Flowering in the northern Willamette Valley 2014

616

Grapes about fully set at Armstrong last week

It’s June and that usually mean it’s flowering time for the grape vines of the northern Willamette Valley. In a normal year Pinot noir flowers in mid-to late June depending on location and plant material. If Pinot noir wants at least 100 days from peak of flowering to harvest, and perhaps 110 days, that means harvest comes at the end of September into mid-October.

In 2010 and 2011 the grape flowers set to fruit super late, around July 4 and later, meaning we knew we’d have late harvests. And we did. In 2013, flowering was about a week early and that provided plenty of time to harvest mature fruit before the heavy rains we received at the end of last September.

This year we’re had a warm spring until the past week, which allowed bloom to again be a good week early in many locations. A week ago I walked the four vineyards I work with to assess how complete flowering was, and at Armstrong and Crowley Station things were pretty much completely set, at Zenith things were nearly complete, and only at Bjornson vineyard were the grape clusters only about halfway through fruit set.

732

Flowers still needing time to open at Bjornson last week. But huge clusters!

Overall the crop looks great. Clusters are large but that should help mitigate the brunt of the warm summer all are predicting. Weather for flowering has been ideal at the earlier sites, with all sun and mild conditions, leading to a successful fruit set.

At Bjornson, this past week’s cloudy, showery weather with isolated hail wasn’t ideal, but really we see variable weather at some point during flowering every year and I see no reason for concern. Heavy rain, persistent cold, and more than spotty hail are all things I do worry about, but we haven’t seen that. For the later sites in the valley, mostly at the highest elevations, the weather is back to nearly perfect. So expect happy growers, provided the season continues on the path we’ve traveled to this point.

2012s sold out at the winery

Our wines sold faster than ever this year. Even after going to extreme lengths to spread the wines around as far as we could, dipping into the quantity we set aside for the library (we’re saving too much wine so it was a good thing!), we’re completely sold out.

That doesn’t mean the wines are totally unavailable. Our distributors in CA and NY still have some cases in their warehouses, and locally in Portland there are several accounts with some wines on the shelves. But we’re completely out.

So…it’s a great time to get on our mailing list for our first offer of 2013s. If you don’t know, we offer our wines pre-release at special prices to mailing list members each August. Click the mailing list tab above and sign up. There’s no obligation, we’re not a closed list, we don’t force you to buy or kick you off. Of course, if you don’t buy, or don’t buy enough, the wines do sell out, So there’s reason to act. And the mailing list gets access to special bottlings and formats that you won’t find at retail.

As always, we thank you for supporting us. There’s no growing grapes and making wine if people don’t enjoy and buy the wines we produce. We’re committed to making wines that speak of Oregon, of the vineyards they come from and the years they were grown. Things change vintage to vintage, site to site, and we’re passionate about wines the reflect that kind of uniqueness. We hope you agree.

PDX Urban Wine Experience this Sunday

The biggest event the year for Portland urban wineries is happening this Sunday. It’s the PDX Urban Wine Experience, featuring all winery members of PDX Urban Wineries pouring new releases and special bottles from the cellar.

Come taste wines made and bottled right here in Portland, along with food from partners Crown Paella, Jacobson Salt, Tabor Bread, Portland Creamery and more. Details and discounted advance tickets here:

What: PDX Urban Wine Experience Tasting
When: Sunday, June 8, 2014, 3-6pm
Where: RefugePDX in inner SE Portland
Cost: $40 at the door, $32 if purchased by June 5

I’ll be there pouring two library wines from 2010, the Vincent Pinot Noir Ribbon Ridge and Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard. 1.5L mags also available in limited numbers. We’re sold out of current vintage wines but what the heck – let’s celebrate another year of Portland urban wineries and pour some wines from the cellar. Hope to see you  Sunday.

Events coming up

Several chances to taste Vincent wines in Portland coming up.

Friday, May 16 – 6-8pm – pouring at the SE Wine Collective tasting bar with my mentor John Grochau of Grochau Cellars, as part of Oregon Wine Month and the Collective’s guest winemaker series. Special tasting flights available for purchase. I’ll be pouring the 2012 Eola-Amity Hills and Bjornson Vineyard bottlings.

