of the Northern Willamette Valley While
it is true that the Oregon wine industry is still in its infancy,
definable grape growing regions have emerged. Three main geological
events are responsible for the formation of these regions. The Willamette
Valley was at one time a large body of inland seawater not unlike
the Puget or Long Island Sounds. Water receded leaving behind a seabed
of rich sedimentary soils. Volcanic activity pushing up through this
sedimentary soil created the Dundee and Eola Hills. As recently as
twelve to fifteen thousand years ago, the Great Missoula Floods occurred.
The catastrophic failure of a twenty-five hundred foot high ice dam,
burst forth the water from Lake Missoula at a rate of ten times the
combined flow of all the rivers of the world. This event scattered
debris from Canada and Montana across the Willamette Valley and helped
to carve the Columbia River Gorge. Vineyards of the Dundee Hills:
Vineyards planted in the Dundee Hills of the northern Willamette Valley
provided the start for the modern wine industry of Oregon. These initial
plantings took place in the late 1960ís and early 1970ís. The most
common soil type of the area is described as Jory. These soils are
volcanic in origin with basalt as the mother rock. They are unusually
deep for hillsides, often 6 to 8 feet to bedrock. There is also a
high percentage of clay in the soil which, combined with the soil
depth, tends to hold moisture later into the season than other soils
we work with. The wine from this region typically displays aromas
of red fruits, strawberry, cherry and raspberry. The mouth feel is
often rich and emollient.
of the Eola Hills:
The main development of the Eola Hills area took place from the mid
1970ís through the early 1980ís. The most common soil type of the
area is described as Nekia. These volcanic soils are shallower, generally
1 to 3 feet in depth, and have less clay than the Dundee Hills. As
a result, these soils will dry sooner, encouraging earlier ripening
of the fruit. The wines of this area typically possess aromas of black
fruits, black cherry, plum and cassis, with acidity levels that are
naturally higher than in other growing areas, contributing to a sense
of structure in the mouth.
of the Yamhill Foothills:
The vineyards of the Yamhill foothills were planted mostly in the
late 1980ís and early 1990ís. The primary soil of this area is called
Willakenzie, named after the Willamette and McKenzie rivers. It is
a sedimentary soil with a sandstone base rock. The sand content is
quite high and the soil therefore very well drained. The sites are
generally on the lower slopes of a volcanic ridge. Wines of the area
possess aromas of red and black fruits, with added elements of cocoa,
leather and fresh-turned earth. Having the lowest acidity levels of
these three areas, these powerful wines tend to be lush and agreeable
at an earlier age.
RIDGE VINEYARD Planted in 1977, Abbey Ridge is one of the older vineyards
in the Dundee Hills from which Ken sourced two clones in 1999: Wadenswil
and Coury (also known as the suitcase clone). The vines are own-rooted
with 9x6 spacing. Located at the northwest end of the Dundee Hills, the
vineyard is at an elevation of 650' with a southwest inclination. Soils
are of the Jory type, which are volcanic in origin and basalt based. Red
fruits dominate the aromas with nutmeg and earth. Ken produced approzimately
325 cases of wine from this site in 1999. The vineyard is owned and managed
by Bill and Julia Wayne.
ARCUS VINEYARD Located
in the Dundee Hills at the old Archibald Vineyard site, this site was
replanted in 1996 to the Dijon 777 clone on 101-14 and Riparia Gloire
rootstocks with meter by meter and a half spacing. Elevation is 350'.
The soil type is Jory. The wine produced from this site is typically full
of complex aromas of red fruits, leather, and licorice. Ken produced approximately
100 cases of wine from this site in 1999. The vineyard is owned and managed
by Archery Summit Winery.
CANARY HILL VINEYARD Located
at the south end of the Eola Hills and facing southeast, the vines were
planted in 1982-83. The vines are Pommard clone and are vertically trellised.
Elevation is 450' to 550'. The soil is a mix of Jory and Nekia. Both soils
are formed from igneous rock and have a reddish brown tint. The site,
however, has less depth than similar soils found in the Dundee Hills.
The wine from this vineyard is typically very forward, with aromas of
black cherry and cola. Ken made approximately 380 cases of this wine in
1999. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Nancy Daniel, and managed by Mark
CARTER VINEYARD A small
5-acre vineyard located just one mile from Canary Hill in the Eola Hills.
Carter is lower on the hillside yet has a leaner and less fertile soil.
The soil is mainly Nekia type, which is formed from weathered basic rock.
