A vineyard is not a commodity. A vineyard is a commitment. As such, the return on investment, while nominal in terms of financial gain, infuses a steady drip of wonder, pride, and satisfaction into the lives of owners, vineyard managers, and tacherons who work within these canes and tendrils. Short-sighted attempts to turn a healthy profit too early in the life of a vineyard are, more often than not, disastrous. As such, patience, clear vision, and an open mind are the hallmarks of any successful vineyard owner.
It has been our fortune to inherit a vineyard that was planted and nurtured according to those principles. Black Walnut Vineyard was established in 2003 by Andy Humphreys, a legend in the valley. The site itself is stunning, and unique. Perched at 900 feet in elevation, these gently undulating hills are oriented toward the southeast. This extreme elevation translates to a long, slow ripening of fruit, which in turn offers bright acidity and intensity of flavor. It is a sweet spot for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grown on classic Jory soils, and is well-suited to weather the increasingly warm Oregon summers with grace.
Vineyard manager Ryan Hannaford is coaxing this already promising vineyard towards greatness, using biodynamic farming techniques, canopy management designed to ensure proper airflow, and an ear to the ground. He is also nurturing the young vines on our more recently planted parcel, Fairview Vineyard, located just to the east of Black Walnut Vineyard. Both vineyards are farmed organically, with a particular eye toward the development of a healthy biodiversity and long-term potential. As Ryan likes to remind us, we cannot think of ourselves as merely grape growers. We are, in fact, growing wine.