An Estate vineyard is a vineyard under our direct management in which we make all the decisions and in which we do all the work. The annual operation and long-term planning for all our estate vineyards is overseen by our vineyard manager, Chad Vargas, in consultation with winemaker Dave Paige and president David Adelsheim. The critical parts of the vineyard work are carried out by our 15-person vineyard crew, many of whom have been with us for almost 30 years.
Our estate vineyards are all on hillsides and the sites have been sought out for their potential for growing the highest quality winegrapes. The historic focus of our estate has been in the Chehalem Mountains AVA, but we have additional sites in Ribbon Ridge, the Eola-Amity Hills and Yamhill-Carlton.
A very large portion (65% to 75%, depending on the vintage) of the grapes we use come from our estate vineyards. These sites provide a foundation and a consistency for our wines since we have been farming them over a longer period of time – 10 to 40 years. Some of these sites, particularly Quarter Mile Lane, Bryan Creek and Calkins Lane, have been part of the broader Adelsheim story for years and have influenced the winemaking style for which the winery is known.
By having 11 different sites – some big, some small, some at higher elevations, some at lower elevations, some on volcanic soils, some on sedimentary soils – we have a huge variation in ripening times and in the flavors, tannins, sugar and acidity of the grapes. To maximize grape quality so we can continue to raise the bar on our wines, Chad oversees a wide range of experiments in our estate vineyards each year. Those experiments are carried intact into the winery. The winery staff continues the process, keeping every lot separate so that we can taste the differences effected by the experiments.
Ultimately, it is our goal in our estate vineyards to reflect each site and block as honestly as possible. It is only by understanding each individual block, by making small changes in our management each year as our experience grows, that we have been able to create the range of wines of superb quality for which we are known.