As part of my Earth Month quest for all things sustainable in and around Portland this April, I had the good fortune to get a personal tour of a small, sustainably farmed Oregon vineyard--Tonnelier Vineyard. Owners Mike & Julie Slater showed me around their pinot noir planted (Dijon clones 114, 115, 667 and 777 on Riparian stock, if you're really interested), south sloped, Willakenzie soil, 4-acre vineyard in the Willamette Valley’s Yamhill-Carlton AVA.
I saw the first bud break on the 2017 grapevines (pictured below). The Tonnelier Vineyard has been Low Input Viticulture and Enology (or "LIVE") certified since 2012.
LIVE is a rigorous, third-party certification process and a marker of the environmentally and socially responsible farming methods used to grow and harvest grapes. LIVE is certified internationally by the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) and implemented locally by a non-profit organization of Oregon winegrowers.
After the vineyard tour (capped with some yummy fromage and smoked salmon), we scooted over to one of the wineries where the Tonnelier grapes become wine--Bells Up Winery.
I'm not sure which I enjoyed most—touring the sustainable vineyard with Mike and Julie, tasting the wines (including a 3-year vertical of the Titan Pinot Noir), hearing Dave and Sara's story about building their winery and wines, or witnessing the magical partnership between a micro wine grower and wine maker. Altogether—a great way to experience earth’s bounty.
If I were pressed to pick only one favorite bottle from the Bells Up Winery collection, I'd have to go with the 2014 Villanelle Pinot Noir. It is a really special, limited edition reserve sourced solely from Tonnelier. Lots of dark berries with the smooth, silky finish you’d expect from a great Oregon Pinot Noir. But, don’t make me choose—they were all high quality wines.
If you're interested in an authentic, un-corporate, un-domaine sustainable Oregon Wine experience where you chat directly with the winemaker (and if you're lucky enough, the wine grower too) - make an appointment for your #BellsUpMoment @bellsupwinery.
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Hi. I'm Colleen, Corporate Sustainability Advisor's founder and owner. Blogging about corporate sustainability trends, benefits, and best practices.