinum – NW Platinum Judging
“It’s no surprise that the Jones family has a deft touch with Sauvignon Blanc considering they make wine in New Zealand during our winter and return to the Columbia Gorge and their Underwood Vineyard for the Northwest growing season. Spencer Jones is credited with making this wine for his folks Philip and Sheryl. High along the shoulders of Underwood Mountain overlooking Hood River, Oregon, this is one of the Northwest’s cooler vineyard sites. That allows the Joneses to present a Sauv Blanc that’s bright and citrusy with a touch of fresh herbs. Granny Smith apple juiciness continues to build as the structure is lean yet approachable, backed by a salty finish.”

Gold – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Gold – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards 

Silver – New Orleans International Wine Awards

Silver – NW Cascadia Wine Show

Pétale de Rose Rosé

  • 2019

Platinum – NW Platinum Judging
“The Jones family earned its first Platinum last year with Sauvignon Blanc from their high-elevation vineyard near White Salmon, Wash. Spencer Jones is back with this lively Rosé built on the shoulders of Pinot Noir. The nose of orchard blossom, raspberry and Herbes de Provence is mirrored on the palate, which also picks up strawberry-rhubarb compote. The residual sugar (0.5%) is hardly perceptible. (350 cases, 12.5% alc.) Award: Sunset International Wine Competition (gold).”

Platinum – Wine Press Northwest Competition 2020

Double Gold, 93 points – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2020

Gold, 92 points – Sunset International Wine Competition

Silver – Cascadia International Wine Competition

Semillon

  • 2019

Gold – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2021

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2020

Pinot Gris

  • 2021

Best of Class, Double Gold – 2022 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Awards
“Melon, good structure, long finish, great acidity, good winemaking”.

Sauvignon Blanc Semillon

  • 2018

Gold, 93 points – Santé International Wine Competition 2021

Viognier

  • 2019

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2020

Silver – Sunset International Wine Competition

Chardonnay

  • 2021

Silver – Sunset International Wine Competition 2023

Riesling

  • 2018

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2020

Silver – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Silver – Cascadia International Wine Competition

Silver – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards

Silver – NW Cascadia Wine Show

Gamay Noir

  • 2021

Gold, 94 points – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2022

Grenache

  • 2019

Double Gold – Sip Magazine Best of the NW 2022, Best of the Northwest Wine awards

Silver – Santé International Wine Competition 2021

Whiskey Barrel Aged Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2016

Silver – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards

Wild Cabernet Sauvignon

  • 2016

Double Gold – NW Platinum Judging

Gold – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards

Silver – New Orleans International Wine Awards

Malbec

  • 2019

Gold, 93 points – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2022

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2021

Meritage

  • 2016

Double Gold – Wine Press Northwest Competition 2020

Gold – New Orleans International Wine Awards

Silver – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards

Merlot

  • 2017

Gold- Tasting Guild Consumers Wine Judging
Silver
– Sunset International Wine Competition

Petit verdot

  • 2019

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2021

Wild Pinot Noir

  • 2018

Silver – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2020

Pinot Noir Estate Reserve

  • 2018

Gold, 94 points – Sunset International Wine Competition

Gold – Wine Press Northwest Competition 2020

Pinot Meunier

  • 2021

Gold 93 points – American Wine Society Commercial Competition 2022

In the Press


Phil Jones – Goose Bay Winery and Pacifica Wines

February 2019

Click to watch video interview


Finding a Kosher Wine Niche

July 2014
By Peter Hellman
Non-Jew Founds Pacific Northwest’s First All-Kosher Vineyard

A tale of wine drew me in. The intriguing account of a new kosher winery’s genesis was being spun by a tall man with a gray beard and restless blue eyes for the benefit of an intent listener, Adam Montefiore, a wine writer and senior manager at the Carmel Winery. Around the two men swarmed a large and convivial crowd of tasters and sippers, many wearing Hasidic black, at the New York edition of the Kosher Wine & Food Experience, held February 13 at Chelsea Piers in New York.

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“I’m from the San Francisco Bay Area and my wife is from Minnesota, and after 20 years of making wine in New Zealand, we decided that we wanted to spend more time in the Pacific Northwest and create a winery,” the tall man said, as I sidled closer. They decided to zero in on the Columbia River Gorge, with its stretch of river, valley and mountains. “The problem,” he continued, “was that Washington and Oregon have upward of 800 wineries, most of them small, like we would be. When economic times got tough, we tried to think of how we could we jump out from the pack. When I realized that none of those wineries were kosher, I had my answer: We’d be the Pacific Northwest’s first [exclusively] kosher winery.”

His name is Philip Jones, and never mind that neither he nor his wife, Sheryl, is Jewish. In 2006, the couple bought 95 acres on Underwood Mountain in Washington, just across from Hood River, Ore. They planted 25 acres of it to vines and named the property Evan’s Vineyard, after their youngest son. Their first two kosher wines have been just been released this spring under the Pacifica label and distributed by Royal Wine Corp., the largest domestic kosher winemaker and distributor. One is a dark fruited, plummy Meritage, a Bordeaux blend of three red grapes. The other is a silky, cherry and cinnamon-scented Pinot Noir.

Since Evan’s Vineyard has not yet come of age, the grapes were purchased from top-tier vineyards in Washington for the Meritage and in Oregon for the Pinot Noir. The full-bodied Meritage is made from grapes grown in the hot, dry climate of Eastern Washington, while the Pinot Noir grapes thrive in vineyards exposed to cool air from the Pacific Ocean. Evan’s Vineyard is planted to Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Pinot Noir and Syrah. Jones said he anticipates that the first bottling from the home vineyard will be a 2013 Pinot Noir.

The couple left California in 1989 and headed to New Zealand’s South Island, where they established the Spencer Hill Estate, originally a non-kosher winery on a spectacular site near the port city of Nelson.

While not about to abandon New Zealand, Jones seems to have been hankering a bit for the homeland, because around 2000 he decided that he’d try to make wine on California’s central coast. “I was in Santa Maria having lunch with a gentleman who operated a local contract winery and he mentioned that he’d been making kosher wine. ‘That can’t be a very big business,’ I said. I was surprised when he told me it was 50,000 cases. I stored that in the back of my brain.”

Soon after returning to New Zealand, Jones said, he contacted a rabbi in the capital of Wellington who was “intrigued” when Jones told him that he wanted to make the first kosher wine in New Zealand. “He came over to see me, and we started talking about how to do it. Most people throw up their hands when they discover all the rules that must be followed. But my background was as a researcher in sustainable pest management. I know how to follow procedures,” Jones said.

Next, Jones approached the Herzog family of Royal Wines Corp. “The Herzogs put me in touch with a rabbi in Melbourne, Mendel Serebryanski, who certifies their Australian wines,” Jones said. “He flew over and got us started. He was not only a good worker but he’d taken a winemaking course.”

Jones named his new kosher brand Goose Bay. Its first vintage was 2003. All 8,000 cases currently produced annually are shipped to the U.S. The moderately priced lineup includes a Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and just one red, a Pinot Noir.

Being New Zealand’s only kosher wine producer was a niche that Jones liked, and when he realized that there were no exclusively kosher wineries in the Pacific Northwest, he was ready again to be first in category. And by this time, he knew what he was getting into.

In 2010, as he was gearing up to start the winery, “economic conditions were warning us to be prudent,” he said. Backing off from going it alone, Jones again partnered with Royal Wine. Rather than produce the Pacifica wines from vine to bottle, Jones makes the wine at Evan’s Vineyard under the supervision of Oregon Kosher, a certification organization based in Portland. The wine is then piped into refrigerated tank trucks and sent to Royal’s ultra-modern winery in Oxnard, Calif., an hour from Los Angeles, where it is bottled under the watchful eyes of head winemaker Joe Hurliman.

As kosher wines improve and more closely match the quality of their nonkosher counterparts, they are increasingly being purchased by consumers who aren’t Jewish or don’t keep kosher. “We sell Goose Bay and other kosher wines at outlets like Trader Joe’s,” said Nathan Herzog, executive vice president of Royal Wine Corps. “Customers buy them and like them, and may never notice the OU seal that indicates they are kosher.”

The logistics of making kosher wine both in a remote corner of New Zealand and on the U.S. West Coast present challenges. In the U.S., the grapes have to be shipped afar to a kosher facility to be bottled. In New Zealand, a winemaking team of observant Jews is flown in from Australia to make the wine on the premises of Jones’s winery.

Jones has become well versed in the esoterica of kashrut. He knows, for example, that in the U.S., sugar made from glucose does not need to be certified kosher. But in New Zealand, he said, “The Australian rabbis insist that we get sugar that is certified kosher.” And he knows that different practices are required in different locations to prepare tanks for kosher wine. “In making Goose Bay wines, we have to use steam or heat to sterilize our tanks,” he said. “But in the U.S., you can use chemicals to get the same result. It can seem complicated, but for us, it’s a no-brainer. You just follow the rules.

“If you want to be part of the family, then be part of the tradition.”

Peter Hellman


A Review of Pacifica Evan’s Collection Pinot Noir 2010 and Meritage 2010

Washington Jewish Week
March 2012
By Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon

Our next stop in the search for wines for this years seder is the Pacific Northwest. Relative newcomers to winemaking, both Washington state and Oregon have evolved rapidly to become world-class sources of distinctive white and red wines. Both states are divided by the Cascade Mountain range which separates the wet coastal region from a drier interior area. Known for bright pinot noir, floral riesling and fragrant pinot gris, Oregon’s wineries are mostly located in the valleys of the west side. Washington creates some profoundly delicious cabernet sauvignon, syrah and merlots from grapes grown in the more arid east.

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In 2006 the proprietors of New Zealand’s Spencer Hill Estate, Phillip and Sheryl Jones, purchased 95 acres on Washington States Underwood Mountain and established the Pacifica Winery and its Pacifica Evan’s Collection label of wines. Producers of the kosher kiwi Goose Bay wines under arrangement with the Herzog family’s Royal Wine Corporation in Bayonne, N.J., the Jones partnered once again with Royal to establish the Northwest’s first dedicated kosher facility. Located across the Columbia River that separates the two states, Pacifica is ideally located to source grapes from both Washington and Oregon. Their first releases include a Washington State Meritage Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend and a Pinot Noir created from two Oregon vineyards.

Pinot noir is a notoriously problematic grape that is plagued with issues such as poor ripening, infections, extreme sensitivity to weather conditions and difficult fermentation. In Oregon, 2010 was a cooler than usual year and 2011 was so bad that the winery is not releasing a pinot noir from the vintage. Despite these issues their inaugural nonmevushal Pacifica Evan’s Collection Oregon Pinot Noir 2010 ($25) is delightful and this bodes well for the future of this winery. It opens with ripe cherry and oak scents which lead into flavors of black and red cherries, raspberry and plum with some mild smokiness along with mineral and herbal notes. Nicely balanced with good acidity and firm tannins it gets better in the glass, so you should consider decanting this before serving to smooth out the edges. The Pacifica Evan’s Collection Washington Meritage 2010 ($30) is a rich, dry, smooth and easy drinking blend of cabernet, merlot, malbec and petit verdot grapes, with aromas and flavors of dark fruits, berries, with a whisper of toasted coffee bean.


A Particularly Pleasing Wine

July 2016
By Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon

“Of all the great, good, solid and simply decent wines on offer, one that was particularly pleasing to revisit was the Pacifica Evan’s Collection Washington Meritage 2010 ($40) made by Philip Jones.”

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Every year the Royal Wine Corp./ Kedem, owned and managed by the Herzog family, the largest producer, importer and distributer of kosher wines and spirits, organizes a huge wine and food tasting in New York. The Kosher Food and Wine Experience, or KFWE, was held earlier this month at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan. This event is a fabulous opportunity to sample the latest wine and spirit releases in Royal’s sizable portfolio, to meet with winemakers or winery/brand representatives and, of course, eat some of the outstanding kosher food available in the Big Apple.

Of all the great, good, solid and simply decent wines on offer, one that was particularly pleasing to revisit was the Pacifica Evan’s Collection Washington Meritage 2010 ($40) made by Philip Jones.

We last reviewed this wine a couple of years ago, when it was first released. This is the same vintage, only now it has had time to mature, develop bottle-age characteristics, and really come together nicely.

Phil and Sheryl Jones, the proprietors of New Zealand’s Spencer Hill Estate where they produce the kosher Goose Bay wines, began their Pacific Northwest wine venture in 2006. They bought 95 acres on Washington State’s Underwood Mountain and established the Pacifica Winery and partnered with Royal Wines to release their Pacifica Evan’s Collection label of wines. The location of the winery, where the Columbia River separates Washington from Oregon just north of Hood River, is perfect for sourcing grapes from both states.

