Why deleafing/thinning is important for Pinot Noir in Oregon

Deleafing is the process of removing excess leaves as a part of vineyard management. This process is done primarily to provide ample ventilation and sunshine to the growing grape cluster during veraison (ripening of the grapes).

It is especially important in Oregon where there is high probability of rain, this would also allow the grapes to quickly dry and receive direct sunlight in order to avoid grape diseases such as mildew or botrytis which would lead to “bad” grapes. Pinot Noir is a an especially delicate grape variety and this additional exposure to sunlight and ventilation will also help it mature properly.

A visit to the beautiful hilltop winery of Elk Cove Vineyards in Oregon

I had the chance to visit winemaker/owner Adam Godlee Campbell at Elk Cove Vineyards following the Wine Bloggers’ Conference in August to talk to him about his stylishly made Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blancs. Elk Cove Vineyards is family owned and operated, started by Pat and Joe Campbell in 1974. Adam, their son, took over in 1995 to manage the winery and make the wines.

Adam Godlee Campbell

Adam explained to me that the name Elk Cove came from a time when they had first moved up to land and found a herd of Roosevelt Elk which roamed nearby, and migrated into the valley each spring.

The winery was established in 1974, their first vintage came out in 1979. They are currently creating single estate wines from five separate sites throughout the Northern Willamette Valley. Windhill, La Bohème, Roosevelt, Mount Richmond and most recently Five Mountain Vineyards were have all been selected for specific site characteristics for their Pinot Noirs based on soil, aspect, and micro-climate. The vineyard uses sustainable agriculture practices and all the fruit is hand harvested.

1999 Sparkling Willamette Valley

Adam led us though a tasting of nearly all their wines, we even had the chance to try their limited edition 1999 Sparkling Willamette Valley wine, their carbonic maceration Old School Pinot Noir, as well as finish with their 2008 Ultima-White Willamette Valley ice wine.

If you get a chance, you have to try their 2011 Pinot Gris Willamette Valley and their 2009 or 2010 Pinot Noir Roosevelt, these were two of my personal favorites!


2010 Pinot Noir Roosevelt

They have a beautiful winery set on a hilltop in Gaston, Oregon that has incredible views and beautiful scenery. If you are in the area, you can visit them at 27751 NW Olson Road in Gaston, OR 97119 or visit them at http://www.elkcove.com for more information.

Special thanks to Adam for showing us around and allowing us to taste his great wines. Cheers!

A kinder, gentler way to destem grapes at Hawks View Cellars in Oregon

For all those wine geeks, ie. Enologists, like me, who love a bit of enology technology, I have included what I believe, is the wave of the future in terms of destemmers. This is a German EuroSelect destemmer that uses rotative rubber hands to de-stem the grapes in a kinder, gentler way.

As part of the Wine Bloggers Conference, we are at Hawks View Cellars in Washington County, Oregon with A.J. Kemp, owner and 2nd generation winemaker, who has taken the time to show us his beautiful winery and allow us to taste some of the incredible wines coming out of not only his region but also from Washington and California.

Might I add their 2009 Oregon Pinot Noir is phenomenal? It is an incredibly full-bodied raspberry, cocoa delight.

Thank you, A.J.

For more information, please visit their website at http://hawksviewcellars.com