In 2011, two patriotic friends, each with a connection to the tragedy on 9/11 planted BLOCK 93 at Mercer Ranches Ranch. This single block, planted with 911 vines, is dedicated to patriots who lost their lives on September 11, 2001.
John Derrick, Vineyard Manager at Mercer Ranches, lost his best friend, Richard Guadagno, on Flight 93 as it crashed into the Pennsylvania farmland on September 11th. John later named his son Richard Alexander, in honor of his late friend. And today, John personally tends to Block 93, giving it special attention and care.
Rob Mercer, President of Mercer Ranches, served as a Captain in US Marine Corps. After the World Trade Center terrorist attack on 9/11, he re-enlisted to serve in Iraq in 2007-2008.
When Rob returned, he and John talked over ways to commemorate the lives lost on 9/11. They decided to plant a vineyard and donate the proceeds from its operation to helping both victims of 9/11 and their families, and the service personnel who protect us each day.
Ground prep and planting on Block 93 began in 2009. This one-acre lot is dedicated entirely to charity. 911 vines rest on a south-facing slope in the Horse Heaven Hills, growing Cabernet Sauvignon grapes earmarked for use in a premium wine.
LOCATION: Southern edge of Cavalie Vineyard in the Alderdale region (35 miles SW of Prosser)
APPELLATION: Horse Heaven Hills
YEAR PLANTED: 2011
SIZE: 911 vines planted on 1 acre
ELEVATION: 800 – 820 ft.
VARIETALS: Cabernet Sauvignon 35%
SOIL SERIES: Sage Hill fine sandy loam soil being very deep and well drained being formed in lacustrine sediments with a mantle of loess. Lacustrine deposits are very well sorted, devoid of coarse particles such as coarse sand or gravels, and are characterized by thin layers that reflect annual deposition of sediments. Still water in lakes permits very fine particles (fine sand, silt, and clay) to settle out and to form lacustrine deposits. These deposits get exposed by elevation of old lakebeds. Loess in the Horse Heaven Hills is an aeolian (process of the wind’s ability to shape the surface of the earth) sediment formed by the accumulation of wind-blown dust. The Sage Hill Fine Sandy Loam is 0-4 inches – brown fine sandy loam, 4 to 20 inches – pale brown fine sandy loam, 20 to 38 inches – light gray fine sandy loam, 38 to 60+ inches – light brownish gray fine sandy loam.
MICRO-CLIMATE: Warm – Long Term Average GDD 3054.
AVERAGE YIELD: 2-3 tons per acre
ASPECT: Southern exposure
UNIQUE ASPECTS: Located above Alderdale Canyon at 10% slope with beautiful views
TRELLIS: Vertical Shoot Positioned 2 fixed wires and 4 moveable wires
MERCER WINES FROM THIS VINEYARD: Eagle & Plow BLOCK 93 Cabernet Sauvignon