The wine business is a tough nut to crack, however, and the wines have had a bit of rocky start commercially. Exactly why is unclear. Likely the unfamiliarity of the region to kosher consumers is a large part of the problem. Also the 2010 vintage was a bit challenging, or “modest,” to use the term commonly said of a lousy year in Bordeaux. So too, the wines were probably rushed a bit to market. Whatever the reason, the wines did not fly off the shelf.

This was a shame because the wines were really nice, and each offered some authentic Pacific Northwest characteristics. Each also showed clear signs of potential future improvement and development from some short-term cellaring for those with the patience and means to purchase and wait. Alas, only but so many kosher consumers fit this category generally.

Fast forward a couple of years to today. Now instead of just being really nice, the wines are showing wonderfully. In particular, the Washington Meritage 2010 has developed beautifully and really come into its own. This medium bodied blend of Walla Walla Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot was aged in French and American oak and offers aromas of eucalyptus and dark stone fruits, cassis, and a slightly leafy, green undercurrent, followed by flavors of juicy dark fruits, a little toasted coffee bean, and soft, slightly drying tannins. The finish is a mix of sweet fruit and soft oak, with a bit of drying greenness jutting into the picture. This is serious wine from a tough vintage, and drinking beautifully now.


Gourmet Kosher Cooking

April 2014
By Elizabeth Kurtz

Kosherfest Winner! Pacifica Meritage from Royal Wines is a must try wine. I couldn’t wait to taste it there.

The grapes were sourced from the famous Pepperbridge and Seven Hills vineyards located in the Walla Walla Valley area of Washington. These two vineyards are responsible for some of the best Washington wines, a newer region for wine in the United States and the first kosher winery in the Northwest region. This wine is a blend of Cabernet, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Its a new combination of grapes that creates a fantastic red wine drinking experience. Bold and smooth and pairs well with meat, chicken, lamb, and any Shabbos meal. Priced at about $34 its a great value


Philip Jones at the Kosher Wine and Food Festival

February 2012

Click to watch video interview

Pacifica Wine Accolades

Best New Kosher Wine of 2012
KosherFest 2012 USA

Pacifica Riesling

  • 2017

Chairman’s Trophy – Ultimate Wine Challenge

Gold – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Pacifica Rosé

  • 2014

Gold – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Pacifica Cabernet Merlot

  • 2011

Silver – Riverside International Wine Competition

Silver – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Pacifica Washington Meritage

  • 2011
  • 2010

Excellent Great Northwest Wines (December 2014)
“Fresno State-trained viticulturalist Rich Garvin has been managing vineyards in Hood River since the turn of the century, but he began working in 2010 with New Zealand vintners Matthew Rutherford and Philip Jones. Their collaboration in this Bordeaux blend, which leads with Cabernet Sauvignon, taps into acclaimed Walla Walla Valley sites Pepper Bridge and Seven Hills. Their second vintage for this wine, named for Jones’ son, features a theme of red cherry, ripe strawberry and cedar, backed by dark chocolate for a delicious finish. This fall, it picked up a silver medal at the 2014 Columbia Gorge Wine Competition. Production: 600 cases”

Silver – Tasters Guild Wine Awards

Silver – San Francisco Chronicle Show

Pacifica Oregon Pinot Noir

  • 2012
  • 2010

Excellent Great Northwest Wines (February 2015)
“New Zealand vintner Philip Jones launched this lineup of kosher wines, touted as the first produced in the Pacific Northwest, in 2010. While the 25-acre estate planting is on Washington’s Underwood Mountain along the Columbia Gorge, Oregon is the focus for its Pinot Noir program, which stretches across the Columbia River to Phelps Creek Vineyard in Hood River and includes Ankeny Vineyard near Salem. This bottling shows dark strawberry and cherry tones, along with notes of moist forest floor and earthiness of porcini mushroom. He picked up a silver medal at the fall Columbia Gorge Wine Competition. Distribution of these kosher wines includes the East Coast, Canada and the United Kingdom. Production: 1,100 cases”

Silver – San Francisco International Wine Show

Silver – Tasters Guild International Wine Awards

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