Lake Chelan winery now Salmon-Safe, LIVE certified

By on February 17, 2013

salmon safe live

Hard Row to Hoe is the first vineyard along Lake Chelan that is certified Salmon-Safe and LIVE. (photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

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

salmon safe live

Hard Row to Hoe is in Manson, Wash., on the north shore of Lake Chelan. (photo by Andy Perdue/Great Northwest Wine)

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:

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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