It is true that our fore-fathers crudely stomped grapes to make their wine. Obviously technology has progressed and we now use big expensive presses to crush our perfectly ripe fruit. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn't have some fun and a little friendly competition (if you choose to take part in our Stomp Competition) at our fifth annual Crush Party!
When: September 27th
Time: Noon to 4pm
Our fifth annual Crush Party is just four weeks away! We always have a blast at this party and enjoy celebrating all things harvest with you, we decided to throw the party again!
Compete in the grape stomp competition, listen to bluegrass from GTM String Band, go on a vineyard tour via hay ride (weather permitting), drink freshly pressed grape juice and enjoy the fruits of our labor from years past (aka wine!) and BBQ from The Meating Place. Below is the schedule for the day, rain or shine:
12:00 - GTM String Band begins to play and the first vineyard tours departs from the tasting room.
12:30 - Grape stomp heats begin
1:00 - Second hayride vineyard tour departs
2:30 - Grape stomp semi-finals begin
3:00 - Grape stomp championship
4:00 - Festivities wrap up
For more information, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a call 503.359.5012 x 106.
Hope to see you there!
We have been lucky enough to have some beautiful clear and crisp days to close out October. The wines are safely tucked into their tanks and the Pinot Noir has begun to go in to their barrels for the winter. We are really happy with the quality of fruit that ended up coming in, and the vintage will be similar in style to 2010, but of equal of better quality!
This year the gewürztraminer is especially abundant and the grapes that came in this week are really beautiful. Inspired by a recent trip to Alsace, Rudy came back with an idea on how to rework the gewürztraminer. We changed the trellising to a loop style trellis to encourage more clusters to grow. This was risky, but we are happy with the results, as the Gewürztraminer was some of the pretties fruit on property. We just picked the last of it yesterday and Stephen has begun his meticulous process and care for the grapes.
I begged the winemaking team to get a place on the harvest team this year to escape the office part time and to learn more about the every day they deal with in the vineyard and winery during harvest.
I spent the morning of my first day on the job getting a years worth of Vitamin D, sampling two of our single vinyard Pinot Noir blocks.
Despite the rain the past couple of weeks, I was surprised to see such great fruit quality and that the clusters have help up exceptionally well.
As much as I love what I do here on a daily basis; some manual labor and having an opportunity to help the winemakers make our wines was more meaningful than I had expected.
Wednesday morning a group of the winemaking team (along with our two new harvest interns) met with Rudy to work on Prep 500. Known as cow horn manure, preparation 500 is basically fermented cow dung. It is the basis for soil fertility, and the renewal of degraded soils. It is usually the first preparation used during the change over to the organic/biodynamic system. Preparation 500 is made by filling a cow's horn with cow dung, and burying it in the soil.
This will be dug up next spring and will be used for the 2015 vintage. The preparation when ready after 6 months should have turned into dark humus and should be sweet smelling. It should be stored in a cool place and in glazed pots or in glass jars with insulation. It is sprayed up to four times a year and used in small quantities being dilluted heavily by water.
This is one of our principle preps that we use every year and it increases in all soil bacteria and earthworm activity. Absorption and retention of water is greater. International research has found that BD soils require 25% to 50% less irrigation than conventional soils and it helps to develop a deep rooting system.
We got hit with a heat wave last week, which helped fight of the possible turn to fungus on the grapes after the rain showers previously. This week we are carefully watching the grapes and the wind and rain that has returned to tell us precisely when to start bringing in fruit. It should be any day now!
For those of you who know that I am from England, you will not be surprised to learn that August and September are important to me. For these months herald the start of the new football (aka soccer) season in the UK and across Europe, and I sit up to take a keen interest in how the all the changes made during the summer recess will pan out during the opening games.
Will the new manager at Manchester United be able to keep all his stars together and continue developing up and coming youth at the club?
Who will be the first manager to be sacked for not implementing all the changes he promised with forthright precision?
Will the band of overseas starlets be able to overcome language and cultural barriers and settle down to form an effective and cohesive bond with some more experienced pros from the mother country?
I like these scenarios because I relate them to our own ‘Start of the Season’ here in wine country and there are more similarities than you might imagine.
The summer has been full of planning, formulation of ideas and nurturing creativity regarding the grapes which are steadily ripening on the vine. Supplies are being thought over and ordered and equipment is being repaired and tested, made ready for the big start.
The harvest team is being assembled with each person being assigned specific duties. This year at Montinore, we will have a team with great diversity and skill.
