May 25, 2010

Armstrong vineyard update 2

In the aftermath of the Garage Tasting, I blew off my real job and hung out with friends from Seattle who came down for the shindig. Then I shipped some wine to various people and took advantage of the drive down to Yamhill county to visit Ribbon Ridge and the Armstrong vineyard. This new planting will be my primary source for grapes in 2010 and beyond. I'm really excited, so I took some more pictures (earlier post here).

The spring weather here in western Oregon is still rotten. We had some nice days around my birthday earlier in the month, thank heavens. My mother was visiting and I was so glad she was able to enjoy the incredible flowers all over Portland in bright but still mild sunshine. Since then we're back to constnt gray and serious (for this time of year, anyway) cold. Would you believe highs in the low 50s for a few days? Indeed, the heat made an encore performance. I'm hoping it's off again until we fight the urge come October.

Nevertheless, the vineyard looks great. Young vines are vigorous so there was much more growth here than comparable sites I saw driving around the Chehalem Mountains and Dundee Hills with older vines. Hail has been frequent this spring but there's little hail damage. My hydrangeas look terrible, but the vines seem unaffected. Check out those leaves and primordial grape clusters. This still young vineyard has waited three long years to produce fruit. We're just about there.

 Since my last visit, the cover crop in the rows has been plowed under. Even with all the rain, the soil here drains pretty well so mud wasn't an issue. You can see nice consistent growth in this block of pinot vines, all 115 clone on the southern end of the vineyard looking uphill to the north. If you look closely you can see the mostly vertical shoots growing up between the trellis wires. Those that stray get put into place. All in all, things look terrific at Armstrong. I'll be back again and again charting the parogress of the season, getting to know the vines and vineyard before seeing the fruit in the winery.

On the way home, I headed over Worden Hill Road through the heart of the Dundee Hills. This is where is all began for Oregon pinot back in the '60s and '70s. Here's a bad shot from the car down Worden Hill from Maresh. Le Pavillon and Prince Hill on the left, Winderlea on the right.

Down the road I stopped like a tourist to take his shot looking due south from Winderlea to the west facing slope of Weber above and the lower part of the Arcus bowl around the pond and first clump of trees. They don't call these parts the Red Hills of Dundee for nothing. And even with the lousy weather, the sky is mesmerizing.


D J R-S said...

Damn, I'm an idiot. I live in Puerto Rico which is impossible to ship to, yet my 10 days in NYC have extended to 40! Love what y're doing, wanted to try that last garage Pinot. Sounds like y're already firing on all six Vin Nature cylinders! Much success, hope I can catch up with you later on...

Vincent Fritzsche said...

D J R-S, we're trying anyway. Vin Nature is the goal but also a pathway. Let me know if you want on the mailing list. Email vincent dot fritzsche at gmail dot com.