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AVAs and Vineyards

Vineyard Regions of the Northern Willamette Valley

Yamhill-Carlton AVA:

The vineyards of the Yamhill-Carlton District were planted mostly in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. 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 blue fruits, with added elements of cocoa, leather, anise, clove and fresh-turned earth. Acidity levels are generally lower than other regions, prompting these wines to be lush and agreeable in their youth.

Abbott Claim Vineyard

This site is a portion of the original John F. Abbott Donation Land Claim and lies in the middle of Savannah Ridge, a small east-west ridgeline of sedimentary rock just east of Carlton. This is a consistent broad face of land with soil depths of 30 inches to mother rock. Elevation ranges from 400' to 475' and the inclination is S-SE. Soils are mostly Wellsdale with some areas of Willakenzie, Melbourne and Peavine. All of them lie atop mother rock of fractured sandstone and siltstone.

The planted acreage totals 17 acres. Vines are roughly an equal mix of Pommard clone on Riparia Gloire rootstock, 777 on 101-14 and 115 on both 101-14 and 3309. As would be expected from a vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District the wine is very darkly colored, dense and lush. Fruits tend to be darker such as plum, cassis and black cherry.

Ken and Karen Wright own the vineyard. Mark Gould is the vineyard manager.

Guadalupe Vineyard

The vineyard was planted in 1989 and represents the definable change of the Jory soils of the Dundee Hills to the sedimentary soil of the Yamhill-Carlton District. It is spaced 7' by 5' and is planted to the Wadenswil and Dijon 115 clones. The soil, known as Willakenzie, is a well-drained shallow soil over siltstone. It lies at an elevation of 350'. The vineyard consistently produces small berries and clusters that are intensely colored. The wine possesses the character of blue fruits, cocoa, leather and earth. Approximately 400 cases are produced. Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve own the vineyard. It is managed by Joel Myers.

McCrone Vineyard

McCrone Vineyard

Located in the Yamhill-Carlton District, this is a densely planted vineyard (1 meter x 2 meters). The sedimentary soil, know as Wellsdale, is extremely well drained and promotes early ripening. Elevation is 400' with a south-southwest inclination. Slopes are 5 to 15 degrees. Half of the vineyard was planted in 1992 to the Dijon 115 clone grafted on 3309. The second half was originally planted to Dijon Chardonnay clones but was grafted in 2000 to the Dijon 777 clone of Pinot noir. The wine from this site ages very well. It is powerful, dense and deeply colored focusing mainly on black fruits. Approximately 700 cases are produced. Don and Carole McCrone are the vineyard owners. Mark Gould and Taylor Varuska are the vineyard managers.

Savoya Vineyard

Savoya Vineyard

This is the first vineyard directly owned and developed by Ken Wright Cellars. The vineyard is located in the Yamhill-Carlton District northeast of Carlton. Planting began in 1999 with 4.5 acres of clones 777 and 115 on phylloxera resistant rootstock. Total planted acreage as of spring 2002 is approximately 17 acres. Vine spacing is 6.5' x 4' and the elevations averages 450'. The soil is comprised of marine sediments known as Wellsdale and Willakenzie. These are sandy soils which drain quickly and hasten the ripening process. Our first commercial crop, 2002, has produced a muscular wine that has aromas of dense black fruit, seared meat, cedar and anise. Approximately 240 cases are produced. Ken and Karen Wright are owners. The vineyard is managed by Mark Gould and Taylor Varuska.

Shea Vineyard

This site is in the Yamhill-Carlton District just west of the Chehalem Valley. Our fruit is sourced from three small blocks, two of which are planted to the Pommard clone, with the third to Wadenswil.  Soils are primarily of the Goodin and Melbourne type which are sedimentary in origin. The three blocks range in elevation from 450 to 600 feet and were originally planted in 1989. Trellis style is vertical shoot positioning.  The wine from this vineyard has a complex array of aromas and flavors including black and red fruits, particularly blueberry, spice and earth. Approximately 725 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Deirdre Shea.

