VINEYARDS are the COLORS of a WINES portrait
All the vineyards used in Grape Ink’s portfolio were chosen based on the unique influence of the strong winds coming from the famous Columbia Gorge and the regions high elevations which lead to increased varietal expression in a changing climate. The Northern Hills we tend are the only vineyard sites in the Willamette Valley to experience these ripping winds that have left particular mineral deposits over millions of years in the layers of their soils.
Each vineyard is a color in our creation as wine growers: from the varying textures, aromatics and concentration of acids our goal is to be transparent in the authenticity of each site. We focus on the diversity of expressions that are present in our small union of vineyards to build complexity in our wines; all of which we farm personally in the most northern heights of the Willamette Valley.
We directly work with all our vineyards through forms of hand work and consultation throughout the year. If we are not involved in the important aspect of farming a vineyard we feel less connection to the vineyard and vintage and are uninterested in using it.
We only choose exclusive sections of these vineyards to separate the highest quality expression of each site and grape variety. These intensive selections are based on precision viticultural studies to deeply understand the highest potential of each micro parcel through its soils, winds, slopes, vigor, cover crop, surrounding geological elements and trials in our cellar.
All vineyards are dry farmed and undergo a rigorous conversion to natural farming techniques to allow a transparent expression of the vineyard site. This includes limiting the use of all highly invasive vineyard practices such as irrigating, herbicides and systemic fungicides. A strong focus is placed on biodiversity often planting crops inter row and introducing new species to increase the diversity of beneficial roots, flowers and habitats on the land we tend. Our goals is to regenerate a healthy ecosystem and treat each vineyard like a garden.
Mason Ridge Farms
In 1997 Michelle Mears decided to raise her family in North Plains and they soon planted their first parcel of vines. This cool site sits at 800 feet elevation in the windy hills of North Plains. With soils of deep loess over weathered basalt this vineyard is a focused expression of the unique terroir of the Northern Willamette. We are proud to have taken over farming of her property and have adopted a mix of organic and natural farming techniques. We source only a select dozen rows of this vineyard geared towards specific releases in Grape Ink’s summer portfolio.
The highest expression of wind and tether, this vineyard at 1000 ft elevation was planted on soils of volcanic origin by Linda Galas. We source the entirety of the 1.2 acre vineyard and implement only organic products and natural techniques together with our growing partner. This vineyard yields impressive wines rich in earth tones, concentration, texture and acidity.
Planted in the 1980’s Merten Vineyards sits at 950 ft elevation and is composed of own rooted pinot noir vines and some of the oldest pinot gris vines in the valley. This site was overlooked for its risk at high elevation, however, with close attention to the best rows sitting on the crest of the vineyard we have yielded some of the most dramatic and mineral driven expressions of the original varieties planted in the Willamette Valley. In 2018 we began consultation with the vineyard and have now adopted them as a core component of our production.
Highgrove Estate is a small, family-run organic farm, orchard and vineyard in Helvetia, Oregon. We have taken over farming practices of their vineyard planted to Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris on a mix of Jory, Cornelius and Kinton Soils. This site’s focus on permaculture has gifted us the ability to explore the infinite relationships between cover crops, biodiversity and unique cultural methods’ and its yielding wine. We are proud to produce a limited production from this site as we farm it from pruning till harvest.
Mason Hill Vineyard
Mason Hill Vineyard was designed and planted by Jarad Hadi at the top of Mason Hill Road at 850 ft Elevation. The vineyard site is surrounded by animals, cherries, pears, apples, vegetable gardens and explores a perfect natural symbiosis between plants and animals on the farm. This site produces the accents that are needed to create exceptional wines of place in the Northern Hills of the Willamette valley enduring characteristic howling winds from the East. This vineyard also grants us the ability to be creative and lend somethings new to the Willamette Valley through its diverse massale, clonal and varietal selections of grape vines. The vineyard was planted to a mix of varieties and selections of alpine, alto piedmonte, burgundian and juracian origin; this vineyard gifts us the ability to create unique wines not yet explored in Oregon through intentful field blends and new farming approaches.