So what’s the vintage looking like so far? Hear what Winemaker/Owner Adam Campbell has to say about the outlook for the 2023 vintage:
“The decision about when to harvest these grapes is by far the most important decision I make as a winemaker every year. And to get out there and to stomp around the vineyards, to do your own sampling, to taste the grapes on the vine, to look at the canopy, to look at the health, you can really start to gain a picture for what you might choose to do in the winery in terms of extraction and the amount of time it’s gonna spend in a tank what barrels it’s gonna go into. Everything we see and taste in the vineyard reflects on what we do in the winery.” – Owner/Winemaker Adam Campbell
FULL TRANSCRIPT OF THE VIDEO:
Adam Campbell: My name’s Adam Campbell. I’m here at my family’s winery, Elk Cove Vineyards in the Yamhill Carlton District of the Willamette Valley.
Anna Campbell: And Adam, what are these grapevines behind you? Can you tell us a little bit about this vineyard?
Adam: Yeah, so this is the original Elk Cove Estate Vineyard. This is the Pinot Noir section, and these are the first vineyards planted in the Yamhill Carlton District.
Anna: And what kind of grapes are they?
Adam: So this is Pinot Noir and this is all Pommard clone from the original Chuck Coury nursery, just about 20 miles north of here.
Anna: Now I know we’re getting close to harvest here… What’s your outlook so far?
Adam: Well, it’s been a glorious season, really beautiful summer, 80-degree weather most days… Here we are mid-September, and these vines are probably at around three tons per acre. And I would be looking to pick this in three to four weeks. So we’ll definitely get into early October, which, even in a warm season, we love that these old vines from this high-elevation site ripen well into October at the very end of the season.
Anna: Why do we want them to ripen so late?
Adam: So, ripening later means we’ll have cooler weather during harvest, which is really nice. It kind of retains freshness and, uh, keeps the grapes intact. We also like a lot of what we call hang time. So that would be the time from the bloom period when the fruit set happens in June to the harvest period. We’re at about 90 days right now, and we’d like to see that push out into 105, 110 days that bloom to harvest period.
Anna: So I know it’s early to judge any wines from this vintage, but, uh, can you give us your best prediction?
Adam: Yeah, I’m really hopeful about 2023. You never wanna sing its praises till we get a chance to get these wines into barrel and, uh, be tasting ’em in the spring. But I really like some of the things about this vintage in terms of a reasonable crop size. We’ve done a little bit of thinning here, but, maybe only cut off about a half a ton per acre. And so being in that two-and-a-half to three tons per acre range is really great. The other thing I like about this vintage is, in general, we’ve seen smaller clusters and smaller berries which is really good for getting all the intensity, um, fruit qualities as well as the ripe tannins that you get from those skins, uh, from the small clusters and small berries.
Anna: I know this time of year, I, I see you driving around the vineyards, looking at things, taking samples. Can you just tell us a little bit about how you make that decision when a, uh, of, when a given vineyard block is ready to pick?
Adam: I’ll say that the decision about when to harvest these grapes is by far the most important decision I make as a winemaker every year. And to get out there and to stomp around the vineyards, to do your own sampling, to taste the grapes on the vine, to look at the canopy, to look at the health, you can really start to gain a picture for what you might choose to do in the winery in terms of extraction and, um, the amount of time it’s gonna spend in a tank what barrels it’s gonna go into. Everything we see and taste in the vineyard reflects on what we do in the winery. Vintage 2023: again, super excited about it. I’d invite you to come out, come to our tasting room, come visit us here at the winery and taste these wines. We’ll be bottling them in a little over a year from now, and then we’ll be having Pinot noirs in the spring of 2025. So come visit us!