The Estate Vineyard is Planted!

December 15, 2023

Since we purchased the 88-acre vineyard in September 2019, we’ve been expanding from the original three acres under vine. 

We began the process by planting Pinot noir and Chardonnay in the Fall of 2020 (12 acres), took a break for a year, and planted other varietals – Syrah, Viognier, Grenache, Chenin Blanc, Cabernet Franc and Albariño – in the Fall of 2022 (another 10 acres).

Because there was an exceptional one-acre plot at the highest point on the vineyard, we planted Pinot noir Clone 114 this Fall (here’s a few pictures!).

Many of our wine club members and tasting room visitors ask – why do you plant in the Fall rather than the Spring? 

I posed that question to our vineyard manager, Philippe Pessereau from Atlas Vineyard Management and here’s what he said:

“Our ideal situation is to receive the vines from the nursery with leaves.  We prefer to plant them in the vineyard under cooler conditions and as we enter the rainy season.  That way, before they go dormant for the winter, their have a chance to settle in and begin to establish their root structure.”

Philippe went on to say that if you visit a local nursery for landscaping purposes, they will remind you that the ideal time to plant trees and perennials is in the Fall too! 

Because we dry farm our estate vineyard in Sheridan, planting in the Fall is even more important because if we planted after the treat of frost ended in May of each year, we’d be forced to water or risk significant numbers of new vines not making it through the summer.  As a matter of fact, we experienced fairly high vine morbidity this Spring when we planted Albariño (even with some hand watering). 

All in all, we now have 26 acres under vine in the McMinnville AVA and we are officially done planting. We enjoyed our first harvest from the 2020 planting – Pinot noir (Wadenswil, Clone 828, Clone 115) and Chardonnay (Clones 76 and 95). These grapes went into both still and sparkling wines, all of which are showing incredible promise in the winery! Unfortunately, now we get to wait – impatiently – until 2025 for the first of our estate Syrah, Viognier, Cabernet Franc, Chenin Blanc and Albariño.

fall planting
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