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The Pacific northwest began the winter continuing into the second year under the influence of a La Niña pattern. January was cold and wet. February had some frigid nights and sunny days for up to two weeks intermittently through the 25th. It was extremely dry compared to the historical average. Heavy rains and warmer temperatures started towards the end of the month into the first week of March-there was some flooding. March was cooler and rainy, mostly, with some fair weather intervals. Overall, March was cooler than average. There was a good amount of rain on the coast and in the northern Willamette Valley, but severe drought continued in the east. The cold and rainy weather continued into the first week of April. 

A rare snowstorm occurred on 11 April and the week following had a string of nights 32F or below. It was cloudy. The last couple of days, though, were clear and sunny-which meant that we were now dealing with ice. 15 April is the average time for bud break in the Willamette Valley. Damage occurred to many vineyards depending on the timing if bud break, elevation, etc. Much of the first buds in my Durant Vineyard Chardonnay were destroyed. The same went for much of my Pinot block at Carter Vineyard, the Dux Chardonnay, and some of the vines I have at Freedom Hill Vineyard (Pinot and Chardonnay). The rest of my blocks weren’t impacted by the ice event due to the timing of budbreak in those vines. After the 18th, the weather warmed, and we ended up getting the wettest April on record. All I could do was to wait and see whether the vines with damaged buds would generate second buds and whether those second buds would produce excellent fruit that would then ripen in time. That was a lot of “if’s” and so soon after 2020, this was emotionally challenging for many. 

May was cool and wet with some nights below 40F. After 19 May, it warmed up. It was mostly cool and wet in June until the 21st. There were some days in the 80s/90s with some heat spikes, but by 28 June, it cooled to the high 70s. Except for a bit of rain, summer became beautiful after that, warming into the high 80s and low 90s into mid-July.

This was when the second buds were evident the blocks that were damaged in April, and they looked great. The yields miraculously looked to be decent or even average except for my block at Carter, which would be on the low side-but this was amazing news and as always, I am in awe of plants. 

The rest of July into August was warm to hot, and August was dry-as it usually is. There was a real scare with the east winds and wildfire watch around Labor Day (as in 2020), but the valley was spared the wildfires that occurred in 2020. Not a fun weekend. September weather was ideal for ripening, and picking was later than usual because of the delays caused by the frost and ice damage in April and the cooler start to the season in general. As it turned out, the vines that produced second buds went to town in the yield department in some cases, and there was more than plenty of beautiful fruit by harvest time!

2022 is a year that I have been the happiest about my whites to date, and I love the balance and beauty of the Pinots. Speaking of Pinots there are a few new bottlings. Can’t wait for you to have them! Alcohols across the board are mostly 13% except for a 12.5% for the Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot (as in 2021) and the Grüner and Albariño of 13.5%-which was what I wanted. 2022 was turbulent but in the end, the wines are beautifully centered. 


The Pacific northwest began the winter under the influence of a moderate La Niña pattern after an unprecedented winter storm of snow, ice and ice fog that lasted for quite a while in late December 2020. The winter in the Willamette Valley was near to a bit above average in precipitation, but overall, it was cooler and drier than many other years I’ve been here. March was cooler and drier than average, but April and May were very warm and dry compared the average. There just wasn’t any rain, which is the opposite of normal. I noted some cooling and a rainstorm with hail on 19 May with 34F as the low on 20 May, but it was an anomaly.

Bud break at my places occurred around the average time of 15 April overall. There was a lot of warmth going into June except for nice, cool weather for the week of 7 June.  There were some rainstorms that happened after this and some of my Dundee Hills yields were lower than average since this was during bloom (around 15 June, plus or minus). Towards the end of June, the Willamette Valley experienced a very unusual heat wave and the long hours of the day near the summer solstice exacerbated effect later known as the “heat dome”. It was well over 110F for more than a few days. I’d never seen anything like this before in over thirty years living here. While many trees and plants suffered, most vines I saw showed little if any damage. I don’t know how the vines protected themselves, but I’m extremely thankful that there were no clusters when this happened.

