Are drones the future of vineyard management? Not only are they able to capture epic shots of our vineyard, Dr. Greg Crustinger of Scholar Farms reveals how drones are instrumental in vineyard management through vegetation mapping. Using aerial footage that is transformed into digitized heat maps, the vineyard is divided and assigned into levels of necessary care. Through this technology, Crustinger is able to assess the health of our vineyard and pinpoint problem areas. If that wasn’t cool enough, a thumb drive of the digitized map can be inserted into smart tractors or sprayers where action can be taken in precise locations.
Welcome to modern farming!
As the sun breaks from the clouds and tasting room guests rise from their rain-induced hibernations, the countdown to harvest begins. In the vineyard, the Dundee Hills Pinot Noir is starting to show signs of individual florets while their neighbor, the Dundee Hills Chardonnay, has already reached full bloom. Flowering is a crucial time for the vineyard as wind, rain and cold weather could dislodge the delicate flowers. Roughly 400 feet up the hillside, Pinot Noir for our Legacy tier wines shows a much slower rate of development. Vice President of Vineyard Operations, Jason Tosch, points to elevation as the primary explanation for bloom disparity.
Our vineyard is divided into 101 meticulously farmed sections of seven varieties, ranging 220 to 640 feet in elevation. Just like the suntan Oregonians desperately need at this time of year, grapes at higher elevations develop an increased pigment concentration resulting in firm tannins, vivid color, and thicker skin to weather climate changes. The concentrated sunlight and cooler temperatures experienced by grapes at higher altitudes slows the ripening process and creates an excellent balance between flavor-activating sugars, acidity, and other chemical complexities. The combination of elevation and our volcanic soil help sweep rainfall from the roots and protect the vine.
Elevation creates unique differences between each of our wine tiers and our vintages, giving us an opportunity to showcase the many expressions of our vineyard. Click here to learn more about our vineyard with our interactive map.
The burst of vibrant green across the vineyard serves as a beacon of hope for waterlogged wine connoisseurs in the Dundee Hills. Gradual increases in temperature trigger water and stored nutrients to wake the vines from their long winter's nap. The last drops of stored carbohydrates transform twig-like branches into vines exploding with delicate buds.
Vice President of Vineyard Operations, Jason Tosch, reveals the distinct difference between the progressions of buds located only 570 feet apart. Due to their situations on our hillside, the conditions experienced by our Legacy tier Pinot Noir and Dundee Hills Pinot Noir vary significantly. Differing elevations, slopes, and aspects result in unique flavors and profiles in the mature fruit. Each block contains an individual balance of soil components, water retention and weather exposure. Although microclimates are the smallest measure of climate, they make a big impact. At Stoller, our site features a warmer climate due to the surrounding mountains. This allows for consistent ripening and ideal grape conditions.
The air is as fresh as the first stage in the cycle of the vintage is underway.