Bud break at Elton Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills AVA
A lady beetle at our Estate Vineyard in the Salem Hills
Spring is here and the vines have woken up from a winter rest. During the rainy winter season, we saw record-breaking precipitation numbers from a strong El Nino event. From October 2015 to March 2016, the Willamette Valley recorded 39.58 inches of rainfall (1) and in December alone we recorded over 15 inches of rain! Very few days dipped below freezing and it was a warm El Nino winter.
After a mild Oregon winter, the vineyard staff is eager to begin the growing season early, yet again this year. For the 3rd year in a row, bud break is being reported throughout the Willamette Valley starting in late March and continuing thru April. Now that the vines are starting to grow, we pay very close attention to the weather forecast for frost or hail events.
As the winter rains have slowed down it has cleared the way for a few warm and sunny days. As soon as the ground was dry enough to work, the vineyard staff began preparing the vines for the growing season. We still have rain occurring weekly, so many of the vineyard activities are done in short windows of opportunity when Mother Nature allows us the chance. Its hectic and busy time of year trying to prepare our existing vineyards for the coming year and prepare prime agriculture land for over 100 acres of new plantings.
Our experienced vineyard staff has pruned all the vines with excellent care, mulched last year’s canes to return organic matter back into the soil, and tilled alternate rows of cover crop to achieve the perfect balance of nutrition and vigor. We have also begun soil sampling, weed, pest and insect scouting. Some insects like the lady beetle shown below are helpful additions to our Certified Sustainable vineyard program. This little lady bug is munching on mites that overwinter in the bark.
If the current weather trends continue as forecasted we should be expecting another gorgeous Oregon vintage!
Patio at the Estate Tasting Room
We are honored to be a finalist for the 2016 Sunset Travel Awards recognizing a tasting room or vineyard tour that illuminates viticulture and enology, has fun doing so, and offers guests a chance to sample excellent wines. Thank you Sunset Magazine!
courtesy of Sunset Magazine
Visit our Estate Tasting Room to learn about the incredible story of our winery and the Oregon wine industry as you take in the sweeping vineyard views. The setting is warm and relaxing with cozy fireplaces and seating areas, reclaimed wood floors made from pallets from the Port of Portland, and an expansive patio and courtyard. We offer Daily and Reserve Tasting Flights, a Food Pairings Menu to enjoy with your favorite wines, and a complimentary Daily Tour or Private Tour and Tasting experience. Open Daily 11 am - 6 pm. For more information visit our website.
Founder Jim Bernau accepts the ORVI Award for his achievements in building the Oregon wine industry.
Our Founder, Jim Bernau, was honored as the recipient of the ORVI Award at the Classic Wines Auction on March 5, 2016.
Each year since 2002, the ORVI Award has been awarded to individuals who have demonstrated significant achievements in building the Oregon wine industry and establishing its worldwide reputation. The ORVI award is presented to individuals that have not only elevated the status of Oregon wines, but have also provided generous support to the Classic Wines Auction. These individuals are leaders in the Oregon wine industry and are recognized and respected for their professionalism and philanthropy.
The Classic Wines Auction has been working in partnership with local charities to raise funds for children and families since 1982. Consistently recognized as one of the top ten charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine, the Classic Wines Auction has raised over $35 million for Portland area charities since its inception.
Jim is honored to be included among the distinguished past ORVI Award recipients.
Every day at Willamette Valley Vineyards we celebrate Oregon's abundant resources which brings us fine wines, locally sourced food and skilled artisans. In January we celebrate the Oregon coast's bounty with our 19th annual event, Mo's Crab & Chowder Festival on Friday, January 29th (6 pm - 9 pm), Saturday (11 am - 6 pm) and Sunday (11 am - 6 pm). Mo's Restaurant will bring their famous steaming clam chowder bowls, fresh Oregon Dungeness crab and other seafood selections to our Estate Tasting Room. We love pairing our Pinot Gris with these dishes, and are offering a whole-cooked crab with the purchase of a case. "Buy a case, get a crab!"
For the event, we are transforming our Crush Pad to host the festivities and inviting The Flextones to play rock & roll music for dancing. Admission is $15 and includes wine tasting. Admission for Wine Club Members, Shareholders and their guests is $10. Menu items from Mo's will be available for purchase at an additional cost. We hope you join us for this celebration!
Our Winery Chef, DJ MacIntyre likes to pair Dungeness Crab with our 2014 Griffin Creek Viognier. Here are his tips on how to serve it at home-
Dungeness Crab with Butter Sauce
4 oz. whipping cream
1 cup butter, salted
1 cup butter, unsalted
4 whole Dungeness crab
The peak of the Oregon Dungeness crab season is typically December through April and fresh ‘whole-cooked’ crab is readily available. When purchasing ‘whole-cooked’ Dungeness crab, request removal of the gills and viscera. Give your crab a thorough rinse under cold water.
To make the butter sauce, place cream into a sauce pot and bring to a slow boil and let it reduce by 25%. Slowly add the butter to the cream until it is all dissolved. If the sauce is too thick at this point you may slowly stir in some warm water to thin the sauce to a proper consistency. Transfer to a serving dish and hold warm. Butter sauce should be made on a per use basis. It will break if refrigerated.
Serve with nutcrackers, seafood forks and lots of napkins.
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