Winemaker Jeff Herinckx
What’s happening at the winery
Our area saw record-setting rainfall in February, cool temperatures, and even a little snow at the beginning of March. This cool, wet weather hasn’t affected the vines, since the plants have remained dormant through much of March. The extended forecast shows warmer temperatures on the way, so we probably don’t have to worry about any more snow. We typically see bud break sometime in March; weather or not that happens this year will depend on what Mother Nature brings our way in the next couple of weeks. At this point, it does look like the growing season will begin a little later than it did last year, but we were early last year.
We recently bottled some Frambrosia, which is our Oregon raspberry wine. It’s been so cold in the winery that fermentation took longer than usual. We also recently bottled some more of our 2015 off-dry Riesling. We held some of this wine back last year, when we bottled it for our wine club. Because it was so popular with our club members, we decided to make more of it available this year.
The 2016 Pinot Noir is in barrels, aging in oak. We taste it frequently to ensure that it doesn’t take on too much oak flavor. We will need to bottle some of it soon for the Rose Festival limited commemorative series. Also to be bottled soon: the 2015 Pinot Noir for the wine club.
The 2016 Pinot Gris is revealing itself to have lots of tropical fruit flavor, which is typical of this variety. We buy Pinot Gris from three different vineyards, and keep them separate while they age. One vineyard uses the Scott Henry trellising system, which involves including four (traditionally only two) canes on each vine: two upper and two lower. This can be a risky system in a climate like ours, since the vines produce a lot of fruit, which may not fully ripen in a cool year. It’s paid off for the past couple of years, with the hot, dry summers we’ve had here.
What’s going on in March
In addition to the Pinot Noir we need to bottle for the Rose Festival commemorative series, we have a lot of bottling to do. Our first-ever Tempranillo, a 2016 vintage from Washington state, is currently in oak. We’ve tasted it weekly to ensure we bottle it at just the right time. I anticipate that will happen before March is over. We’ll also bottle the 2016 Pinot Gris, more Frambrosia, and more Niagara.
Though we’ll be busy with bottling in the winery, the tasting room is open to visitors, and we hope you’ll take advantage of the longer days now that the clocks have sprung forward, and come out for a visit! We’ve got a lot of activities going on this spring so check out our website for a schedule of activities and dates, we hope to see you here.
Winemaker Journal Archives:February 2017