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Willamette Valley Vineyards
March 28, 2024 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

At Work in the Winter

Winter in the vineyard doesn’t mean our crews take a break until spring — and the vines don’t either.

It may look like little is happening during the dormancy phase, but beneath the surface, the vines have been working hard to tolerate and acclimate to the cold days of winter.

After harvest, the vines’ roots begin to grow, soaking up nutrients from the soil.

And although cold temperatures can harm crops, grape vines are extremely resilient. Water and nutrients in the vines move into the trunk and roots when temperatures drop. Storing these carbohydrates helps prevent the freezing of the plant tissue and gives the vines the energy they need for bud break come spring.

While the vines do a lot of self-maintenance, pruning is an important part of the grape-growing process that helps prepare the vines for future fruit development.

During the colder months, our vineyard stewards are hard at work pruning and maintaining the dormant vines. This week, they finished pruning vines at our Estate in the Salem Hills and are anticipating bud break.

Pruning and Preparations

Vineyard Manager Efren Loeza started working at Tualatin Estate Vineyard as a teenager and eventually joined Willamette’s team when it merged with Tualatin Estate in 1997.

Efren learned about vineyard management and specifically pruning from pioneering viticulturist David Foster. He brought that knowledge to our multiple vineyards spanning more than 500 acres.

Pruning is a crucial component of vine management as the decisions our vineyard stewards make when pruning will impact the next year’s growth.

At Willamette, we utilize different styles of trellises to maximize quality grape growth. This paired with intentional pruning and maintenance decisions gives us plentiful harvests.

Watch the video below featuring Efren and Founder & CEO Jim Bernau to learn more about vine maintenance.


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Founded in 1983 by Oregon native Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine


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