News

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.

vineyard in snow

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.

grape vines in snow

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.

vineyard landscape in snow

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!

vineyard in snow


Riddling Sparkling Rose' January 10 2017

We have a very special upcoming release at Iris: Sparkling Rose’! In order to bring this limited-edition release to you, this wine is currently in the riddling stage of sparkling winemaking.

sparkling rose' riddling

Over the course of the riddling stage, the dead yeast cells and other sediment formed as a by-product from the fermentation stage collects in the neck of each bottle. The goal is to achieve a crystal-clear wine. Not only does the riddling process remove the sediment from the wine, but it also helps create its unique texture and complex bouquet. The longer the wine sits in the riddling stage, the more complex and bubbly it becomes.What is riddling? Riddling is an age-old technique that involves rotating tilted bottles to remove sediment created from the fermentation stage. During this stage, the bottles are placed on a riddling rack with their necks down and gradually rotated in 1/8 to ¼ turn increments, both clockwise and counterclockwise. The average riddling process consists of about 25 turns over 4-6 weeks while the steepness of each inverted bottle increases from 45 degrees to 60.


sparkling rose' riddlingAfter the riddling process, the sediment must be disgorged from the bottles. To do this, each bottle is placed in a sub-zero solution for a few minutes to form an ice plug made of the sediment deposits in the neck. The cap is then removed and the pressure within the bottle shoots out the ice plug with the frozen sediment trapped inside it.

Stay tued for the release date of this very special varietal (an Iris first!), and follow its process on our social media channels!


Harvest 2015 Comes to a Close October 12 2015

Last Truck Leaving Iris VineyardsHarvest 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. 

Fall Foliage at Iris VineyardsSauser at Iris VineyardsAutumn 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 2015

SauserSauser: 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. 

Iris' International InternsOur 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

 Pinot Gris Wine Grape Pinot Noir Wine Grape 

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.  

 Chardonnay Grape

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)

Pinot Noir Grape

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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!  

  

If you have any questions about the vineyard, feel free to leave a comment below!  You can also reach out to us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  Cheers!


Oak Savanna Restoration July 22 2015

Oak Savanna is one of the most important eco-systems in the valleys of the Pacific Northwest; however, less than 1% of the savannas that the first pioneers witnessed upon entering the Willamette Valley are protected in parks, designated wilderness, or special management areas. As a result, it is essential for private land owners to protect and restore this critical habitat.  At Iris Vineyards, we are fortunate to have the legacy of this unique and much needed habitat in several areas across our 850 acre estate.  We have endeavored to restore white oak savanna in areas where feasible, with much success; however, our work is not yet complete. Richard Boyles, co-owner of Iris, explains:

In 1992, Pamela and I acquired a mixed use grazing and timber property. We bought the property for the vineyard potential of parts of the property, but many acres of the property are better suited to forestry or grazing.  Virtually all of the merchantable Douglas fir had been harvested from the property in the months before our purchase.  Some large oaks had also been harvested for firewood, but remnant stands of older oak remained, often with the faster growing fir growing up through the branches of the venerable oak.  It was simply too much work for the production logger to extract the fir from the oak stands.  Felling the oak would have slowed production.
 
Not long after we bought the property we adopted a policy that no standing oak would be cut on the property.  This included no mowing of young trees in pastures and open areas.  Over the years, I have felled and sometimes girdled fir to release oak for better growing conditions, but my time with the chain saw is far too limited and my skills often unequal to the challenging task of felling fir in oak stands and leaving the oak unscarred. Today, the unique value of oak savanna habitat is increasingly recognized and caring people have banded together to protect and encourage restoration of this habitat. 
   
In support of these efforts, Iris is undertaking three initiatives: 1) our own oak savanna restoration project, engaging professionals to do what we could not in our “spare” time; 2) contributing 5% of sales from our 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir to a local non-profit that works to restore oak savanna; and, 3) blogging about Oak savanna to increase awareness and support for preservation and restoration efforts.  We invite you to support Oak savanna habitat work directly through contributions to like-minded organizations or indirectly, through the Iris.

 

Over the next several weeks and months, we will look at the history of Oak savanna and its importance to the eco-system of the Pacific Northwest, including the legacy of the Kalapuya Tribes and the rapid disappearance of this landscape post-settlement.  Next, we will chronical a restoration project that has just begun at Iris Vineyards and connect this project to others that have been undertaken in the Willamette Valley.  Finally, we will highlight a local non-profit agency and review the work they have done throughout our region to restore this essential habit. We look forward to sharing this story with you and would encourage any feedback you have be submitted through our Facebook page, via Twitter, directly to our blog via the comments section below, or you can share photos you may have of Oak Savanna restoration to our Instagram account.  Cheers!