At some point in July, the weather calmed down and the highs were in the 70s and low 80s with cool nights. This perfect weather continued as the clusters formed with a short-lived heat spike towards the end of the month. There was some light rain in August and except for another short-lived heat spike typical for summer, it was lovely ripening weather with little disease pressure from what I observed. Overall, the yields for my vineyard sources were below average but not extremely so, and I ended up picking the first (young vine) Chardonnay within the first week of September, the Freedom Hill Pinot Noir in the second week, and the rest of the whites in the beginning of the third week of September. Starting on 20 September, all the rest of my Pinot plus the Pinot gris were picked over the following week.

The most remarkable thing for me about 2021 was the incredible perfume and aromas of every fermenting wine, regardless of whether they were white, red, or pink. Stunning across the board. My winery was not alone in this. It seemed to happen with my colleagues, too. The wines are so balanced and delicious, and the highest alcohol was 13.5% for the Grüner veltliner. Most were 13.0% with the Maresh Old Vine Riesling at 12.5% as the low. The white wines are very fresh with plenty of acidity and full of vibrant life, and the Pinots are bringing me so much joy. I have some real beauties for you.


2020 began with a relatively warm and dry winter that felt much like our typical spring (cool but not cold). The coldest periods of the winter were in late November 2019 and in early March. The spring involved temperature some large fluctuations that were out of the average range. Overall, though, each month had warmer than average temperatures.

Bud break started in most of my blocks near 20 April. I have in my notes that there was a lot of rain in June until about the 19th, when it became sunny and in the low 80s.

Flowering was at around 50% in most of my blocks near 15 June (the average). The rest of June was fair, mostly mild, and cool except for a few days in the high 80s the last week. July had the coolest start in ten years. There was morning cloudiness and some cool, overcast days. It rained after the 4th and became fair and partly cloudy starting on 8 July. By now it was becoming clear that set was going to be low. The clusters ended up being very compact with tiny berries and lots of hens and chicks.

August was very warm if not downright hot for a few days. But there was rain on 6 August, followed by another very warm period, and then another rain event around 21 August. 50-75% veraison in my blocks occurred at or near 15-20 August, which is also when the weather cooled down to more normal highs for the Willamette Valley. The nighttime temperature was usually in the low to mid 50s.

This was a vintage of low yields, averaging about 1 ton per acre in many of my blocks, but also a picture-perfect vintage with regard to quality. I discovered this excellence after picking. Everything was so beautifully balanced in a way I hadn’t experienced before. My last detailed vineyard notes were taken on 1 September, and I wrote that it had been warm with cool nights but that hot weather up in the high 90s to 100s was arriving for at least a week. That did happen, along with the relentless tinder-box east winds that brought wildfires here and there all of the way to the coast. For a detailed account of this event that began on Labor Day, I recommend the “Vintage 2020 North Willamette Valley” report by Gregory V. Jones, Ph.D. Director, Evenstad Center for Wine Education Linfield University:

Picking for me happened in late September through early October. The fruit across the board was perfect-looking and exquisitely balanced. Though I ended up choosing to not release any red wines from this vintage, it wasn’t that the quality was less. In fact, it looked like an incredible vintage. It had to do with the impact on my particular blocks. The rest of my wines I’m very happy with and have found several treasures in this vintage.


The data may or may not support my assertion, but having lived here in Oregon for thirty years, 2019 felt to me like a return to “normalcy”. “Average” here is no cakewalk vintage, but I’m very excited about the quality of my wines in a year that is closer to the Oregon I know than I have felt in a long time.  The 2018 part of winter was fairly mild, but the 2019 part of winter was wet and cold. Spring was back to mild/warmer than average but wet. Bud break for most of my vineyard sources, including Maresh, occurred about a week and a half later than the average of 15 April. By 2 May, leaves were 2-4 out. In May, as is typical, sun and rain altered week by week. June was oddly rainless but with no heat spikes except for one on 15 June until the fourth week. Overall, June was cool, mild, and lovely. Flowering was complete in my vineyard sources by 25 June. Late June into July, however, brought near-record rains and with those rains and exploding foliage growth, came tremendous powdery mildew pressure all over the northern Willamette Valley. I noted plenty of misty, cloudy, brooding skies well into the month. This type of weather continued into August. Apparently, the degree-day accumulation was like that of 2012 and 2018, but September and October had the lowest heat accumulation since those same months in 2007 (a fine vintage for the Willamette Valley!). Overall, the high temperatures were quite a bit lower than usual, while the low temperatures were just a bit above average. We did have a few rains in the first part of September, but my picks were in the third week and later. October was relatively cool.