It lies at an elevation of 325' and was planted in 1983. Ken's 1999 wines
from this site are drawn from exclusively Wadenswil clone grapes. The
wine is typically firmer than Canary Hill in its youth but evolves beautifully
after a few years in the bottle to show black fruits and fresh, healthy
earth scents. Ken produced approximately 300 cases in 1999. The vineyard
is owned by Jack and Kathleen Carter, and managed by Mark Gould.
ELTON VINEYARD Planted
in 1983 to the Pommard clone of Pinot noir on its own roots, this vineyard
is located on the east side of the Eola Hills above Hopewell with an east-southeast
inclination at an elevation of 250'. The soil is Jory type. The wines
produced from this site typically show distinctive candied cherry aromas,
firm structure, and are very ageable. Ken produced approximately 425 cases
in 1999. The vineyard is owned and managed by Dick and Betty O'Brien.
FREEDOM HILL VINEYARD Ken works
with one site in the Coast Range just south of Dallas, OR. Freedom Hill
Vineyards soil type is known as Bellpine, which is sedimentary in origin.
The clone is Pommard and the vineyard was planted in 1980. The wines from
this site are the firmest and most structured that we work with. They
have great longevity. The vineyard is owned and managed by Dan & Helen
GUADALUPE VINEYARD The vineyard
was planted in 1989 and demonstrates the transition of the Jory soils
of the Dundee Hills to the Willakenzie soils of the Yamhill Foothills.
The vineyard lies at an elevation of 350'. Although just above it, the
soil is the Jory type, this vineyard is made up of Willakenzie soil, a
well drained shallow soil over siltstone, ancient ocean floor 3-5 million
years old. The vineyard is spaced 7' by 5' and is planted to the Pommard
clone. The vineyard concistently produces small berries and clusters that
are intensely colored. Wine produced from this site typically shows flavors
of black fruits, cocoa, leather and earth. Ken produced approximately
425 cases of wine in 1999. Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve own the
vineyard. It is managed by Joel Myers.
McCRONE VINEYARD Located
in the Yamhill foothills, this is a densely planted vineyard at 1 meter
x 2 meters spacing. The soil is the WIllakenzie type, extremely well draining,
which promotes early ripening. The elevation of the vineyard is 400' with
a south-southwest inclination. Slopes are 5 to 15 degrees. The vineyard
was planted in 1992 to the DIjon 115 clone grafted onto 3309. The wines
from the site is typically powerful, dense and deeply colored, with flavors
of black fruit dominating. Ken made approximately 150 cases of wine from
this site in 1999. Don and Carole McCrone are the vineyard owners, and
John Gilpin is the vineyard manager.
NYSA VINEYARD This vineyard
was planted in 1991 to own-rooted Pommard and Wadenswil clone vines. Located
in the heart of the Dundee Hills between Domaine Drouhin and Archery Summit,
the land has a southeast to northeast inclination. The soil is Jory type.
Wines made from this site typically exhibit both red and black fruit flavors.
The wines are typically fruit forward, texturally elegant. Ken made approximately
350 cases of this wine in 1999. The vineyard is owned and managed by Michael
SHEA VINEYARD A famous
site from which many award winning wines have been made. The vineyard
is in the Yamhill foothills just west of the Chehalem Valley. The fruits
that Ken buys is sourced from two small blocks (2.02 and 2.72 acres),
one of which is planted to the Pommard clone, the other to the Wadenswil
clone. Soils are primarily Willakenzie. The vineyard lies at an elevation
of 350' and was planted in 1989. The wines from this vineyard exhibit
a complex array of aromas and flavors including black and red fruits,
particularly blueberry, spice and earth. Ken produced aproximately 425
cases of wine from this site in 1999. The vineyard is owned by Dick Shea
and managed by Javier Marin.
WAHLE VINEYARD Planted
in 1974, this is one of the earliest vineyards sited in the Yamhill foothills.
It is planted to the Pommard clone on its own roots with an 8x6 spacing.
The vineyard has a southwest inclination and lies at an elevation of approximately
425'. The soil is Willakenzie. The wines produced from this site show
aromas of cassis and plum with matching flavors, and hints of clove and
cedar. Ken made approximately 90 cases of wine from this site in 1999.
The vineyard is owned and managed by Betty Wahle.
VINEYARD This vineyard
is located on the southwestern end of the Chehalem Ridge and was planted
in 1990. The vineyard is adjacent to Beaux Freres at an elevation of 450'
with a southern inclination. The fruit Ken uses comes from rows planted
to Pommard clone at a 7x5 spacing. The soil is Willakenzie. Wines made
from this site often show aromas of blackberry, raspberry and anise, with
added elements of earth and cola on the palate. Ken produced approximately
115 cases of wine from this site in 1999. The vineyard is owned and managed
by Dick Alvord and Patricia Gustafson.