Co-winemakers ( Team managers ) Ben Thomas and I will be the architects of the style, flow and results of the game that is about to be played.Assistant winemaker and viticulturalist, Kevin Green will be the ‘creative midfielder’ converting thoughts into reality and keeping the team in shape.
Our stalwart defence will consist of the vastly experienced trio of Sergio Reyes, Alfredo Santiago and Manual Cabrera who will help process all the fantastic raw material, which has been so carefully nurtured for the last 5 months, into the juice and must that will create the wines we make.
In attack, we will be blessed by the youthful duo of Paolo Bertani, from Italy, and Laura Greenwald, from California, joining us for the season, both of whom will provide the cutting, incisive edge and dynamic energy that all good teams require to be successful.
And watching it all, down near the pitch side, with a wry smile on his seasoned face will be the Owner, Rudy Marchesi, supporting and cajoling his team to produce the very finest result possible.
Finally, like all great football teams we have our most wonderful supporters, our customers, who individually and collectively drink the fruits of our labors and give over hard earned cash to enjoy the sweet taste of success. And without you, there would be little point in continuing.
So, as we slide towards fall, pay a thought into all the ‘hard graft’ that goes into creating a trophy lifting team and raise a glass, or two or even three, to Vintage 2013 at Montinore and all the stunning wines we will be trying our hardest to produce for you.
Our crush pad and winery are now showing the critical signs of a quick approaching harvest - the destemmer and press are out! We actually hit some majoy milestones this week - we brought in our first crop of fruit for the 2013 Verjus on Tuesday and pressed it on Wednesday.
It is easy for us at this time to get tunnel vision on our Pinot Noir grapes in the vineyard, they have such a fantastic change that they go through, and the deep purple pops right out of the vines. But with harvest rapidly approaching, we are reminded that some of the whites are the first fruit to be brought in. We thought it would be a great time to share with you what each of our four varietals are looking like today.
Years ago when I bought my house near the winery I was attracted to the site, the eastern exposure and views and proximity to our vineyards. The house was great and there were a lot of amenities including an old grape arbor that I wanted to re-work. It had collapsed but the old Concord and Niagara vines still clung to the remnants of the original arbor. Being the good son of an Italian that I am, I soon rebuilt and expanded the arbor to include more grape varieties and of course a long table where I could share meals with family and friends.
Tonight, years later, I was finishing the last bites of dinner and looking up at the grape clusters over my head. Each variety reflected the weather conditions of that short period of "bloom" aka, "fruit set" when the tiny grape flowers are pollinated and turn into individual grapes in mid to late June and has since evolved. If the weather is too rainy or windy or cloudy the flowers won't completely pollinate and the grapes clusters wont fill out with plump ripe grapes. If it is mostly sunny, not too hot and generally nice for us humans, the grapes are happy too and the fruit set will be maximized producing full plump clusters of round ripe grapes.
This year (2013) had mostly favorable conditions but there were short periods of storms and even hail in our area that interrupted fruit set in some varieties. On my arbor the early Concord and Niagara vines had incomplete set resulting in sparse clusters due to cool weather early in the bloom period. Likewise, some of my later blooming varieties suffered due to high winds and hail during bloom resulting in clusters with less than normal grape berries/cluster. Our Pinot Noir and Gris were lucky enough to bloom in a window of good weather favorable to the pollination of each flower on the cluster resulting in full clusters of plump round berries.
Observing this variation reminded me of why we all are making wine here in Oregon. The great wines of the world are made on the edge of their viticultural zones, especially the Pinot family. Contrary to folklore, the vines don't need to suffer, but they do need daily variations in temperature, the wider the better without being extreme. This only occurs on the edges of the viticultural zones for each variety. Oregon is that edge for Pinot, we are a cool region; in the summer our daily highs are in the 80s and night temps average in the 60s due to our Pacific coastal influence. Perfect! But... with this comes coastal storms at bloom and sometimes during harvest.
Isn't it a safer bet in a warmer climate? Yes, but we wouldn't find that perfect balance of daytime heat, nighttime cooling combined with exceptional soils anywhere else. We are not here for guaranteed returns on our investments. We are not here for a consistent predictable vintage. We are here because we have the potential for greatness. Not just good wines, wines that people pull out of their cellars for their birthday, anniversary, or just that day when it's time to celebrate life. These are the wines I want to make, this is what makes all the work and worry worth while.
Some years we fight with the birds and the weather to keep our grapes on the vine long enough to achieve that perfect ripeness. Some years we can't make enough to meet demand. All of these challenges impact our lives and our livelihoods but when we know people will savor, contemplate, and even cherish the wines we make, it makes all the risks and efforts worth while. We may be living on the edge but this is where the view is the best!