I did have losses due to thinning affected fruit in one of my vineyard sources, but overall, a modest amount of sorting for powdery mildew needed to happen at the winery. What was achieved by the vintage, though, is fruit that had the opportunity to slowly develop beautiful flavours well ahead of sugar ripening. Picking at 12.5% potential alcohol was the norm for most of my Pinot, and the flavours and fruit balance were stellar! These are not wallflower wines. They are beautiful in the Oregon way I remember. I’ll also add that it was definitely a vintage for whites to shine, too.


2018 began with a relatively warm winter-much like our typical spring (cool but not cold). The spring was fairly normal at the onset, but in late April and early May, warmth and sunshine prevailed with a significant number of days in the high 70’s and low 80’s. 

Bud break started in some of my blocks near 20 April, but it occurred in most of my blocks near 25 April. Because of the warmer than average spring, the shoots were already two leaves out by 2 May. By 10 May, they were four leaves out. The spring was dry and there was far less rain than average. Though there was a little rain in the second week of June, the heat spiked the week of 17 June. 

Flowering was at around 50% in most of my blocks near 12-15 June (the average). July was very warm and sunny with a very hot and dry last week. But the nights were cool due to the low humidity: 55-58F at the highest. This diurnal fluctuation, in my view, really helped to offset the warm vintage, allowing appropriate if not optimal flavor development, not to mention retaining good acidity through the growing season.

August was very warm and downright hot, but the diurnal temperature fluctuations continued, thankfully. 50-75% veraison in my blocks occurred at or near 21-25 August, which is also when the weather cooled down to more normal highs for the Willamette Valley. This was great timing for the gradual flavour development up to picking. The Durant Vineyard Chardonnay, the tiny harvest of the misplanted old vine Weber Chardonnay in my Pinot block, and the Freedom Hill Vineyard Pinot Blanc were picked on 28 September. The Weber Pinot gris and all of my Maresh Vineyard blocks were picked on 2 October, while the Weber Vineyard old vine Pinot was picked last on 6 October. 

The fruit across the board was optimal: clean with beautiful flavours. My 2017s were perfumed, subtle, fine, and for the purist. My 2018s have more stuffing, and while they aren’t like my 2007s, 2011s, or 2017s, I have been celebrating these wines for exactly what they are. It would be so boring to have the same type of vintage with the same type of character expression year after year. My 2018s aren’t overripe or over-the-top and out of balance (read: not another big, hot vintage expression of Pinot) but they are so delicious, if not stunning.


2017 finally broke the pattern of the unusually warm vintages since 2011. The winter rainfall and snowpack were excellent (about 150% of the average), and the spring was generally wetter and cooler than average. Bloom in my blocks at both Maresh and Momtazi Vineyards began around 22 June. Most of July was warm and lovely: morning clouds burned off by the afternoon, and one could feel the ocean coolness behind the summer warmth. Berry touch and hedging happened around 20 July. But in the first week of August, there were days of extreme heat: 106F, 108F, 109F, 99F, etc. The very hot temperatures (95-99F) continued into the second week. After the 11th, the temperatures returned closer to average.

Lag phase weights in several vineyards showed 2017 to be on the heavy side with larger than average clusters, but my blocks at Hyland Vineyard and Momtazi Vineyard seemed to have medium to normal clusters. A little rain occurred on 12 August, and it seemed to push veraison. The weather became nice again after the rain: 80’s with morning clouds that burned off. By 23 August, veraison had begun in most of my blocks, and by 28 August, during the return of hot weather (99-100F) it was 80-100% complete, depending.

The first week of September was very hot (99-100F). By 4 September, veraison was 100% in my latest blocks. Mid-September brought cooling and some pre-harvest rain (average of 1.7 inches), with the average highs being 67F the last ten days. With the exception of the Momtazi Tir block picked in late September, my blocks at Maresh, Momtazi, Freedom Hill, and Hyland were picked in October, 10 October being the final picking date.

