Winter Weather Impact at Iris January 19 2017
As the thaw continues here in the Southern Willamette Valley, we here at Iris would like to share some winter scenes and news from our vineyard.
The ice storm in mid-December left us with many trees and limbs to remove from our roadway. Thanks to our hardworking vineyard staff, we were able to open the road and tasting room quickly following. Our crew is continuing to make repairs to the deer fence surrounding the fields. It saw much damage from fallen trees and limbs. The vineyard itself weathered the ice storm without problem. The unpruned vines did not break under the weight of the ice as they are well supported by our high- tensile trellis. The trellis is designed to carry a heavy load. It must support the vines’ canopy of leaves in the summer breezes as well as the weight of multiple tons per acre of grapes.
We experienced some lower than average temperatures in the past week. The Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris vines we farm are dormant for the winter season. While dormant, they are not damaged by cold until temperatures fall below 5 degrees. We believe that we are safe thus far. In the next week, our vineyard manager will spend time in the field, dissecting dormant buds to double check that they are alive and ready for the 2017 vintage. If we discover some spotty damage, we will adjust our pruning strategy to compensate.
Our vineyard crew is getting started pruning the vineyard. We will be working on this important and labor intensive job until March. Stay tuned for more.
Thank you to our patient tasting room customers for your understanding as we have been forced to close a number of days recently. The roads out to the vineyard and our driveway had been unsafe for our staff and customers to make it out to Lorane, but we are happy that safe access has been restored. We all are keeping our fingers crossed that this Oregon rain continues to fall in liquid form!
Harvest 2015 Comes to a Close October 12 2015
Harvest has concluded at Iris! 2015 was the earliest start and finish for harvest, with the final truck leaving the vineyard last Thursday. And what a great harvest it’s been! We could not have asked for more perfect weather this year, and Arpad, our vineyard manager, is very pleased with this year’s results: beautifully ripe fruit, superb flavors, and excellent tonnage harvested.
Autumn colors are just starting to set at the vineyard, so we hope you’ll come out to see the beautiful fall foliage later this week. We’ll also be serving Sauser for the last time this weekend. If you haven’t had a chance to enjoy this delicious, harvest-season-only “new wine,” this will be your last opportunity to enjoy it until next year. Traditionally only available to winemakers and their teams, Iris has been delighted to serve Sauser throughout this harvest season. Tastings are free, and a glass is only $6. We’re open Thursday – Sunday from noon until six. We hope you’ll join us. Cheers!
Wowser, It's Sauser! September 25 2015Sauser: An alcoholic beverage that is the product of fermented, freshly pressed grape juice, known as must. Once yeast has been added, grapes begin to ferment rapidly. The sugar contained in the grapes is broken down into alcohol and carbon dioxide (glycolysis). As soon as an alcohol content of four percent has been reached, Sauser may be sold.
Harvest 2015 is in full swing, and we’re excited to offer a delicious sampling of this year’s vintage only one week after the grapes have been harvested! As fermentation begins quickly after processing the grapes, this delicious, slightly sweet, and somewhat carbonated style of wine will be available throughout the harvest season in our tasting room. With a range of 5-9% ABV, these refreshing wines will provide you with a unique tasting experience, often limited to winemakers and their teams only. Stop by our tasting room to taste the Sauser for free, or purchase a glass for only $6!
Iris’ International Interns September 23 2015
Harvest is here! Not only is this an exciting time for our team as we start the process of transforming the harvested fruit into vintage 2015, but also because we welcome our annual international interns to the winery. When our winemaker, Aaron Lieberman, started with Iris in 2008, he brought with him an international intern program that continues to this day. Just prior to harvest each year, interns are selected from around the world through CAEP (Communicating for Agriculture Education Programs). Due to the strong wine culture in other parts of the world, international students tend to be the majority of our interns through this program. Typically, these students are graduates of an enology program at various universities around the world.
Our participation in the program is not only beneficial to the interns, as they apply their skills learned in university in a hands-on environment, but is incredibly beneficial to our wine-making team. We are able to keep up-to-date on the most recent science, research and techniques in wine-making, straight from the classroom experience at universities from around the world. These interns are also familiar with which wine
styles are currently popular outside of our region, as well as current market conditions. International flair and a global perspective is another tremendous benefit to our team via this program. In turn, we are able to provide real-world exposure to wine-making in order to complement the knowledge they gain in the classroom environment. Benjamin Ohly, from Germany, and Danny Wastivino, from Chile, are two of this year’s interns and, according to our Cellar Master Bruce Howard, are two of the best the we have had the privilege to work with. We’ll profile both of these interns as we move through harvest season, as well as update our readers on the current harvest. Until then - cheers!
2015 Veraison is in Full Swing September 04 2015
Veraison: In viticulture (grape-growing), veraison is the onset of ripening. The term is originally French (véraison), but has been adopted into English use. The official definition of veraison is "change of color of the grape berries".
The Southern Willamette Valley received some much needed rain over the last week, but fortunately it was not enough to have a negative impact on our quickly ripening grapes. The rain did, however, settle the dust a bit for our vineyard crew! The vineyard is at 80-95% veraison at the moment, and it looks like harvest will start with Pinot Gris at the end of September continuing with Pinot Noir in early October. The Chardonnay is always the last to ripen and be harvested.
The long term trend forecast is calling for a warmer and drier than average September and October. If this holds true, that will be great news for vintage 2015! We still have a sizable crop hanging and it needs a month or so of decent weather to ripen. Cheers!
Photos: Pinot Gris (top left), Pinot Noir (top right and below), & Chardonnay (far left)
July Vineyard Update July 22 2015
Growth and berry development continue very rapidly with the warm weather we've been experiencing in the Pacific Northwest. 95 degrees has been highest temperature so far in the vineyard; however, the vines have not looked heat stressed at all. Fruit set happened quickly and seems solid. The grape berries are quickly approaching pea sized. We've paused on leaf pulling due to heat and the need to keep up with raising wires and shoot positioning. Our crew is currently making a final pass for these tasks. We've been irrigating replants and hedging both by hand and with the machine.
We've also found some nesting swallows close to the tasting room. They are voracious insect eaters, and we are glad to see them healthy and helping to control the insect population at the vineyard. Stop by and see the fledglings this weekend!