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The Pinot noir was harvested coldand allowed to push a cap before getting one homogenizing pumpover as primary fermentation began. Ina year that was hot and drythere was a threat of heaviness, sothe wine saw minimal cap management, gentle press downs or pumpovers as the fermentation temperature peaked,and was pressed when dry. No commercial yeasts or bacteria were used. The 2017 season was an exercise in suspended disbelief. Before breaking budwe had been furiously working between massive rain and snow events to plant more than 265 trees and shrubs around the property to create some ecological structure within the vineyard itself. This is part of our long-term vision of restoring functional layers on the agricultural landscape. We managed to get everything planted just as spring slammed into us, going from flood to fire, almost literally. Oregon saw even higher maximum tempera-tures and lower rainfall in 2017 than in 2016. 2017 was also a year of devastating wildfires in Oregon, the resulting smoke blanketing the Willamette Valley for days at a time during the hottest weather. Ironically, that smoke created an impermeable layer that actually protected the grapes from what mighthave been terrible sunburnand came at a time when the berries were not susceptible to smoke taint. The drama mounted as harvest drew near, everyone expecting another early harvest. The vineyard appeared to be unconcerned, how-ever.What I affectionately call ‘the parking lot’was blessedly long in 2017, when we sit on our hands and the grapes appear to be doing nothing, sugars and acids not moving. Every year we try to put more into this place. More diversity, more energy, more love; the vineyard soaks it up like a sponge and pays us back in spades. When we finally picked the fruit for the Hope Well wines, smelling and tasting the grapes during processing, I was grateful for every moment of every hour, every blister, every gash and every new freckle. Every time I tasted the wines in the cellar, I heard the voice of the vineyard and I resolved to keep doing more.
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