I dialed down the whole cluster to about 50% (0% for the Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris) this year, and the wines are very elegant and perfumed, averaging 12.5% alcohol: beautiful Oregon old-school.


2016 was yet another vintage characterized by extraordinary warmth, but more in the early part of the growing season. The warmth and light arrived in full force in the early spring after a very dry winter that is rare in the Willamette Valley. Unlike 2014 and 2015, though, the year had some wild fluctuations and erratic patterns. There were some record-breaking hot days in June, but there were also plenty of cooler, overcast days. But August was warmer than it was in the record-breaking 2015 vintage. Once September and October arrived, the weather settled down and became more moderate, but picking for me was entirely in the month of September. 

Bud break in my blocks at both Maresh and Momtazi Vineyard occurred in the last week of March, about two weeks ahead the of Willamette Valley average. Flowering, too, was about two weeks ahead of their average. The set was very low to moderate at best in my Maresh blocks, while the set in my Momtazi blocks was just shy of moderate. The cluster weights and berry sizes were significantly smaller than the previous few years in both vineyards, and the overall perfume and concentration of the wines are higher than I have seen in years. Picking was two to three weeks earlier than my longtime average (in response to the earlier flowering), but the acidity and alcohols were ideal. I see no overripe or hot vintage character in these wines. My 2014’s had more ripeness than my 2016’s do.

Except for the Maresh Vineyard Pinot Gris at 12.5%, all of my other Pinot bottlings were 13.0% or slightly below.

The growing season was clean, and the fruit was lovely to behold. I was very sad to have such little fruit from Maresh this year as beautiful as everything was. I loved the wines I did have even more for this. All of my wines this year were fermented 100% whole cluster.


2015 was yet another vintage characterized by extraordinary warmth in the Willamette Valley. This time, the attributed source of the ongoing heat was a lingering, very large patch of unusually warm water in the northern Pacific Ocean called “the Blob”. Winter was mild, spring was warm, and summer was very warm in general and alleviated by scattered rain showers mostly in August (this also is unusual).

Bud break in my blocks at Maresh and Momtazi Vineyards occurred mostly in early April, about two weeks ahead of the Willamette Valley average. Flowering, too, was about two weeks ahead of their average. My blocks at Maresh from bud break onward were in a laughable frenzy of growth. Suckers (the canes that grow directly from the trunks where they meet the surface of the ground), long and vigorous ones, needed to be removed not once, but three times during the growing season. There were almost double the shoots, leaves and laterals were everywhere, and the fruit set was horn-of-plenty abundant. I listened to these wise, old vines and let them set. This beautiful and joyful abundance of fruit seemed a perfect, natural response of the vines to the heat of the vintage.

In my blocks at Momtazi Vineyard, the growth was far more restrained (i.e., fairly consistent with the growth of previous years), and the set was less than or close to two tons to the acre. The compact clusters were not large at all. I knew that the wines from these would be precise and in excellent balance simply from the feeling and the energy in these blocks, and found it exciting. I can offer no explanation for this balance at Momtazi other than the wild place itself and the biodynamic farming. In fact, the alcohols of the wines for both vineyards ranged between 12.5 and 13.0%.

The growing season was clean despite the bouts of humidity from the periodic showers, but some extra leaf-pulling was required in my blocks at Maresh. Picking here was partly in the third week of September and mostly at the end of September. At Momtazi, my blocks were picked mostly on 15/16 September and in the third week. The fruit across the board was in excellent, lovely condition, and I chose to ferment all of my wines 100% whole cluster. 


2014 is on record in the Willamette Valley as having the most cumulative degree days up to that point. The previous record was broken in 2003. But a significant source of the cumulative heat degree days this year was higher-than-average minimum temperatures (the nighttime temperatures). It isn’t that simple. When is it ever? I mention this because I was making wine in 2003, and the fruit and wines were very different then than in 2014.

Over the years, I have noticed that however the wines are characterized by others for the
vintages, the farms from which I produce my own wines tend to be ringers. Instead of going into the general descriptions of 2014, I’ll give an overview of what I saw happening at Maresh and Momtazi specifically.

