It’s getting hot in the vineyard - and it’s not just from the sunshine. Favored for cultivation, hermaphroditic grapevines contain both male and female reproductive organs, allowing them to self-pollinate.
In short - during fertilization, the calyptra, a structure protecting the undeveloped grape cell, sheds to free the pollen-producing male stamens. Landing on the centralized female stigma, the pollen is delivered to the ovary through a tube-like structure called the style. Upon completing its journey to the ovary, the pollen performs fertilization and the ovule develops into a grape seed. Just like that, flowering is underway.
Welcome to Plant Physiology 101.
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.
At Stoller, we are committed to leading the charge in sustainable winemaking. Through energy efficient systems and an effort to eliminate negative environmental impact, we are proud to meet the highest standards for sustainable viticulture through LIVE certifications.
LIVE, (Low Input Viticulture and Enology), is a non-profit organization that provides education and independent 3rd-party certifications for vineyards and wineries using international standards of sustainable viticulture and enology practices in wine-grape and wine production. Examples of LIVE vineyard practices include planting cover crops, maintaining natural areas for wildlife and forgoing many chemical sprays. LIVE winery certification focuses on energy efficiency, safety, and wastewater treatment. Our vineyard became LIVE certified in 2006, and the winery achieved certification in 2009.
Our mission at Stoller is to not only make award-winning wine but to make our mark (or lack thereof) on the world. That is why we are proud to be B Corp Certified, a global movement to build a sustainable economy and use business for the power of good. B Corp certification not only assesses the success of our business but the sustainability of our practices as a whole. This certification holds us to the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. We are honored to be in the company of other like-minded businesses on the mission to solve social and environmental problems through progressive, mindful, and ethical practices. With our B Corp certification, we pledge to make decisions that cultivate a sustainable future for generations to come. B Corp works to create healthy communities, diminish poverty levels, eradicate inequality and commit to maintaining a healthy environment. We are proud to be unified in the mission to revolutionize the world of business and look beyond the bottom-line. To take a look at our B Impact report, click here.
The symphony of tirage marks an exciting milestone for the creation of the 2014 Legacy LaRue’s Brut Rosé. As one of the most technical aspects in the winemaking process, sparkling wine has been a longtime dream of Associate Winemaker, Kate Payne-Brown.
After aging 10-months in neutral French oak, the base wine – 25% Chardonnay, 75% Pinot Noir – undergoes tirage. Tirage is the process of adding a solution of active yeast cultures and sugar to the original base wine to kick-start the second round of fermentation. The added solution releases carbon dioxide, responsible for the effervescence that puts the “sparkle” in our beloved sparkling wine. At full maturity, the bottles are riddled to displace the spent yeast, during which the sediment is driven to the neck of the bottle to be disgorged.
The 2014 Legacy LaRue’s Brut Rosé spent two years on the lees before being corked and capped into 275 stunning cases.
Stoller is committed to leadership in sustainable winemaking practices through energy efficient systems, and the mission to reduce negative environmental impact.
Not only do our scenic hills provide a breathtaking backdrop for wine tasting, they also foster traditional gravity flow winemaking. Gravity flow utilizes the natural pull of the earth to perform the heavy lifting in transporting the wine from crush to cellar. This method reduces the need for pumping and therefore conserves energy while maintaining the consistent quality of our grapes.
We love being a company of “firsts.” In 2006, Stoller became the world's first LEED Gold certified winemaking facility. But, we didn’t stop there. We were also the first winery in the Northwest to become energy neutral, with more than double our estate’s electrical needs harnessed from our south facing roofs through our 1,200 solar panel electric system.
We use natural ventilation and lighting, efficient heating and cooling systems, and an efficient building envelope to reduce energy use. Located below grade on one of our many knolls, the barrel cellars are kept cool by the earth itself and stabilized through our concrete structure. Our office space also utilizes efficiencies where switches, motion sensors, and timers are used to conserve energy.
To reduce transportation impacts and support our local economy, we employ regional materials and local fabricators whenever possible. To conserve natural resources, we use materials with a high percentage of recycled content. Reclaimed wood from Northwest Portland dawn our beams and columns on porches and stair treads. In addition, 96 percent of our construction waste was recycled back into the manufacturing process as reusable materials.
Our B Corp, LIVE, and Salmon Safe certifications embody our dedication to environmental sustainability. These certifications hold us to the highest standards of social and environmental performance, sustainable building, and erosion prevention.
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.
At Stoller, our pioneering spirit sparkles within Associate Winemaker, Kate Payne-Brown. Payne-Brown and Vice President of Winemaking, Melissa Burr, are revolutionizing the wine industry by trailblazing the path for female winemakers.
More than 12 years ago, Kate dreamt of becoming a sparkling winemaker. In 2014, she made her dream a reality with the LaRue’s Brut Rosé. This flawless bubbly, named after LaRue Stoller, was among a handful of sparkling wines produced in the Willamette Valley. Each bottle contains a bright and tangy burst of flavor like lemon, green apple, pink grapefruit, and orange. Kate’s passion and transparency are apparent in this clean and elegant wine. Sources from some of our most elegant 20-year-old grapevines and a careful eye through the winemaking process, we are proud to present the 2014 LaRue’s Brut Rosé. Join us as we tip our glasses of beautiful bubbly to fulfilling dreams.
Bill Stoller and Harry Peterson-Nedry, co-owners of CHEHALEM Winery, are pleased to announce that after 24 years of partnership Stoller has purchased Peterson-Nedry’s share of equity in the winery business.
“Harry Peterson-Nedry has been a mentor to me,” said Stoller. “When Harry first asked me to be an investor, I saw an opportunity to help fund a friend’s dream and the chance to be a part of something with the potential to be iconic. As we enter this next chapter, I am honored to shepherd CHEHALEM’s legacy.”
“No one understands more how special the CHEHALEM brand is, how much passion and rigorous work it has taken, how much collaboration with other Willamette Valley pioneering wineries has gone on, than Bill,” said Peterson-Nedry. “I take comfort knowing he will respect its heritage in a way that no one else could.”
Peterson-Nedry planted Ridgecrest beginning in 1980, making it the first vineyard planted in what would become the Ribbon Ridge AVA. He was also instrumental in the development of organizations such as the Oregon Wine Board, Willamette Valley Wineries Association, Oregon Pinot Camp, International Pinot Noir Celebration, and industry groups focusing on defining Oregon’s AVAs and famed wine varieties. The transition in ownership will reduce the workload for Peterson-Nedry, who turned 70 years-old in December, allowing him to devote his full attention to managing his 48 vineyard acres in Ribbon Ridge, crafting wines for RR - a small winery he created 16 years ago - and continue his involvement with Oregon wine industry initiatives.
Since purchasing his family’s second-generation farm in 1993, Stoller has evolved the property to become the largest contiguous vineyard in the Dundee Hills AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley while passionately being a steward of the land and community. Stoller Family Estate was the first winery in the world to achieve LEED Gold certification, and fifth Oregon winery to receive B Corp certification, the latter in large part due to its LIVE and Salmon Safe certifications and community involvement in the City of Dayton and Yamhill County. The ownership change allows the two brands, under the leadership of President Gary Mortensen, to leverage economies of scale while distinguishing autonomy.
“CHEHALEM is not Stoller, and we like that,” said Mortensen. “Each winery has its own history and future, with one common thread: both wineries are committed to, and known for, producing unique, world-class wines. I look forward to leading the exceptional staff at CHEHALEM and further advancing the brand.”
This soup was created by our Culinary Director, Becca Richards for the 2017 Pre-Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Weekend Celebrations.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes