The Journey to Moores Valley
Sixth and seventh generation Texans Lisa McDonald and Christian Eddleman went in search of the best place to literally put down roots, in the form of grapevines. In love with with the beauty and challenge of pinot noir, it was clear they'd have to head west. The journey took them further than they'd imagined. Halfway across the world the two studied cool-climate viticulture and enology at Lincoln University in New Zealand.
After some time in the wine industry in New Zealand, their thoughts on vineyards eventually led them back to Oregon in the USA. Their belief was Oregon was most suited of all places in the new world to make rich yet balanced pinot noir they envisioned. In the unique microclimate of Moores Valley in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA (which did not exist when they purchased their land) the couple found the right fit.
The Vineyard Story
Although their wanderings brought them to Oregon, finding the right site is never easy. After a long process, and wandering through many blackberry patches, they found the perfect place.
Sylvanus Estate is right on the edge of Oregon's Coast Range. It offers a fine balance of warm days, cool nights, soft drying winds and great air drainage. The 25 acre site contains three distinct planting blocks, eight different soil series, and rises gently from around 450ft to 700ft in elevation. There's nothing quite like it.
The first block of pinot noir was planted in 2013. The five acre "Home Block" is situated on a gentle south by southeast exposure that maximizes morning sun. It falls from the center of the land to the lowest point at the southeastern edge, and soil variations can be seen from the top to the bottom of its rows.
The next block to be planted, the western, or "Willow Pond Block", offers some great ground for white grapes, as well as a very different aspect for a smaller planting of pinot noir.
The last block to be planted, "The Walnut Grove Block" is in the north central part of Sylvanus Estate, with more slope and exposure. Time will tell which pinot noir clones will be selected for what is possibly the best site on the land.
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