Full bloom in my blocks at Maresh occurred at around 18 June and Momtazi just a bit before. There was light rain on 12 and 13 June just before, and it was cool and wet from 14 to 17 June. It was sunny on 18 and 19 June with the sunshine and fair weather for at least a week beyond. There were intermittent, soft rains between 24 and 27 June, but starting in July, the weather was dry and warm-to-hot. There were plenty of days in the high 80’s and even more in the 90’s as high as 97. Starting 17 July, the weather cooled to the low 80’s for about a week, followed by more mid90’s for the highs. It was around this time the berry touch happened in my blocks at Maresh, and I could somehow still smell the last of the bloom when working there. By this time, the vines at both farms were hedged and all was looking and feeling very good. There were some rains between 18 and 22 July, followed by more sun and days of low 90’s. The weather remained warm, if not very warm, and fair.

While many vineyards experienced bountiful yields (which surely in this year ripened beautifully across the board), my blocks at Marsh were about 1.8 tons per acre. Momtazi had a slightly higher set. The fruit from all of the blocks was picked just when they wanted to be (no weather pressure, no rapidly accelerating sugar pressure, no shriveling/desiccation: no pressure other than the readiness to be picked in itself), and the fruit was-well-happy in itself. Managing the fruit was carefree and fun (but still serious-just without the extra angst) to produce the 2014’s and it was the year I finally realized that I don’t want those clusters going through a destemmer and getting pulled apart from the stems unless truly necessary (i.e., very cold if not somehow frigid growing season). This means that the percentage of whole clusters in my ferments increased from about 60% in 2013 to 80% or more in 2014 (and 100% for all in 2015). I loved being in these ferments. The final alcohols at bottling ranged from 13.1% to 13.6% and the acidity in all of the wines is exciting. The wines overall feel mirthful somehow, even with the deeper structure from the year (relative to 2013, that is). And still, ancient and wise because this earth who sings them is, and was unimpeded in the winery..


2013 was a year of consistent warm, dry weather. Until late September, that is. After a relatively dry winter and early spring, bud break in the Willamette Valley overall was the earliest since 1992. Bud break in my blocks occurred between the 3rd week and last weeks of April, the last of which were my Old Block and the Long Rows at Maresh. Summer was consistently warm, but with none of the heat spikes over 100F like in 2009, for example. There was a little bit of rain during bloom in my blocks (late June), but that is nothing extraordinary.

This year, when I was shoot thinning in my Maresh blocks (early May), the vines produced far less double strong shoots than in 2012. Of course. I didn’t know whether it was more for resting from the year before, or to prepare for a very different kind of harvest than in 2012. Or both. After veraison, I was becoming slightly dismayed about the warm vintage, especially without the canopy there was in 2012 to balance things out. I like the cool vintages. But, really, with old vines and/or wholesome farms on lands with much to transmit, the wines always seem to go to the middle. They have a certain temperance (in the old definition of the word) that I trust and love each and every year. Veraison in my blocks occurred around the end of August/early September. In September I pulled some more leaves on the eastern side of the rows and removed all clusters I did not want picked in my blocks at Maresh.

Then the rains came. Not just any rains but typhoon-like rains during the last week. A deluge of up to twelve inches in some places that resulted in one of the largest rainfalls on record for September. Many had vineyards that were ready to pick before these rains, especially those with vines on sedimentary soils. But my blocks to date have bloomed a couple of weeks later than the annual average. These vines are on their own time. They were not ready to pick before the rains, and I waited it out while watching horizontal rains and flooding and more rainbows than I have ever seen.  There were some beautiful times in these rains. Finally, they stopped and I was able to pick. Picking occurred on 2 October (all blocks at Maresh) and 7 October (Momtazi). I was worried because of the skins at Maresh being terribly soft. I ended up doing quite a bit of whole cluster. I am so glad I did. My fruit at Momtazi, as crazy as it was, was picked completely untouched by all of this. It was one of the best years yet. Below is what I wrote not too long before my fruit was picked:

 28 September 2013 (on facebook): If I were a saint (this word used only to make a point!), I would be the patron saint of all things archaic (not related to this post) and of what many might call ‘difficult.’ People definitely included. It is my heart’s desire that my 2013’s have some of the willful, moody, unpredictable, taunting, tricky, stormy, and rainbow-y energy of September. Never have I seen so many rainbows during harvest, and the baseline for rainbows in this beautiful land is always high. There appears to be a lot of light inside the darkness in the sky lately and it is exciting in the extreme. And today is the start of my (sweet) sixteenth vintage!”

