Tradition in the Willamette Valley continues to demonstrate its potential for beautiful wines of place. Each vineyard offers snapshots of what has come to pass over time. Each diverges from the other, some impacted more by floods or volcanic uplift, others defined by seasonal weather patterns, and still others made distinct by the specific breakdown of bedrock below topsoil. These variances are our focus.

The time we spend in the vineyards empowers us to better understand our place. As we deepen our understanding of the significance of the soils, we vinify wines that best offer a transparent feeling and character of place.

As in France, we rely solely upon non-irrigated vines for our communication with the earth and weather. Our commitment to this philosophy joins us to a growing consortium of Oregon’s most remarkable wineries. Wineries both lovingly raucous yet deeply dedicated in their commitment to producing wines of place from non-irrigated vines, the Deep Roots Coalition. We learn, share, grow, impress and are impressed by with these producers.

Farming gently, without the noise of irrigation, pesticides and unnecessary spraying we retain the full cycle of nature and to that end support the use of cover crops. We touch the vines as much as possible each season, checking in, seeking a healthy balance in the site.

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Whistling Ridge

Whistling Ridge Vineyard

Varietals: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, & Field Blend
AVA: Ribbon Ridge
Soil: Willakenzie (sedimentary over marine siltstone)
Elevation: 300-400 ft
Exposure: SW
Acreage under vine: 14
Planted: 1990
Whistling Ridge Vineyard is an agricultural jewel in the Ribbon Ridge AVA, farmed exclusively for Goodfellow Family Cellars since 2012 by Richard and Patricia Alvord, though we began working with them in 2004.

The first moment we stepped foot on Whistling Ridge, it felt like home. The shallow dry soils are home to Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Chardonnay vines that hail from a 1990 planting. Facing southwest and ranging from 300’ – 400’ there is moderate heat tempered by a persistent wind that blows from the northwest each evening in the summer and fall. The marine sediment soil has low moisture holding capacity but the deep roots of the vines here allow them to flourish and produce a layered, complex personality in the wines that is compelling in the manner of Coltraine or Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

The terroir of Whistling Ridge Pinot Noir is defined, vibrant, and subtly strong, with a core of red and black fruit wrapped by tinges of spice, stony minerals and floral perfume.

The Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are intense, driven wines of nerve and spine when young, softening into increasingly complex, rich wines with cellaring.

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Durant

DURANT VINEYARD

Varietals: Pinot Noir & Chardonnay
AVA: Dundee Hills
Soil: Jory (volcanic)
Elevation: 200-450 ft
Exposure: South
Acreage under vine: 45
Planted: 1973
When the first vines were being planted at Durant Vineyard in 1973, Marcus was a kindergartener growing up on a farm in Silverton. As Marcus grew from a young boy into a man, those vines rooted deeper and budded each summer, offering fruit of the earth to caring hands. As Marcus created deeper roots in the wine industry, he thought working with Durant fruit would be a almost like reuniting with a long-lost friend who never left home. In 2010, thirty-seven years later, Marcus was offered and fruit contract at Durant and these long-lost friends became partners in crafting wine together.

Viticulture at Durant is taken care of by Paul Durant, whose family has been farming this site for 43 years.

Each year Goodfellow Family Cellars receives some 1973 Pommard as well as 1993 planted Dijon 114 from 5 acres planted at Durant Vineyard. This site tends to be the first to ripen each season as the moderate elevation Dundee Hills vineyards have slightly warmer microclimates than surrounding AVA’s. These dry-farmed blocks ranging from 300’-500’ is planted in the iron-oxide laden volcanic basalt soils. Rich in clay, these Jory soils provide access to groundwater and a nourishing environment for Pinot Noir to express definitive Dundee Hills red fruit aromatics and flavors along with spicy, earthen tones and a beautiful silky feel. We also receive a small parcel of 21-year-old Dijon 95 Chardonnay, traditionally vinified, which is bright, juicy and tense.

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Bishop Creek

BISHOP CREEK

Varietals: Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris
AVA: Yamhill Carlton
Soil: Willakenzie (sedimentary over marine siltstone)
Elevation: 300-500 ft
Exposure: South
Acreage under vine: 15
Planted: 1988 (Pinot Noir) 1995 Pinot Gris
We’ve enjoyed working with 5 acres at Bishop Creek since 2008 and it is an unusual and thrilling site located in the heart of Yamhill-Carlton. The 25 year-old, own-rooted, and tightly spaced Pommard and Wadensville clones at this isolated vineyard face southwest on a sloping outcrop of the coastal foothills ranging from 350’-750’ feet. The vines here are dry-farmed and thrive with active low-input farming that fine-tunes cover crops to help prevent loss of soil moisture in the shallow marine sediment soils. This site is LIVE certified and was recently purchased by Jean-Nicholas Meo of Meo-Camuzet.

Bishop Creek is all about intensity, there is wonderful ripeness along with good retention of acidity, which makes it a special site for whole cluster fermentation, offering blue-black fruit tones, spicy florals and an earthy component that is broad and long.

Winery

Winemaking is the prism through which the light of the site shines forth.

The process of a winemaker is both poet and mechanic. Becoming immersed in the process rather than separate brings us back to the image of tango. Connected, moving by feeling the small intimate movements of the lead. Knowing it’s nature and adjusting oneself to the rhythm of the vineyard so closely that the dancers become one singular expression.

Careful choices, minimal intervention, attention to detail, knowledge of tradition, respect for craft, and allowing the wines time to fully express themselves defines our winemaking style.

Hand sorting, whole cluster, native yeasts, pigeage early in ferment, later punch downs by hand allow the fermentation to proceed at its own pace. Long elevage in a high percentage of neutral French oak best captures the site and vintage character. Most often our Pinot Noir is bottled unfined and unfiltered.

White wines are produced slowly, the fruit hand harvested and slowly pressed whole cluster. Fermentation takes place in a variety of sizes and shapes of wood vessels, primarily older French oak and Acacia. We seek long, cool fermentations on the lees to produce unique wines of great texture, depth, and clarity of character.