Getting there…

The storm approaching over the Dundee Hills

The storm approaching over the Dundee Hills

After 7 long days of picking frantically, we are finally finished harvesting Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Now only Riesling remains in the field. The team has worked tirelessly for three weeks straight now and everyone is tired and feeling good about the work that has been done so far. But only the picking is finished. The 2009 vintage has yet to be written into the books as good, bad or other as most of the wine is still in juice form, either cold soaking or fermenting.

The sorting crew has now left for the year and some of the picking crew we will not see again until pruning time. We are now just 10 people working in the winery to finalize the fermentations, do punch downs, press out wines etc… There were two great feasts in a row on Thursday and Friday to say thank you to the men and women who have helped pick and sort fruit for the past three weeks.

After a long, hot and dry summer, the 2009 vintage finished up with very typical Oregon fall weather. We enjoyed a week and a half of cooler weather with sunny days and cold nights which helped to build flavors in the berries, lignify the stems and seeds and preserve the acidity levels. The old vines from Temperance Hill and Hyland Vineyards yielded delicious fruit with a crisp snap of flavor. The last pickings off of the Bergstrom and de Lancellotti estate vineyards were spectacular, some of the best we have seen to date.

We have crafted two “whole cluster wines” this year which means that we may release the first “whole cluster selection” since the 2006 vintage. There was no “whole cluster selection” released in 2007 and none will be released from the 2008 vintage. Early tastes make me think that these will be great wines.

Also exciting this year is the fact that we have Arcus Vineyard fruit at Bergstrom for the first time since 2003. Many of you remember the early Arcus bottlings that we fashioned between 2000 and 2003 as some of our most impressive bottlings. We will keep you posted on this one!

Temperance Hill "Christmas Tree Block" fruit sitting on the crush-pad.

Temperance Hill "Christmas Tree Block" fruit sitting on the crush-pad.

We have also invested more commitment, time and finances into more fruit from the Temperance Hill Vineyard. We have helped the Temperance Hill team to plant 2.5 acres which will be farmed exclusively for Bergstrom and we have added to our existing one acre of fruit by contracting 4 acres of old-vine Pinot Noir from the “Short Rows” block which sits high atop the hill in an ancient volcanic caldera. This is a very exciting development and the 2009 vintage looks to be a great year to introduce you to more of this wine from Bergstrom’s cellars.

While the business of picking is now over, we now need to focus on making sure that our fermentations go the right way. This is the most crucial time for winemaking as whatever we decide now will seriously alter (for better or worse) the path of the wine that we are making. It is important to be dilligent and exact in how we operate to ensure that the fermentations proceed without problems. It is an exciting time but also fatiguing and sometimes very drawn out period that can take a month or more to finalize.

Stay tuned for more. We have Riesling on the way, a small crop of Sauvignon Blanc this year and the “Dr. Bergstrom Gewurztraminer” looks to be tempting….

Posted in Harvest 2009