Rathfinny Wine Estate

Oregon, just like England only different

Each year the Oregon Winegrowers hold their annual symposium in Portland. The symposium is comprised of two full days of panel discussions and presentations covering the most relevant topics in viticulture, oenology and wine business. In addition to this it also hosts the Northwest’s largest wine industry trade show.

This year I was lucky enough to attend the symposium as well as spend a day visiting vineyards in the Willamette Valley. For those of you who aren’t up to speed with Oregon wine this is prime Pinot Noir country.

Now, many of you may be thinking what has the Pacific Northwest got to do with growing in England? Well there are a number of surprising similarities…

Annual rainfall is virtually the same, bud-burst, flowering and harvest dates are also virtually the same – they just get a few more heat units through the season than we do. The symposium also comes at a very handy time of year- the middle of winter, when it’s not too crazy on the vineyard.


Probably the most interesting thing about the Willamette Valley is its soils, as it’s a volcanic area, they are as diverse as the wines- which of course lend themselves back to the soil.


I tasted wines from the same vineyard that were on different soil types made the same way that tasted completely different, all lovely in their own special way, but different characters coming to the fore purely down to soils.


It’s something we take for granted, and I will go on about it but our soil is so important to the wine we make.

Back in the vineyard, pruning is now all done. We’re just getting things all ready for the coming season. Budburst on the Chardonnay looks likely for next week!




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