Nestled between the Coastal and Cascade Ranges, the Willamette Valley is the agricultural home of northern Oregon. Driving southwest from Portland, the valley is punctuated by a succession of rolling hills, which were islands dotting an ancient lake 13,000-15,000 years ago. The best vineyards in Oregon sit on these hills, producing exceptional fruit on what were ancient beaches. We seek out and develop relationships with farmers on this strandline, where lake once met land.
ANTIQUUM FARM (formerly Old School Vineyards)
At 800 ft above sea level, Antiquum (Latin for "old ways") pushes the limits of pinot noir. Due to the site’s unique elevation, exceptionally well-drained and nutrient deficient Bellpine soil, and substantial diurnal shift, the pinot here is unlike any other. It produces what farmer Stephen Hagen describes as the perfect balance of depth, power, structure and finesse. Dry farmed using old school methods in a closed farm system (draft horses, compost, and natural weed suppression), the vineyard is treated as a holistic organism. While the farming is serious, there remains a touch of playfulness with blocks named KRS 1, Grandmaster Flash, and Boogie Down Productions, reflecting a deep appreciation for old school hip hop.
Sitting high on the eastern ridge of the Eola-Amity Hills, the potential for Bieze seems limitless. Planted mostly in 2008 (with a few acres added in 2012), this young vineyard brims with possibility. The volcanic soils are a mix of Nekia, Jory and Ritner, resting 600 - 680 ft above sea level on varying aspects. The fruit is being gobbled up by small wineries ready to invest in what may be the best new vineyard in the AVA.
In 1959, Wisconsin natives Jim and Loie Maresh (pronounced ‘Marsh’) bought a 27 acre parcel of land in the hills above Dundee, OR, moving their family from Portland, OR to the Willamette Valley. After meeting neighbor and Oregon wine pioneer, Dick Erath, the Mareshes decided to plant wine grapes, putting the first vines in the ground in 1970. Today those vines are wide spaced (as was the standard for viticulture at the time), gnarly, and moss covered with roots extending deep into the volcanic Jory soil. The Riesling from Maresh is own-rooted, organic, and dry farmed with a naturally balanced crop requiring little human intervention.
Planted by Susan Meredith and Frank Mitchell in 1990, the vineyard sits nestled in the foothills of the Coast Range just outside McMinnville, OR. Rising from 450 - 650 ft in elevation, the soils are a mixture of uplifted marine sediments over fractured basalt, contributing to wines of great complexity.