Nurturing Our Wines From Vine To Bottle
We’ve been making wine for four decades, but 2017 is the first year since 1978 our wines will be 100% estate grown and bottled. Elk Cove wines will be created entirely from grapes we own with “Estate Grown” appearing on the label, an important mark of quality in the wine world.
“We’re really excited to present our fans with wines that we have complete control over from vine to bottle – other than Mother Nature’s effects of course.” – Heather Perkin, Associate Winemaker
In the first two years, founders Pat and Joe Campbell grew all their own fruit, but quickly realized they didn’t yet have the fruit quality to create a Single Vineyard Pinot Noir they could be proud of. Luckily, a chance meeting between Joe and winegrower Sandy Reese while each buying their first grapevines from fellow pioneer Charles Coury, sowed the seeds of a friendship and a winegrowing relationship between Elk Cove and Windhill Vineyard. As demand for Elk Cove wines grew we also partnered with other respected local growers to increase production and give our wines the balance we felt was needed:
“In 1978 and 1979 we made some of the very first Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs in Oregon: Our Windhill Pinot Noir. Then came the early 80’s when we had difficulty ripening certain blocks so purchasing fruit from lower-elevation sites was key. Our farming methods have improved since then, with more thinning and the use of cover crops to improve soils, so we actually get some very nice fruit from blocks we once considered marginal. Then in the late 1980’s we knew we wanted to make Pinot Gris, but were just planting our own Gris vines. We began purchasing fruit to develop our winemaking style as our own vines matured. It may seem like a slow process, but that’s viticulture – it can take decades to get the results you want.” -Pat Campbell, Elk Cove Founder
Our family has spent the last forty years planting ten to twenty acres of vines each year and investing in an impressive portfolio of vineyard sites. The Elk Cove Winery Estate, home to our esteemed La Bohème and Roosevelt blocks, came first in 1974. Then we purchased and continued planting at Windhill, Mount Richmond, Five Mountain, Clay Court and lastly Goodrich. The diversity of these vineyard sites is truly what has allowed Elk Cove to go 100% Estate:
“We now have the lower elevation Mount Richmond, very similar to the Elk Cove Estate with Willakenzie Soils, ClayCourt on Jory soil, Windhill and Five Mountain on Laurelwood, great vineyards from 250 feet to 750 feet elevation, five of which have older vines, so now we have all the elements in place. All of our vineyards are in a 20-mile radius of the winery so we can lovingly, intentionally farm each of these parcels. We finally have the right mix of vine age, soil type, elevation and microclimate to create estate grown wines that rival the finest Pinot Noirs in the world, to proudly proclaim ‘Estate Grown’ on all of our labels.” – Adam Campbell, Owner and Winemaker
Mount Richmond Vineyard has really become the backbone of our wines in both volume and quality. The older vines at this site are proving Mount Richmond to be one of the elite vineyards of Oregon. In fact, Elk Cove’s first 94 point scoring wine in Wine Spectator was awarded to our 2008 Mount Richmond. With 180 planted acres, Mount Richmond now contributes 50% of the fruit for Elk Cove’s core wines, our Willamette Valley Pinot Gris and Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. And with several newer blocks that are just coming of age, this vineyard has a promising future ahead.
With our entire focus on vineyards that we own, we now have full control over how our fruit is farmed and can care for our vineyards and soils for generations to come. Estate Grown will now proudly appear on the label of every Elk Cove wine produced in 2017 and beyond.