One thing we noticed on our drive in and from our vantage point looking down on the vineyard was the bright pops of color from flowers in the vineyard. They worked with the soil and conservation district and have planted every other row to a different cover crop of flowers. The idea is to return the area to the native savannah that it was before the European settlers arrived with native species. There are poppies, which sadly only a few were in still in bloom when we visited and 5 or 6 other varieties of flowers in a 2. As you look out, you see some areas with more color where they planted these cover crop flowers more densely to help combat erosion.
Eventually they would like to use this practice throughout the entire vineyard. The bad news first…many of these flowers grow very tall which creates issues for the vineyard workers and trouble with mowing.
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On the plus side, these plants de-vigor the vines, causing them to pull back on their green growth. They, like most vineyards began with irrigation, as young vines, especially in the first three years need a little extra help as they establish their root system. They have since joined the Deep Roots Coalition.
- The Washington Post
Deep Roots Coalition is based out of nearby Salem and includes 26 vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Their group looks to make terroir driven wines from sustainable agriculture. Dry farming accomplishes both of these things. We promote sustainable and terroir-driven viticulture without irrigation. Wine should reflect the place from which it emanates: its terroir. Irrigation prevents the true expression of terroir. In most cases, irrigation is not a sustainable method of farming. I asked Lowell if there was a water table that the roots could be heading toward.
With the Willakenzie soil they have a dense black clay from the Missoula floods that is very hard. As they were putting in the vineyard, they had to tile a section as there was water coming out from a hole in the side of the hill creating a mud hole.
They also have 3 other Pinots their Bon Savage from the lower blocks, the Percheron and the As we looked over the vineyard, Lowell pointed out a section of two rows that was shorter and lighter in color than the rest. This wine is often dry with black cherry and spicy, sharp black pepper. We looked out and could see a tractor moving. David, their neighbor was out feeding his cattle and while he was over a quarter mile away, you could clearly hear the tractor.
This prompted Lowell to share with us a story about the cattle. Early on as they started making wine, they were looking for a way to use the pomace the grape skins and seeds that are left after the wine has been pressed. As a natural product he and David thought they could feed it to the cows!
Adventures in Wine Exploration
Lowell took a truck load over to dump near the shed and noticed the cows got aggressive, jumping up and shoving each other out of the way. David called later to say the cows were drunk and they were not good drunks. We saw raptors, northern harriers and white-tailed kites. Oregon is home to many raptors. Great wine but very small list and small tasting room. Gorgeous view and gardens. Would go just for the awesome Chardonnay and view. It was fun to try more of their wines from a place I already knew I liked!
By far my favorite wine. Their Napa Zin is phenomenal. The people here are always pleasant.
This attraction features animals
The have unique sculptures all around. Walk the paths for some awesome photo ops. We have enjoyed Rombauer for a while so we made a point to visit the winery.
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It is much different from the Route 29 wineries. It is very low key and very hands on. The winery is elevated and overlooks the Napa Valley. It also has a very lovely hillside garden. Take a glass of wine on a stroll. The amazing thing about visiting Rombauer Vineyards is, of course, their wine.
Taste of the West: St. Helena, California
Best out there - no kidding. The tasting room wasn't memorable but the tasting was fun. We went on a whim, but were stopped going up the hill after passing a cow painted like the American flag by a nice man with an iPad asking us if we had a reservation. Duh, no?? He said he had an opening in 6 minutes and let us in only to be met by valet only parking. Okay fine. I opted for the in store wine tasting and my husband the purchase onsite only tasting. They'll even let you try their dessert wines which were a-m-a-z-i-n-g. We bought a couple of bottles and joined their wine club.
Mention Rombauer to a few of your wine loving friends and they will give you all the review you need to try the wine. Don't forget to make a reservation if you want to make sure you get in as we got lucky. Have fun - life is too short to drink bad wine.
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