The Art Of Winemaking

We strive to produce high quality un-fined and unfiltered, naturally fermented wines. We believe farming is a critical component to winemaking, and emphasizes a focus on minimal intervention and minimal sulfur levels when it comes time for processing in the winery.  Additions of enzymes and nutrients are avoided, because we believe that is not a true representation of terroir.  We let pH levels and sugar content guide our harvests for various styles of finished wines.  There are many benefits to this methodology, but most importantly it allows us to minimize our sulfur additions pre-bottling. The result is a resilient wine that can stand the test of time. We believe this style of winemaking is an ethical approach to crafting an authentic agricultural product.

Our wine starts in the vineyard. We believe that quality wine comes from vines that are tended to thoughtfully and meticulously. Through primarily non-interventional winemaking practices, we diligently work to capture the uniqueness of our site in every bottle. Ultimately, wines are selected and blended based on clonal variety, expression of soil type, as well as nuanced microclimates within the vineyard. We couple this approach with neutral oak profiles to showcase the terroir of our site and the East-most portion of the Tualatin Hills AVA.

It starts with a vine…

Harvest takes a team

Harvest takes a team

The process begins…

 

From a fruit to a fluid

 

From a fruit to a fluid

 

Natural fermentation underway

The winemaker’s touch

The winemaker’s touch

A vintage is born!

Meet The Winemaker

Our Winemaker Karl Mecklem runs the viticulture and enology programs at Eagles Nest Reserve.  Having grown up in a world of sustainable forestry and farming in the Coast Range and Willamette Valley, he developed a love for proper stewardship of the land that fueled his pursuit of ethical viticultural and winemaking practices.  He is laser-focused on organic, sustainable vineyard practices and non-interventional, natural-fermentation wine production.   While most days you’ll find him in the vineyard or winery, you’ll also find him hard at work in the Reserve’s fields and forests or rockin’ out to the Grateful Dead.

Our Wines

 

Pinot Noir

Rosé

Cider & Mead

Pinot Noir Production

Production of our Pinot Noir starts with sampling fruit and assessing physiological maturity. Once in a suitable condition, certain blocks are fermented whole cluster while others are destemmed prior to fermentation. Proper lignification of the stem and pH are critical to this decision making process; excessive herbaceous qualities and pH buffering are potential consequences. Sulfur is not used prior to fermentation, which allows native yeasts to propagate and commence the initial phase of ethanol fermentation. Nearing the end of the alcohol conversion process, we prepare barrels to receive wine. The wine drawn directly from the fermenters is considered free run and the wine pressed from the remaining skins and liquid we identify as the pressed portion. Ultimately, the different characteristics will lend themselves to blending. Once in barrel, malolactic fermentation will commence. This process converts malic acid to lactic acid and alters the perception of the wine dramatically. After these steps micro-oxygenation occurs in barrel for approximately one year. After barrel aging, samples are sent off to assess sulfur levels, lactic conversion, and other critical data points that guide our hand in cork selection and intention of the wine in the marketplace. Once in bottle we wait, sample, and then release when we feel the wine is ready. 

The Rosé Philosophy

Rosé production begins with sampling and is dictated by pH with less emphasis on physiological maturity. Depending on the intention of the wine the fruit may have longer skin contact or ferment on skins for a short time to increase pigment and phenolic extraction. The result is a more robust wine with more color, phenols, and tannic components. On certain years we will press lightly and immediately after harvest to minimize skin contact and extraction. This will result in a light colored wine with different primary flavor compounds. Regardless of extraction, the majority of fermentation takes place without skins and usually occurs in barrel. Barrel fermentation adds a degree of complexity, mouthfeel and toasty characters to our rosé program. We allow all our rosés to undergo malolactic fermentation, furthering complexity. Rosé’s spend approximately three months in barrel, and are bottled late winter or early spring.

The Future Of Ciders and Meads

Local honey is sourced from our resident beekeeper Mike Pluyschev and his sons.  Honey is largely produced from Eagles Nest Reserve where use of herbicides and pesticides is restricted.   We add well-water from our aquifer, and a starter from fermenting wines to commence ethanol fermentation. Some years we will add seasonal fruit from the farm. Once fermentation is complete the mead will undergo the same barrel aging process that our wines undergo. Mead will spend time in barrel for approximately one year. After developing in barrel, meads are bottled at the same time as our wines.

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