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Cristom Vineyards

1992 Vintage Report

Our inaugural vintage, 1992 was the hottest year the Willamette Valley had experienced in its young viticultural history and is still the warmest vintage Cristom has experienced.  1992 had 2,940 growing degree days (GDD) of heat accumulation, well above the average at Cristom of 2,450 GDD.  The warm weather contributed to high Brix sugar accumulation and very ripe pH’s. Luckily the warm weather relented in September allowing Steve to let the fruit hang on the vine long enough for the flavor development to catch up to the sugar accumulation.

1992 was a year that the Cristom wines were made of entirely purchased fruit.  We purchased Pinot Noir from seven different vineyards including John Thomas Vineyard a high density 4 acre planting established in 1984, Knudsen Vineyards originally planted in 1972 in the Dundee Hills, Seven Springs Vineyard established in 1982 on the eastern side of the Eola Hills at approximately 500 feet in elevation on volcanic soils, Freedom Hill Vineyard located in the foothills of the Oregon coast range originally planted in 1982 on Bellpine loam soils, Temperance Hill Vineyard in the west Eola Hills at an elevation of 660-860 feet on Jory, Nekia and Ritner soils planted in 1980 and 1981, Canary Hill Vineyard planted in 1983 and 1984 at an elevation of 450-550 feet on Nekia and Jory soils, and Whistling Ridge Vineyard planted in 1988 located on sedimentary soils in what is now known as the Ribbon Ridge AVA.

The Pinot Noir came in ripe ranging from 23.7° Brix – 24.8° Brix and 3.23 pH – 3.39 pH.  The first Pinot Noir in the winery was on September 3rdfrom Whistling Ridge Vineyard harvested at 24.8° Brix and 3.33 pH.  The next 22 tons of Pinot Noir rolled into the building through September 21stwhen the last Temperance Hill was harvested.

The Chardonnay was produced entirely from purchased fruit as well coming from six different vineyard sites including Whistling Ridge Vineyard in Newberg, Flynn Vineyards in Rickreall, Bethel Heights Vineyard, Canary Hill Vineyard, Seven Springs Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard.  Harvested a little later than the Pinot Noir, Chardonnay grapes were brought to the winery from September 18th – October 12th at a range of 22.1° Brix – 23.7° Brix and 3.22 pH – 3.56 pH.  The acids in 1992 were particularly ripe and required some acidification with tartaric acid to help balance the wines.

The 1992 Reserve Pinot Noir was from Seven Springs Vineyard, Canary Hill Vineyard and Temperance Hill Vineyard with 71% new oak.  The 1992 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was 42% Eola-Amity Hills; 40% Dundee Hills; 13% Chehalem Ridge; and 5% coastal fruit with 26% new oak.