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!
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.
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.
After 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
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.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 firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling our Tasting Room at (541) 242-6588. We hope to see you there!
Cooking with Iris Trellis Club March 20 2015
We are excited to announce the first cooking demonstration in our beautiful tasting room kitchen. Mark your calendars for Sunday, March 29th from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM. Tickets are very limited, so please make your reservation by calling Jennifer, our event coordinator, at 541-520-4868.
Price per reservation is $50, including a glass of Iris Vineyards wine. Chef Brendan is preparing an appetizer, main course, and a dessert to enjoy. His restaurant, Belly, is one of the best in Eugene, and we are excited to have him share his culinary skills with our Trellis Club members.
If you are not a member but would like to attend this event, joining the Trellis Club is easy! In addition to special events, you also receive a discount on our wines, as well as four wine shipments per year. We hope to see you at this one of a kind event!
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!
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!