MANSON, Wash. – Hard Row to Hoe Vineyards has become the first vineyard in the Lake Chelan American Viticultural Area to earn Salmon-Safe and LIVE certification for its vineyard practices.
Owners Don and Judy Phelps spent the past two years working through the certification project to be recognized as Salmon-Safe and Low Input Viticulture and Enology. The two certifications work together to review all vineyard practices of a vineyard and certify through international standards that the vineyard practices meet all requirements.
Judy Phelps, who is the winemaker for the award-winning winery, has a background in fisheries biology. Don Phelps, who handles the viticultural side of the operation, had a career in water resources management.
Story of Hard Row to Hoe
Hard Row to Hoe once was known as Balsamroot Winery, named for a wildflower. However, customers had difficulty remembering the name, so the Phelps family decided to rename it. They hired a historian to find an interesting story from Lake Chelan lore. As the tale goes, a house of ill repute set up shop across Lake Chelan from a mining operation. One entrepreneur offered a taxi boat service across the lake. Hence “hard row to hoe.” The winery has fully embraced the story, decorating the tasting room like a bordello and even having a red light above the restroom to indicate it’s being occupied.
Becoming Salmon-Safe, LIVE certified
Salmon-Safe was founded in Portland by Pacific Rivers Council and now has certified more than 60,000 acres of farm and urban lands on the West Coast. More than 250 vineyards in Oregon and Washington have been certified Salmon-Safe. It addresses watershed effect from vineyards, wineries and other areas of agriculture.
LIVE was founded in 1997. It certifies vineyards and wineries that meet international standards of sustainable viticulture and enology practices, according to the organization.
LIVE also administers the Carbon Reduction Challenge, which helps wineries achieve energy efficiencies and addresses greenhouse gas emissions.
Vineyards in Washington that are LIVE and Salmon-Safe include: