Friday November 5, 2010

The end of the vintage approaches in the form of fall rain storms....luckily all of the fruit has been harvested.

Abruptly, and yet after one of the longest years in our history, we finished our harvest with the Temperance Hill Pinot Noir and Wren Vineyard Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc , exactly one week ago on October 29th, while I was in Las Vegas for the Wine Spectator’s New World Wine Experience (desperately wishing that my phone had a “winemaking app.”)

The Wine Spectator event was great, as always, and this year we not only poured our wines to hundreds of wine-crazy tourists, trade and collectors alike, but we were also invited to speak about our 2008 Pinot Noirs at one of the wine seminars which was a great opportunity and an honor. Bergstrom (along with Ken Wright Cellars, Brick House, Archery Summit, Domaine Serene, Adelsheim, Evening Land and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars) was chosen as one of the top producers from Oregon for 2008 and we were all able to pour our wines and speak to the greatness of the 2008 vintage to hundreds of wine-tasters, critics and press as Harvey Steiman, Editor at Large for the Wine Spectator, moderated the panel discussion and tasting. Harvey has announced that he is scoring the 2008 vintage from Oregon 100 points!

Looking North, out our back door to the Chehalem Mountain.

My trip to Las Vegas was cut short and I had to jump on an early plane to get back to the winery, as my team was right in the thick of things during one of the most compressed vintages that we have ever experienced….and there were excited fermentations that needed my attention. It was good to be home.

The past week has been exhausting for everyone. The entire vintage was harvested within only a couple of weeks time (versus 5-6 weeks in a normal year) which meant that all of the fermentations all started around the same time and all of the fermentations would then finish at the same time and need to be pressed and taken to barrel at the same time! AAAARRRRGH! What a whirlwind of activity. Thank goodness for Pizza day at the winery, which is actually 3 days per week, but who can argue with fresh pizza out of the wood-fired oven when you are cold, wet and really hungry?

Travis checking sugars and temperatures of fermentations

The Pinot Noirs going to barrel this week are very dark in color with terrific shades of magenta-purple. The aromas are fresh like crushed cherries and black raspberries. Pinot Noir people who love wines with low alcohols but great appeal and mouthwatering acidities will really love this vintage……I really am starting to love this vintage…..I just wish there was more of it, they are truly lovely.

aerating a 2010 Pinot Noir fermentation

But, unfortunately, with all good things may come something negative. In this case our production in 2010 is down almost 50% with our Pinot Noirs and over 70% with our Chardonnays. The 2010 wines will be scrumptious (and probably collectible as well)…..but there will be very little to be had.

For now, we have but 14 fermentations still active in the winery as we frantically press the 2-3 tanks that are finishing each day in a well-thought-out and slow-paced race to the finish line. Half of the Chardonnay barrels have fermented to dryness and will now begin their secondary fermentations before 12-18 months of ageing. The aromas in the barrel cellar and fermentation hall are divine, the frui flies are starting to become a nuisance and the yellowjackets are angry and aggressive as they face the end…. and the work is still furious to try and finish everything up prior to the Salud Auction and the Thanksgiving Open House Weekends in wine country! Then we bottle our 2009 Single Vineyard wines just before our annual harvest club-dinner series! Oh it is going to be so busy but so much fun. I sincerely hope to see all of you within the next month at one of our events or at the Salud auction if you can make it.

Looking south to the winery block vineyard on a clear fall evening

Until then, The Willamette Valley is draped in vibrant yellows, oranges and reds but it is much quieter now. The bird cannons, shotguns and electronic scarecrows have all been put away for the winter and the fruit trucks that were busily moving clusters here and there and everywhere are dormant for now. It is a beautiful time in Oregon. We are tired but we are thankful for another great vintage safely inside. Thank you for tuning in and please make sure that you check back regularly throughout the year for my blog that I will be starting upon the conclusion of harvest; it is under “Josh’s Blog” in the same part of our website. I plan on talking about the winemaking season from pruning to harvest (and everything in between), my travels, great meals and events all as they unfold throughout the year.

Thanks for your interest and support this year! On behalf of my family and the Bergstrom team, we wish you all the best this holiday season!


Putting a special "Salud Auction" blend together.