Our locations are in the northern reaches of the Willamette Valley, the first vineyard is sited on a hill with views of the expanding cities of ForestGrove and Verboort. The vineyard site starts about a quarter of the way up the hill, normally above the fog line, at an elevation of approximately 400 feet facing due east, topping out at approximately 500 feet with exposures bending from the southeast through the southwest. The larger Vineyard is located north of the city of Gaston with elevations from 250 – 350 feet.
First let, we want to thank Keith and Trudy Kramer of Kramer Vineyards for helping this dream come true and supporting us all along the way. When we originally moved to Oregon, we wanted a little land with our house so that we could someday have a small vineyard. This dream is a result of living for many years in the shadow of the Napa Valley in California and being a major consumer of wine. Now our dream has came true!
We believe that to make good wine you must first start with great fruit. We want to put only the best possible fruit in our wine. In order to achieve that goal, we started with a prime vineyard site in the northern end of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, northwest of Forest Grove. The site is comprised with very deep weathered, uniform Kilton soil, at an ideal elevation (above the frost and fog) and exposure (south facing). Another plus is the close proximity to our house (it’s right next door). Our Second site is located north of Gaston on Old highway 47. The soils at this site are from the Melbourne Association. Melbourne soils are well drained and they have a surface layer of dark-brown silty clay loam. The upper part of the subsoil is dark yellowish-brown silty clay loam, and the lower part is brown silty clay. Effective rooting depth is more than 60 inches. However, we have dug to a debt of 7 feet and found no change in soil texture
However site selection is only part of a larger picture of making a great wine. You need a lot of friends (Scott, Al, Bob, Henry, Joyce, Tom, Kathy, Joyce (Demo Diva), Jerry, Larry, Judy, Toby, Chuck, Kelly, Allison, Randy, Henry, Joyce, Mike, Russell, and Keith) to help you plant and you also need great wine makers and mentors, enter Keith, Trudy, and Kim Kramer, to turn the fruit into wine. To bring premier Pinot Noir grapes to their full potential, we are adopting sustainable vineyard practices that emphasize flavor over production volume. These practices — such as high density planting, shoot thinning, cluster removal, avoidance of the use of harsh pesticides and herbicides, — increase cultivation costs and reduce the amount of fruit that can be harvested. For sophisticated wine lovers, however, such a tradeoff will be well worth the effort.
Our goal is to grow the best fruit possible and be personally involved with each plant. The small size of the plot allows this goal to be met and the site to be maintained by one person, if needed.
This site was planted in the spring of 2008. We purchased this site in September of 2007 and started the conversion from an abandoned dairy farm into vineyards, winery, and a tasting room. Many in the valley know the site as “Bloomer’s Dairy” while older residents remember it as the “Haberman Dairy.” The property as been a dairy farm since the early 1900’s. The primary soil at this location is Melbourne which is formed in residuum and colluvium weathered from sedimentary rock. Melbourne soils are well drained. They have a surface layer of dark-brown silty clay loam. The upper part of the subsoil is dark yellowish-brown silty clay loam, and the lower part is brown silty clay. Effective rooting depth is more than 60 inches. However, we have dug to a debt of 7 feet and found no change in soil texture
In a representative profile the surface layer is dark-brown and dark yellowish-brown silty clay loam about 10 inches thick. The upper part of the subsoil is dark yellowish-brown silty clay loam about 36 inches thick, and the lower part is brown silty clay about 36 inches thick. The profile is slightly acid and medium acid in the surface layer, medium acid in the upper part of the subsoil, and strongly acid in the lower part of the subsoil and in the substratum. Soil acidity ranges from pH 6.2 in the upper 4-6 inches to pH 5.6 at lower depths.
In 2008, we planted with a mixture of Pinot Noir clones: one block consisting of 777 self rooted, another of 667 on phylloxera-resistant rootstock 3309, 101-14. and some self rooted plants, A large block of 115 on phylloxera-resistant rootstock 101-14. and 3309. a small block of 1018 on 3309 root stock was planted along with a block of self rooted Pommard.
We have also planted Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling. We planted Schönburger in March of 2010. We are the only commercial winery to have it planted in Oregon and Washington. One other Oregon winery has 4 plants but we don’t believe 4 plants provide enough fruit for commercial operations. Schönburger is basically a cross between Muscat and Pinot Noir. We’re excited to bring this grape to the public.
We’re hoping to do more planting this summer and fall on the south slope of the property next to Etters road.
Our spacing at the Gaston site is 8 foot isles and 5 feet between plants which should reduce the amount to tractor blight on the poles and plants.