Nothing fuels the soul quite like traveling to faraway places, and road trips especially ignite the imagination in wonderful ways. Living on an island it’s easy to forget the simple pleasure of measuring space and time in miles and days. Last week in DC, we tested the waters separating relations from relationships, as we navigated the distance between Metro and Ma kai. Today in Dupree, Oregon we made new friends and caught up with an old one, building a bridge from aloha to goodbye. Here’s my notes of the experience and pictures of the day.
We left La Quinta for the Northwest Wine Company in Dundee, Oregon in the Wilamette Valley and reconnected with ex-ALPer, brother Brett Miller, now Hyland’s Vineyard Manager.Winery tour with Anne Sery Winemaker.
2015 processed 4000 tons of grapes
fermentation 10 days to 2 mos
60 gallon barrels made from oak from france 200-300 yr old trees.
Williamette Valley wine does not get as much of a premium as a single vineyard wine. $20 bottle vs $40-80 for single vineyard.
Increase yield to keep cost lower.
9600 gallon tanks
They store wine in 60 gallon barrels for up to 18 months, each barrel is used about 8 years.
temperature 14-18 degrees C.
pack 1900 cases per day
Robert Moshier NW COO
2014 a record year for Oregon wine
NW is a custom biz to biz maker started 2003
2007 bought first vineyard w Hyland, now own 500 acres out of 25k statewide
Produce an average 2 to 3 tons of grapes per acre; 63 cases per ton
Oregon wine production relatively small at 5M cases annually vs 2015 CA’s pinoit noir production down 3.8M cases, almost equal to OR’s entire output.
NW’s custom crush focuses on price points of $15-25 per bottle.
65-70% of production is pinot noir.
NW grows and process their own grapes and also process and package fruit from other vineyards for their private labels, who trust them to make the wine they desire.
2015 bumper crop created a surplus of pinot noir wine which is suppressing prices. due to shorter spring so it gets warmer earlier creating more fruit.
they are being true to their sense of style and sense of place in Willamette Valley.
Prefer synthetic cork vs natural cork bc natural has a bacteria that causes as much as 10% wine loss. they use natural corks mostly for the higher end wines. synthetic corks don’t last as long (5yrs) and could allow wine to oxidize quicker. natural corks maintain their elasticity longer. 15c vs 50cents per natural cork.
vineyards are 12 miles away from tasting room which is unusual.
Brady Moran, Direct Sales Manager, runs the tasting room, Their wine club has 465 members; most live within driving distance. min $380 for 11 bottles and double that for premium members.
May is Oregon Wine Month
During spring 100 people per day on weekends visit the tasting room.
Dundee is the epicenter of Willamette Valley winemaking
1% of US wine made in Oregon but Willamette is on the rise.
Hyland brand is only 5% of the wine they make.
Brett Miller vineyard tour, dude has clearly found his true element.
Site we visited had 185 acres, about 800 foot elevation; planted in 1979
one crop per year per vineyard.
They plant radishes and cover crop between rows.
Workforce of 5 tractor drivers plus 20 on the ground workers.
season starts when avg temp is 55 and ends when it isn’t
white wine fruit picked by hand because fruit is more sensitive.
red wines mostly harvested mechanically.
They plant on sloping hillsides to direct water away from the vines and to increase airflow. no irrigation; every other row cover cropped for better water use.
They snip the tips and cull small leaves to increase fruit yield and maximize canopy for sun exposure.
$50K an acre to plant and get it going.
Hyland Vineyards (crop) and Northwest Wine (production) are separate businesses.
grape vines are self pollinating.
Brooks Hand Crafted Wines
Davin McNeil, Kaneohe boy has managed Brooks for 6 years
Claire Jarreau, winemaker
23 acres, annual production 380 tons, 26k cases
doubled production in past two years.
2013 built new tasting room
ferment in very small lots
Founded by Jimmy Brooks in 1998. passed away in 2004. Other winemakers came together to help his sister keep Brooks dream alive for his eight year old son.
Demeter biodynamic certification. requires 10% of land set aside for biodiversity of certain plant and animal species. no spray natural methods to better sustain the land. proactive rather than reactive management. do no harm and take methods to enhance the land and wildlife. vermi-composting a big component. work within the community for their inputs – eg manure from nearby dairy farm is used to cut the waste from their pressings.
red wines age 10-18 months
barrel cellar doesnt need refrigeration. 700-800 barrels. bought a lot of barrels from CA b/c of drought which stunted crop yields and wine production vs OR which had surplus grapes causing barrels to be in short supply.