Saturday, May 24, 4-8pm – #Vinlandia tasting at the SE Wine Collective. This is our annual Memorial Day spectacular, with nine producers from the Collective pouring their wines and our chefs whipping up some excellent BBQ. Advance tickets $18, or $20 at the door. I’ll be pouring the 2012 Eola-Amity Hills and Zenith Vineyard bottlings.

Sunday, June 8, 4-7pm – 3rd Annual Portland Urban Wine Experience gala tasting and wine sale at Refuge PDX in SE Portland. This event features all members of PDX Urban Wineries, our local association of most wine producers fermenting grapes and making wine right here in the city limits of Portland. Eleven wineries pouring, with food by Crown Paella, Jacobsen Salt, Portland Creamery, Tabor Bread and more. Advance tickets $32, or $40 at the door.

Note: For the PDX Urban Wine Experience, we’ll be pouring library wines from 2010 – the Vincent Ribbon Ridge and Zenith Vineyard bottlings – and offer 24 bottles of each for sale at the event. We’ll even have a few 1.5L magnum bottles available for sale. Don’t miss out on this one time only opportunity.

A new season begins

017I was out at Armstrong Vineyard on Ribbon Ridge early this morning to see how budbreak has progressed. Things look great, as you can see to the left.

Bud break is just as it sounds. The woody cane of the plant was one of last years growing shoots. After winter pruning, only one or two canes are left to be bent down and tied to the bottom trellis wire. The little buds on the cane swell in the spring (see the bud on the lower right) and finally burst forth with new growth.

What’s so important about that? These buds contain everything that will grow this year, leaves and fruit but also new buds at the base of each leaf stem that, on any canes we keep next winter during pruning, will burst forth next spring and provide the crop in 2015.

There’s so much in these little buds. Let’s just hope we don’t have any frost in the next few weeks. These new growing shoots are fragile and historically we can’t declare the possibility of frost until around Mother’s Day in May. There are secondary buds that plants have in reserve in case these first buds frost and die, but those secondaries are more about vine survival, so you won’t get much crop this year if anything. And you can imagine there would impact next year as well, because again, next year’s growth is in the buds on this year’s shoots.

Confusing, I know, but that’s why when it’s all said and done, we can have a glass of wine and ponder it all some more. Enjoy.

Magnum P.i. library wine sale – back vintages available

Each year we fill cases of 1.5L bottles with a variety of Vincent Wine Company wines. We sell them to our mailing list and sometimes to wine shops and restaurants. We donate some to charities – mags make great auction and raffle items. We also like to keep a bunch of magnums to ourselves, because wine ages better in the large format bottles.

Yet we end up with more than we need and we figure we should come up with a clever way to sell magnums from our wine library to our mailing list members.

So…Magnum P.i. is born, out of a love of large bottles of wine and bad ’80s tv drama. We have limited quantities of our best wines going back to our first vintage, 2009, available at discounted pricing, all in 1.5L bottles. From today through March 14, (3.14, Pi Day), you can get wines otherwise long sold out, in rare large format bottles.

Shipping is not included in the prices, but we can deliver or arrange easy pick up for people in the Portland metro area. We do ship across the US but understand that case orders are much more economical for shipping purposes.

Some of these back vintage wines are available in quantities of just twos and threes, and they’ll go to mailing list members first come, first served. Join the Vincent Wine Company mailing list to receive our special Magnum P.i. offer today.

Great trip to California

I just got back from a week-long trip to California to introduce the 2012s to Los Angeles and San Francisco.

My distributor there is Return to Terroir and I spent the week with several of their reps pouring the wines for some of the top accounts in both cities. It was very exciting and nice to see the wines received so well, and to already see some key placements in local shops and restaurants.

More on that as deliveries are made, etc., but do look for Vincent wines in SF and LA is you’re there. I look forward to going back soon to introduce some additional 2012 releases coming this spring.