June 29, 2011


Summer has arrived in the Willamette Valley of Oregon. A cold summer so far, after a cold and wet spring. That means the grape growing season locally is several weeks behind schedule. Where grape vine flowering might typically happen in mid-June, we're still waiting for flowering and will perhaps wait another week or more, depending on the exact site.

What does that mean? No one here is going to be picking grapes in September, the end of which usually sees the start of the Pinot Noir grape harvest. Which means, local winemakers like me will be free at the end of September. Not something we usually expect. What to do? What to do?

It also means that we'll be picking grapes as we did in 2010 and 2008. In the middle of October and later. We at Vincent Wine Company are unconcerned.

I mentioned to one of my growers today that I'm excited for harvest. He said, pray for sun and warmth. Really, we'll get what we get and, as far as I'm concerned, too much ripeness is more of a concern even in the "cool climate" of the Willamette Valley.

I was enjoying some nice Sherry and conversation a recent evening with a winemaker friend and his point was, aren't the benchmark wines from Oregon that we revere - the old school stuff from years back - from a time where crop loads weren't so manicured? Where ripeness wasn't so great? He's right. So let's not worry about ripeness. We'll be fine.

Meanwhile, life at Vincent Wine Company rolls on. In the marketplace, our 2009 Vincent Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills is almost sold out. I'm trying to dole out the last 40 cases or so over the summer to key accounts. The goal is to not have too much of a gap in availability before the first 2010s come out. More on that in a minute.

Lately, I've delivered to restaurants like South Park, Nel Centro, Tabla and Noble Rot. All venues that have been selling my wine and want more, which is a great thing. Division Wines, a new shop in SE Portland owned by Will Prouty, the buyer at South Park, took a few cases. Storyteller Wine Company brought in some more as well. Pastaworks and Foster & Dobbs in NE Portland as well.

My goal this year has been to find the places where my wine resonates. Where the staff gets behind it and finds customer homes and tables to take it in. Restaurants where the staff likes the wine and feels good recommending it.

Which brings me to 2010. The wines will go into bottle in August and release this fall. My conspirators in Guild Winemakers were over the other night to taste through all the barrels and I think I have four different Pinots on tap for 2010:
  • Armstrong vineyard bottling - 50 cases
  • Zenith vineyard bottling - 50 cases
  • A Ribbon Ridge appellation bottling that will be the main wine, replacing '09s' Eola-Amity Hills - 170 cases
  • And a limited Willamette Valley bottling geared for glass pours in restaurants - some may sneak out to mailing list customers though - 50 cases
Between now and the August bottling, I need to get bottles, labels, cork and capsules. And write my email newsletter for the mailing list. We'll offer 2010s at their best prices to everyone on the list. Join our mailing list if you're interested.

Meanwhile, I'll regularly visit the three vineyards I'm working with this year. Look for updates all summer long.

1 comment:

josh? said...

Dude I'm stoked about this. Loved both of the 09's can't wait to taste all four 10's. :)