 


2015 Vineyard Update June 16 2015

 

The 2015 growing season is off to a very warm start!  Temperatures have already climbed into the 90’s and have been notably warmer than average throughout the season.  As a result, the growing season is ahead of average. 

Bloom is in full swing and should continue for a couple of weeks.  It looks as though the warm, dry weather should continue throughout this year’s bloom, which is perfect conditions for vines during this phase.  This year marked the earliest start to bloom since the vines were planted, a full two and a half weeks ahead of average.

Similarly, the vines have been growing at an incredibly rapid pace. We’ve seen a foot to a foot and a half of growth in the last 4-5 days.  This type of growth results in many healthy leaves, which is good to have during bloom in order to contribute to a good fruit set. 

So far, 2015 looks like another stellar vintage, similar to 2014.  Cheers to another good vintage!


South Willamette Wineries Barrel Tour June 09 2015

On June 20th, Iris will be one of the wineries featured in the South Willamette Wineries Barrel Tour. We are thrilled to participate in this unique event!  Sit back, relax and enjoy the scenic views while traveling in a deluxe charter bus touring five spectacular wineries. Enjoy the hospitality of each host winery, while sampling three wine selections paired with gourmet appetizers, including a special sample straight from the barrel.  Tickets are $60 for this event.  For more information, please e-mail info@southwillamettewineries.com.  


Oregon Wine Month Event: Blending Seminar May 01 2015

In celebration of Oregon Wine Month, we are excited to host a Blending Seminar at our Estate Tasting Room on Saturday, May 16.  Our winemaker, Aaron Lieberman, will be on hand to discuss various approaches to blending wine in this hands-on demonstration.  In addition to a short lecture from Aaron, this fun, interactive seminar will offer you the chance to blend your own wine with guidance from the winemaker.  You’ll have the opportunity to blend our Pinot Noir and Syrah varietals. 

There are two sessions for this unique event.  From 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM, seating is reserved for our Trellis Club Members at $7 per participant.  If you are not a member, register today!  We will also host a session for the general public from 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM for $15 per participant.  Please register by calling our Estate Tasting room at 541-242-6588 or by e-mailing our Events Coordinator, Jennifer, at jmcnutt@irisvineyards.com.  Seating is limited to 22 participants per session, so register soon to reserve your spot.  We hope to see you there!


Trellis Club Barrel Tasting Event March 31 2015

We have another exciting event for our Trellis Club Members! Join us at our Cottage Grove winery on Saturday, April 18th, from 11 AM - 1 PM for an exclusive barrel tasting of our 2014 Pinot Noir vintages.  Our Winemaker, Aaron Lieberman, and our Cellar Master, Bruce Howard, will be pouring some of their best work for you to enjoy!  Iris will also provide light appetizers to compliment the barrel tastings.  If you are not a Trellis Club member, we encourage you to join and take park in this unique event!  Please RSVP by e-mailing contact@irisvineyards.com or by calling our Tasting Room at (541) 242-6588.  We hope to see you there! 


Eye on Iris February 16 2015

We'd like to introduce our new video blog series, "Eye on Iris."  Arpad Walker, our vineyard manager, will provide periodic updates and information on our vineyard.  We hope you enjoy!


WINE + CHOCOLATE= A Perfect Pair! February 02 2015

Join us at the vineyard tasting room for an informative and delicious wine and chocolate tasting with Chocolatier Shane Tracey.  Chef Shane will be educating us on single origin chocolates and pairing our lovely wines with unique and interesting chocolate flavors.  We will be pairing chocolates with our 2012 Chardonnay, 2012 Reserve Pinot Noir and 2012 Syrah. 

Chocolate will be available for purchase all day, but Chef Shane and the wine and chocolate presentation will happen from 3:00-5:00 P.M.

This exclusive wine and chocolate flight will be $3 for Trellis Club members and $8 for the general public. 

Please RSVP for the session with Chef Shane by e-mailing rlindner@irisvineyards.com.  We hope to see you there!


The Oregon Truffle Festival and Iris Vineyards December 30 2014

  

Next year, the Oregon Truffle Festival will celebrate ten years, and we are excited to be a sponsor for next year’s festival!  Between the 15th and 25th of January 2015, the 10th-annual Oregon Truffle Festival presents North America’s only epicurean celebration of all things truffle right in the heart of Oregon—one of the few places on Earth where native truffles thrive. For nearly a decade, the Oregon Truffle Festival has been one of the leading voices for a burgeoning industry as well as an exciting culinary festival that sells out its popular weekend experiences and culinary events year after year.