Eola Hills AVA:

The main development of the Eola Hills area took place from the mid 1970’s through the early 1980’s. 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 and blue fruits, black cherry, plum and cassis, with acidity levels that are naturally higher than in other growing areas, contributing to structure and the ability to age.

Canary Hill Vineyard

Located at the southern end of the Eola Hills and faces east. The original vines were planted in 1983 and 1984. All of the acreage planted to Pinot noir was Pommard clone. Two and a half acres that were originally Chenin Blanc were replanted to Pommard and Dijon 114 clones. Six acres that were planted to Chardonnay were replaced with Dijon 777 clone. The entire 20 acres are now planted to Pinot noir. Elevation is 450' to 550'. The soil is a mix of Jory and Nekia. Both are formed from igneous rock and have a reddish-brown tint. This site, however, has less depth than similar soils in the Dundee Hills. Wine from Canary Hill is typically very forward, with aromas of black cherry and cola. Approximately 625 cases are produced. The vineyard was owned, planted and tended for many years by Dick and Nancy Daniel. It is now owned by Ken and Karen Wright. Mark Gould and Seth Miller manage the vineyard.

Carter Vineyard

Located just 1 mile from Canary Hill in the Eola Hills, Carter Vineyard is lower on the hillside yet has a leaner and less fertile soil. It is mainly Nekia soil, which is formed from weathered basic rock. It lies at an elevation of 325' and was planted in 1983. This bottling is comprised of the Wadenswil, Dijon 777, Dijon 667, Dijon 115, and Pommard clones. The wine is much firmer than Canary Hill in its youth but evolves beautifully after a few years in bottle to show dark fruits and fresh, healthy earth scents. Approximately 650 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Jack and Kathleen Carter, and managed by Mark Gould.

Dundee Hills AVA:

Vineyards planted in the Dundee Hills of the northern Willamette Valley provided the start for the modern wine industry of Oregon. David and Diana Lett were the first when they established the Eyrie Vineyard in 1965. 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.

Nysa Vineyard

The vineyard was planted in 1990 to own-rooted Pommard and Wadenswil. Located in the heart of the Dundee Hills between Domaine Drouhin and Archery Summit with a southeast to northeast inclination. The soil is of the Jory type. Nysa is densely planted with a spacing of three feet by six feet. The nose exhibits a mix of red and black fruits. The wines are forward, textural and elegant. Approximately 350 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned and managed by Michael Mega.

Vineyards of the Coastal Range:

We source fruit from two vineyards located in the foothills of the coastal range. Both tend to be late to ripen due to the cooling influence of maritime air flowing into the valley from the Van Duzer Corridor. These sites also tend to have higher levels of tannin which make them great candidates for extending cellaring but they are unlikely to be as immediately pleasurable as many of our other sites.

Freedom Hill Vineyard

Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the Coast Range just south of Dallas, OR. The soil type is known as Bellpine, which is sedimentary in origin. The fruit from our 2.85 acre block is wholly Pommard clone. The vineyard was originally planted in 1980. Wines from this site were once the firmest and most structured that we worked with.  After replanting from phylloxera devastation the site was refitted with a vertical shoot position trellis.  This switch from a hanging trellis affords more shading of the fruit area.  The less exposed berries have thinner skins and lighter tannin levels which allow the resulting wine to be lush and approachable at an earlier age.   Approximately 340 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned and managed by Dan & Helen Dusschee.

McMinnville AVA:

Meredith Mitchell Vineyard

The vineyard was planted in 1988 to own-rooted Pommard clone. The site is southwest of McMinnville in the coastal foothills. Spacing is 12'' x 6'' with an average elevation of 300''. Soils are shallow with basaltic mother rock only 20 to 30 inches below the soil surface. Consistently producing small clusters and berries this vineyard renders wine which is intense and structured, requiring a bit more aging than may of our sites. Approximately 310 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned and operated by Susan Meredith and Frank Mitchell.