Our Pinot Gris is hand-harvested from select hillside vineyards in the northern Willamete Valley. Pinot Gris has long been a focus at Elk Cove – our Estate Vineyard boasts some of the oldest Pinot Gris vines in Oregon, dating back to 1985.
VINTAGE 2017 was a classic Oregon vintage with plenty of sunny days and refreshingly cool nights. It was also the first year since our wines were 100% estate grown, created entirely from grapes we own and farm. We now have full control as we care for our vineyards and soils for generations to come. “Estate Grown” is now proudly displayed on each of our labels.
After three early harvests in a row, 2017 brought us back to what many consider “classic Oregon weather.” A wet, cool spring led to a late start to the growing season with an early June bloom. Dry, hot weather in July and August meant great ripening as we thinned clusters to protect quality. Worries of smoke taint during the Columbia Gorge fires proved unfounded in our area, but hazy skies slowed September ripening slightly.
We began bringing in fruit in mid-September, but were interrupted by rain a few times in late September and mid-October. With 40+ vintages under our belts and hillside vineyards at diverse elevations we were able to choose the right windows to pick beautifully ripe fruit from each block. Sometimes this meant pulling long hours: in fact October 9th was our biggest day on record, with 110 tons landing on the crush-pad. Expect ripe tannins, fully developed flavors and classic cool climate freshness in these 2017 vintage wines.
Our Pinot Gris is hand-harvested from select hillside vineyards in the northern Willamete Valley. Pinot Gris has long been a focus at Elk Cove – our Estate Vineyard boasts some of the oldest Pinot Gris vines in Oregon, dating back to 1985. Three of our other estate vineyard sites are also planted with Pinot Gris, including 50 acres on steep sloped Mount Richmond Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Planted in a high-density format, all our Pinot Gris undergoes shoot and crop thinning for low yields to maximize quality and concentration.
The Willamette Valley has the perfect climate for this delicate cool weather white wine. We have enough sunlight and warmth for ripening, but our cool evenings help retain varietal character and prevent over-ripening. We whole-cluster press our pinot gris grapes, then ferment the juice at very cool temperatures in small stainless steel tanks. This gentle treatment protects the aromatic qualities and enhances the natural richness of the Pinot Gris grapes, creating our most popular white wine.