This is an international event that joins truffle fanciers and truffle experts from all over the world in three days of celebration, educational seminars, and hands-on experiences. From James Beard winning chefs to truffle industry experts to food journalists and food enthusiasts, many renowned culinary figures participate in the Oregon Truffle Festival every year.  It’s the only event of its kind in the country, and the foremost wintertime culinary event in the State of Oregon.

There are still tickets available for the weekend’s festivities, including the Winery Luncheon hosted by Iris Vineyards on January 24th.  We hope you will join us in celebrating this unique to Oregon event!


Black Friday Chestnut Roasting Party November 24 2014

In what we hope will be an annual tradition, Richard will be roasting chestnuts on Friday afternoon (Black Friday).  The chestnuts are harvested from an orchard onsite and are quite delicious!  We will also be releasing a new vintage, an After Dinner Chardonnay, which we are excited to share. We hope you’ll join us for this festive afternoon as we kick off the holiday season! 

We will also be open on Wednesday in case you need to get some wine prior to Thanksgiving, and we’ll have extended hours all weekend.  Of course, we’re closed Thanksgiving Day to spend time with family on the holiday.  Below are some photos from our last Trellis Club Party where Richard fired up the chestnut roaster for our members.  Cheers and Happy Holidays!

   


Holiday Food Drive November 12 2014

       

As we enter this holiday season, Iris Vineyards and other local area wineries are holding a food drive in partnership with the Oregon Food Bank, Food for Lane County and Willamette Valley Wineries.  Willamette Valley wineries ranked food and hunger causes as a high priority for donations in the past year. Long-term unemployment, persistent underemployment, and the high cost of food, gas, utilities, and rent are forcing more and more people to seek emergency food. The Oregon Food Bank and its statewide network (which includes Food for Lane County) are able to provide meals and groceries to families, children, seniors, and those who are disabled.

Our collective goal is 200,000 pounds of food, and we would appreciate your support! You can participate by visiting our tasting room with non-perishable food items or with a cash donation.  A list of most wanted foods is available, and you can also donate directly to the Oregon Food Bank or Food for Lane County on their websites.  The food drive will run the entire month of November and end December 22nd

In addition, all participating wineries have offered a prize for your participation! You will be entered for the prize when you visit with your donation.  Iris’ contribution is a complimentary tasting for eight people; an $80 value! Prizes will be complied and winners will be announced at the end of the drive.  We appreciate your support in helping to provide food security throughout our region!


“It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s…” a drone! November 03 2014

 

On a beautiful autumn Sunday, Iris Vineyards was fortunate enough to be able to host a drone owning guest who was onsite to fly the drone around the property.  While not quite superman, this Phantom Quadcopter captured spectacular views of the vineyard, tasting room, and surrounding terrain.  Below are some of the beautiful aerial photos captured during the flight:

The above shot captures Iris’ vineyard and the landscape to the east.

The tasting room is seen from a bird’s eye view and is the leftmost building in the picture above.  The patio expands to the right, with Pamela and Richard's house being the structure at the top of the photo. 

A direct shot of the front of our tasting room, trellis, and the vineyard expanding in the foreground.

Above, you see a different view of Iris’ vineyard and tasting room.

The forestland to the west of the vineyard is pictured in the above shot.

Looking northwest, you see our tasting room, patio, vineyards, and forestland.

It was an exciting day to be at the vineyard! We hope you enjoy the photos and are able to visit us for a glass of wine and amazing “ground level” views. 


Trellis Club Release and Chestnut Roasting Party October 29 2014

Fall is in the air, and we would like to celebrate the season with our Trellis Club Members! In addition to our vineyard, we have a chestnut orchard onsite where chestnuts are harvested annually.  This year, in conjunction with our holiday Trellis Club distribution, Richard (Iris Vineyards’ owner) will be roasting chestnuts and offering them to Trellis Club members when wine is picked up at our tasting room.  Members are invited to join us Sunday, November 16th, from noon until 5:00 PM to pick-up the holiday wine distribution and celebrate autumn with us! 

If you are not a member of our Trellis Club, we encourage you to join as there is still time to receive the holiday shipment.  Of course, the event is open to everyone; however, members receive discounts on a three bottle selection, as well as complimentary roasted chestnuts during the Pickup Party.  Also, for this shipment members will be able to select any three bottles of their choosing from our currently released vintages.  We look forward to toasting autumn, our Trellis Club Members, and of course Iris Vineyards’ award-winning wines at this event!


Welcome to Our New Website! August 27 2014

Thank you for visiting Iris Vineyards!  We hope you enjoy our newly re-designed website.  Here, you'll find our most recent news, information on our wines, history, and staff, as well as purchase our wine or sign up for our wine club.  Our new site is much easier to use and we hope you like the look!  Check back often for updates, specials, and events.  And, of course, we hope to see you  at our newly opened tasting room.  Cheers!