The weather in October ended up being glorious. It was during elevage in the winter that I was moved to tears by the wines. I had spent a lot of extra time in the ferments, watching them so carefully. There were no problems, but I was vigilant. Really, the wines were all over the place even while I was barreling them down. They were wild. I was tasting barrel composites all day, not looking for anything. The composites were for analysis of malolactic and I always use that opportunity to taste. I could not believe how lovely they were. It was as if they, themselves, became rainbow-y after their own tempest. I’ll never forget this feeling. They became swans. I love the 2013’s. And now I can say with confidence that a vintage is not (necessarily) made by rain or no-rain. It is far bigger than that. 


2012 was a year of fairly consistent warm weather. Bud break was between the 4th week of April and the 1st/2nd week of May for my blocks, the last of which were my Old Block and the Long Rows at Maresh. The spring was quite fair (for here) and there were no strong rain events during bloom, which in my blocks was around the fourth week of June (perhaps going a bit into July for my old vines at Maresh). The summer was quite warm and dry. The heat accumulation was the 5th highest of the last sixteen years (closest to 1998 and 2004-I am not saying the character of this vintage matches the character of those vintages-it does not). 

In my Maresh blocks, I noticed as I was shoot thinning (early May) that the vines were producing more strong shoots than I had seen in previous vintages. I decided to respond to the vines and leave the strong shoots, regardless of expected tonnage (or how it looked-can appear a bit chaotic with a few extra shoots on the cane with arc-cane positioning). As it turned out, I am very happy I did so. The clusters were smallish and the berry sizes, too, and September was the driest we had seen in the history of Oregon. But because my vines had borne enough foliage and fruit to avoid altogether any concerns for high sugars and overripe fruit at picking. A huge relief. In fact, the final alcohol for most of my fruit was 13.0% (and even my Momtazi was 13.1% due to the position and the terroir of the block and not due to more shoots like at Maresh). The Old Block and Block 8 ended up being about 13.5% tops. It goes without saying the disease pressure in 2012 was next to nothing. Veraison in my blocks occurred around the end of August/early September. In September I pulled some more leaves on the eastern side of the rows and removed all clusters I did not want picked in my blocks at Maresh. Picking occurred between 11 October and 20 October for my sites. 

My wines in 2012 are not very typical with regard to the talk about 2012, for the good or the bad, depending on one’s preferences. I was also a bit surprised that the acidity in the wines was as high as in the much cooler 2011, but showing very differently because of the different year and the different forces of equilibria associated with 2012.


2011 was one of the latest vintages in Oregon. After a very cool and rainy spring to early summer, bloom occurred 3-4 weeks later than the average. This was in July. Summer was on the cool and cloudy side until some time in August. August and September were ideal. September was, in fact, one of the three warmest Septembers on record. This is perfect for Pinot, for a warmer than average September in Oregon is not hot. The cumulative degree days were higher in 2011 than in 2008 and 2010, obviously with most of the increase happening during ripening: September and October.  The fall was sunny and dry with very cool nights. Picking occurred in dry weather at the beginning  of November for my vineyards. 

The natural yields in my blocks averaged 1.3 tons per acre at Maresh Vineyard. My acreage at Momtazi Vineyard barely approached 2 tons to the acre. The clusters were medium-sized.
The ample sunshine of fall allowed a deliciously long ripening period with warm days and cold nights. The clarity and depth of the flavours of the 2011’s are truly thrilling. It was exciting to work with the lower sugars, higher acids, and lower pH’s. The alcohol in all three of my wines is 12.5%. Most of the fruit was picked with sugars around 22 Brix. A beautiful year for Pinot. It is the kind of vintage I love the most. 

(The only drawback was doing pigeages with must temperatures averaging 35F in November inside the fermentation room at outdoor temperatures. This was certainly the year for Cognac.)

For notes about specific wines, see our Wine Notes page

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