Airfield Estates is a family-owned winery dating back to the 1920s in Washington State's Yakima Valley, which is the state's oldest AVA (American Viticultural Area) from 1983. Yakima Valley covers up to a third of the state's wine production, although the area is also known for its numerous fruit trees and growing hop bushes.
The farm's name dates back to World War II, when part of the farm's land served as a training area for the army's air force. Some of the premises, which served as hangars, were auctioned to the owner of the premises, Howard Lloyd Miller, for one dollar, and are still used by the winery. This is how Airport Ranch began, a farm where cattle were raised and various vegetables were cultivated. Donald Deets Miller, the next generation, planted the farm's first vines in 1968. The selected varieties were Riesling, Gewürztraminer and Cabernet Sauvignon. The following year, together with a local nursery, Don planted 20 more varieties, and in 1971 the farm's first vines intended for actual winemaking were planted. Don's son Michael Lloyd Miller joined his father in 1974, increasing the size of the farm's paddocks to their current size. From the beginning, Airport Ranch sold its grapes exclusively to other wineries, until in 2005 Mike finally founded Airfield Estates Winery and the farm started producing its own wines. Today, together with their father, siblings Marcus and Lori are responsible for the operation of the farm.
Lone Birch was born when a state law in 1937 allowed landowners to buy land around the Roza Irrigation Canal. The plots of land were marked with birches, which were planted in the corners of each plot as boundary markers. Over the years, most of the trees were moved away, but one birch still stands in the middle of the farm. For years, the farm's winegrowers took care of the tree, and today it is a significant part of the farm's history, and a daily reminder of how important it is to take care of the ecosystem's biodiversity and the plants and animals that live among the vines.
Chit Chat refers to the starlings that start flocking in the area after the harvest in late autumn, just before the start of winter. Along with them, they bring joyous life to the shelters filled with silence again.