Greg Schultz
October 19, 2014 | Greg Schultz

Making of the 2014 SCHULTZ Pinot noir

In my last blog, I hinted that we were about to strike a deal for some 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot noir fruit. It all worked out so here's our story...

Chris Baker is owner of Ancient Cellars winery and winemaker at 12th and Maple Wine Company in Dundee, Oregon. He also manages the Stand Sure Vineyard in the beautiful Eola-Amity Hills AVA near Salem which is home to many premier Pinot noir vineyards and wineries. After chatting with Chris several times, we agreed to purchase 2.5 - 3.0 tons of his crop. Harvest time is a waiting game--the fruit needs to be ripe, the flavors full, the weather good, and the picking crew lined up. Conditions change daily! So on a Thursday a few weeks ago, the decision was made--we are picking on Saturday!

Quickly, we had to rent a 20 foot truck, make hotel reservations, and pack a few belongings. Friday morning was a frenzy! We picked up the truck, drove to Pallet Wine Company (where we make our wines) to pick up 8 harvest bins and a pallet jack that Linda Donovan was kind enough to let us borrow, drove home to load up our belongings and took off for the 5 hour drive to Salem. Our two dogs shared the passenger seat (and floor), Debbie rode the middle "jump" seat, and I drove--what a sight!

Kayla and Mick aren't quite sure...

The drive up went well. It was a beautiful fall day in the Oregon mountains. We checked into our hotel in Salem and unloaded our personal items. In order for the picking crew to get an early start on Saturday morning, we had to drive out to the vineyard Friday evening to unload the bins and get them into position. We found our way quite easily, unloaded the bins, took in the beautiful wine country of the Eola-Amity Hills area, and made it back to Salem in time to enjoy a nice dinner.

Eola-Amity Hills is home to many premier wineries.

The picking crew worked fast on Saturday morning. We had breakfast, checked out of the hotel, loaded up and drove to the vineyard. By the time we arrived, the bins were full and ready to be loaded into the truck. We were on the road before noon and back in Medford at Pallet Wine by 5 pm. The official scale at Pallet showed 2.66 tons. Debbie and I assisted Fred and Elisabeth with destemming the fruit and getting it into fermentation bins.

Bins of Pinot noir ready to load.

During the past 2 weeks, the native yeast fermentation has progressed to 99% complete.  A couple of days ago the grapes were pressed, and yesterday the wine was put into 8 barrels to complete fermentation and for aging. As a result of evaporation and other aging losses, we expect there to be 7 barrels ready to bottle in the summer of 2016--about 160 cases of 2014 SCHULTZ "Freedom" Pinot noir. Can't wait!

A barrel of 2014 Pinot noir ready for the cellar.



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