Recently Chris and I took a roadtrip up the coast of California, through Oregon and Washington, and all the way to Victoria BC. We had a fantastic time traveling, visiting friends, and hiking all over the place. We also stopped in a bunch of wineries in the Willamette and Rogue River Valleys in Oregon. Oregon has become well known for its excellent pinot noir, but what really blew us away was the pinot gris we tasted there.
And – it occurred to us – Oregon really isn’t that far away from the Terragena winery. Could we get some of those delicious grapes and make an Oregon wine in a California winery?
You are likely unsurprised to hear that we decided to go for it. We are not ones to let something like a state border stop us, though it’s pretty unusual for California wineries to source grapes from other states. There’s sort of an invisible wall, if you will.
We felt it was more than worth going beyond the state border for some excellent pinot gris grapes. We found the Abiqua Wind Vineyard owned and cared for by Pete and Marcia Buffington. It is located in the Willamette Valley near Scotts Mills, Oregon, and near the beautiful Abiqua Falls. The Abiqua Wind vines were planted on own-roots in 1978, so they are very mature at this point. We are partnering with this excellent vineyard to make a 2016 Willamette Valley pinot gris.
What is pinot gris? It’s made from the same type of grape as pinot grigio, but the styles of winemaking are somewhat different, resulting in different flavor profiles. Pinot Gris is actually a red grape – it has a light red skin – but it is made into white wines, unlike its cousin pinot noir, which is of course made into red wine.
In early October of 2016, Chris drove up to the Abiqua Winds vineyard and picked up the pinot gris. It was a long trip – about an 8 hour drive from Terragena Vineyard in Humboldt County, California – but we think it will be more than worth it. The wine is currently fermenting at the Terragena winery, and we anticipate its release for sale around the summer of 2017.
Terragena Abiqua Winds Pinot Gris Stats:
- Willamette Valley AVA
- Grapevines planted in 1978
- 2 tons of grapes harvested for Terragena
- wine made at Terragena estate winery in Humboldt County, CA
- fermented and aged on 20% new oak
- approximately 120 cases of wine will be produced
- anticipated wine release date: spring/summer 2017