The Pinot Noir grape is one temperamental fruit.To thrive, it needs a particular climate found in Burgundy, France and, coincidentally, where the 87-acre Sokol Blosser estate resides in the Dundee Hills of Oregon. Higher elevation, warmer nighttime temperatures and less low-elevation fog help protect our grapes in the iron-rich, fertile and well-drained red Jory soil of the Dundee Hills.
For Pinot Noir to become a world-class wine there must be a level of care and commitment that goes beyond that of any other varietal. At Sokol Blosser that includes careful hand harvesting, fermentation in small lots and aging 16 months in French oak. We hand sort through every grape before it goes into a fermenter - for Pinot Noir, the grapes are de-stemmed without crushing, to preserve as many whole berries as possible. For white varietals, the grapes are whole-cluster pressed.
Winemaker Russ Rosner joined Sokol Blosser in 1998.
After more than ten years experience at Robert Mondavi, Russ conceptualized our Pinot Noir Single Block program when he noted the distinctiveness of the barrels from different blocks of estate Pinot Noir. It’s no surprise that this passion has made Pinot Noir the heart of this winery.
"I see wine growing in Oregon as a risk/reward situation; the challenges are great, but so is the opportunity to create something really special -- that is my goal at Sokol Blosser."
- Russ Rosner, Winemaker
Sokol Blosser Vineyard Map
a year in the vineyard at Sokol Blosser
Spring: March, April May
Buds on the pruned canes swell, finally unfurling into leaves, tendrils, and clusters. Bluebirds and swallows nest in the birdhouses. Inbetween the grape rows, the thick cover crop mix shoots up, bursting into bloom and reaching 3 feet before we cut and work it into the soil. Wildflower rows are left to go to seed, attracting beneficial insects as long as possible.
Summer: June, July, August
Each tiny white blossom on the cluster is a potential grape. The number pollinated determines how tightly packed the clusters will be. If it is warm and sunny, bloom goes quickly. After bloom we have a better idea of crop size and how much we will have to thin it back to achieve the intensity of flavor we want. June and July focus on managing the vine canopy, securing the shoots to the trellis so they don't flop into the row and break, hedging the tops of the vines as they bend over into the row, and pulling leaves from each vine along the fruiting area. These keep the canopy open to sunlight and air movement and free of disease.
Autumn: September, October, November
This is the most critical time of the vineyard year. Episodic weather is the norm-occasional days of sun interspersed with bouts of rain. Each section of the vineyard ripens differently and our challenge is to second-guess the weather, knowing we have only one chance to bring the crop in at the optimal moment. During fall we plant a cover crop mix that will prevent erosion during the winter rains, enrich the soil, and attract beneficial insects next spring.
Winter: December, January, February
After the fruit is off, the vines pull their energy back into their roots, then slowly turn yellow and lose their leaves, going dormant until spring. We spread our aged compost down the vineyard rows and build new compost piles to be used the following fall. The vineyard rests until the crew starts pruning in late January. Each vine is cut back to two fruiting canes. When pruning is finished, we're ready for the new vineyard year to begin.