2016 Vintage Notes

2016 was one of the rainiest years on record in Oregon- bringing nearly 50% more precipitation than average. That meant that our growing season was preceded by a very wet winter and a “Godzilla el Nino” – with some interesting results. Bud break arrived late March and lasted through early April while the month of May fluctuated between extreme cool temperatures and unseasonably warm weather. When it was cold, passing hail storms shredded leaves and caused cluster damage. When it was hot, increased temperatures led the vines to create lighter and looser clusters. This unique growing season created challenges at each growing site which the vineyard manager, vines and clusters all had to struggle to overcome. The positive result of that struggle can be tasted in the final product.

Harvest 2016

Harvesting is the first step in making any wine. The moment the grapes are picked determines the acidity, sweetness, and ultimate flavor of the wine. The harvest date for each Halem Heights vineyard site is selected when the acidity and sweetness of the grapes at that location are in perfect balance. We always harvest each grape cluster by hand to ensure only the best quality grapes are selected during the process. The grapes used in the Halem Heights Willamette Valley 2016 Pinot Noir were harvested between September 7th and September 24th. Each site was evaluated scientifically and with some good old-fashioned grape tasting to maximize the flavor profile of the vineyard before harvesting. Clusters were removed at each site between 2 and 5 am to ensure the grapes were delivered to the winery for processing first thing in the morning in order to minimize the time between the vine and press.

Sorting and Pressing

After harvesting the best clusters, the process of making wine begins. At the winery, the best individual grapes for our 2016 Pinot Noir were table sorted by hand to select only the best of the 2016 crop. Next, they were, de-stemmed and crushed into must – freshly pressed grape juice that also contains the grape skins, seeds, and solids. With our 2016 Pinot Noir vintage, we let the must ferment with the skins as long as possible to acquire the desirable flavors, colors and additional tannins. It is during this stage that the iconic pinot noir color profile is achieved. Body and aroma elements are developed during this process to make the 2016 vintage more structured and complex.

Fermentation and Clarification

Fermentation took place in 1.5 ton fermentation tanks for 13- 21 days. After the fermentation process was complete, a unique clarification step began in which the yeast cells, excess tannins, and proteins were removed. After filtering, the wine was then transferred or “racked” into oak barrels selected for their specific flavor profiles. The clarified wine was then racked into yet another vessel and prepared for future aging and bottling.

Aging and Bottling

After the clarification and final racking, we aged our 2016 Pinot Noir in oak barrels a full ten months to soften the flavor profile of the wine before bottling. Aging the wine in oak barrels produces a smoother, rounder, and more vanilla-flavored wine as the wine absorbs aspects of the French oak barrels. Barrel aging also increases the wine’s exposure to oxygen, which decreases tannins and helps the wine reach its optimal fruitiness. After aging, our wine was bottled with first-rate Diam 10 corks in premium Burgundy glassware. Each bottle is labeled with gold embossed textures and gold foil on the neck.

A Premium Willamette Valley Blend

  • Winkler Vineyard – Yamhill Carlton 40% 40%
  • Olson Estate Vineyard – Dundee Hills 25% 25%
  • Chehalem Mountain Vineyards 12% 12%
  • Dundee Hills Vineyards 10% 10%
  • Willamette Valley Vineyards 8% 8%
  • Varga Vineyard - Eola Amity Hills 5% 5%

Élevage (Aging)


New French Oak


One Year French Oak


Neutral Oak

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