Our vineyard is located on the eastern side of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. It has a south eastern exposure to the sun with an elevation of 280 to 450 feet. This makes it an ideal location to grow Pinot Noir. It also is directly in the path of the fierce Van Duzer winds. We can have a 95 degree day that will cool down to 65 degrees within a half hour when those winds kick in. They are so powerful that it will rip limbs off of trees. These cooling breezes have a pronounced affect on the Pinot Noir grapes.
Our current vineyard site consists of 2 different soil types. The main soil is a Jory silty clay loam. This soil is a rich volcanic soil which exhibits reddish hues. Jory happens to be Oregon’s State Soil. It tends to flow like water when dry, which can make it a challenge to farm. The steep terrain is also extremely challenging, as erosion is a serious concern. In developing this site we have had to take precautions to make sure we kept this valuable soil in place. These precautions include not tilling when it is dry, maintaining cover crops during the rainy season, and keeping our vines healthy because they are a major stabilizing factor in this steep terrain.
The second soil type is a Dupee silt loam. This alluvial soil is in the sedimentary soil class. Numerous deposits were made by the Missoula Floods that carved out much of the Columbia Gorge and brought with it sediment from as far away as Montana. We have identified rock that is characteristic with formations from that region. The Dupee Soil also characteristically is affected by drainage from beneath the Jory covered slopes it is directly adjacent to. Its heavier clay nature inhibits the passage of water through its structure. Deep beneath the Jory covered slopes are impervious layers of basalt that divert the flow of rain water as it wends its way through the soil structure. When this water meets the Dupee Soil it keeps it wetter for a longer period of time in the spring. Farming this soil has its own challenges. We must stay off of this soil when it is saturated, or it can become too compacted. In order to facilitate farming needs in the vineyard, we have strategically placed underground drainage systems. This network of plastic drain pipe helps the soil to drain, so timely field work can happen. It also keeps the water underground, because when it surfaces it carries with it valuable soil and nutrients.