Our Name – Saffron Fields Vineyard
The name was probably the easiest decision made concerning Saffron Fields Vineyard. Sanjeev loved the Beatles and in particular John Lennon. Brainstorming names, he and Angela spoke of the vineyard as being their own field of dreams and how it was their strawberry fields forever. Sanjeev had visited California on business many times during harvest season and said the golden and auburn hues of the vineyard reminded him of the color of saffron. Suddenly it was obvious that Saffron Fields was the one and only name for the vineyard. After all, Sanjeev was from India where the spice saffron is culturally important – it is the color on the India flag and the delicate aroma of many Indian dishes. Saffron also connects to our sustainability practices, since saffron is the color of Buddhist monks robes, where it symbolizes serenity, enlightenment and purity.
Our Region – Willamette Valley
The Willamette Valley is recognized as one of few regions in the world capable of producing pinot noir. The Willamette Valley’s cool nights allow the thin skinned grape time to ripen to luscious perfection. The region includes six sub-appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton. Saffon Fields Vineyard is in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA.
Our AVA – Yamhill-Carlton
North of McMinnville, Oregon, in the Northern Willamette Valley, the land slowly rises to the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill. Low ridges form a horseshoe shape surrounding the two communities. The free-flowing North Yamhill River courses through the center of a lush patchwork quilt of nurseries, grain fields and orchards.
The Yamhill-Carlton AVA’s soil is composed of marine sediments from an ancient sea floor, making it among the oldest in the valley. While our surrounding AVAs have younger volcanic soils and silt deposits from ice-age floods that swept through the valley over 15,000 years ago, the Yamhill-Carlton AVA has free-draining soils that encourage low vigor and early ripening. Protected by the Chehalem Mountains, the AVA sits in the rain shadow of the Coast Range, leading to the AVA being warmer and drier than many other parts of the valley. Large fluctuations in temperatures between day and night contribute complexity and structure to our wines. Each vintage is different reflecting the terroir, climate and loving touch of our winemaker, Tony Rynders.
Our Soil – An Ancient Sea Floor
Our 89-acre property consists of a diverse series of coarse-grained, ancient marine sediments native to the area, among the oldest soils in the Willamette Valley. The shallow topsoil layer, consisting of Willakenzie, Belpine, Carlton soils, sits on a soft sandstone base, remnant of an ancient sea floor. The shallow topsoil layer combined with excellent drainage is key to quality wine production. The vineyard is located between 250 and 450 feet above sea level with gentle south –southwestern exposure. These elements combine with the microclimate to produce evenly ripened grapes expressing the strong personality of the vineyard. The vineyard development started in 2007, today the vineyard has grown to 34 acres with 31.5 acres of Pinot Noir (Clones: Pommard, Wadenswil, 115, 667, 777, 928) and 2.5 acres of Chardonnay (Clones: 76, 548). The vineyard is dry farmed using sustainable farming practices.
Our Certifications – Live and Salmon Safe
LIVE certified Low Input Viticulture and Enology. (www.livecertified.org) LIVE is a certification program developed in 1997 by an independently incorporated organization of Oregon winegrowers to provide vineyards and wineries official recognition for sustainable agricultural practices. LIVE is certified internationally by the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC), which sets an international standard for sustainable farming practices. LIVE certification is a three-year process. A point system for ecological options requires growers to demonstrate continual improvement in diversification of the agro-ecosystem, and reductions in the use of fuels and chemical inputs such as pesticides and fertilizers. Regular third party inspections are required to maintain certification.
Salmon Safe (www.salmonsafe.org) is a corollary certification that is usually achieved in conjunction with one of the comprehensive certification programs. Salmon Safe certifies farming practices that restore and protect healthy streams and rivers, focusing especially on control of soil erosion and runoff, and on maintaining buffer zones in riparian areas to protect water quality.