The Willamette Valley AVA is recognized as one of the premier Pinot noir producing areas in the world. The Willamette Valley is a huge and varied appellation that includes six sub-appellations: Chehalem Mountains, Dundee Hills, Eola-Amity Hills, McMinnville, Ribbon Ridge and Yamhill-Carlton.
Saffron Fields Vineyard is located 28 miles southwest of Portland, in the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. The neatly combed benchlands and hillsides of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, an AVA established in 2004, are home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world.
Our 90-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 35 acres with 32 acres of Pinot Noir (Clones: Pommard, Wadenswil, 115, 667, 777, 928) and 3 acres of Chardonnay (Clones: 76, 548). The vineyard is dry farmed using sustainable farming practices.
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.
About the Yamhill-Carlton AVA
North of McMinnville, Oregon, in the Northern Willamette Valley, the land slowly rises to the hamlets of Carlton and Yamhill. Low ridges surround the two communities in a horseshoe shape. The free-flowing North Yamhill River courses through the center of a lush patchwork quilt of nurseries, grain fields and orchards. The neatly combed benchlands and hillsides of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, an AVA established in 2004, are home to some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the world.
The coarse-grained, ancient marine sediments native to the area are among the oldest soils in the Willamette Valley. The topography, ideal for viticulture, allows Pinot Noir to develop deep ruby colors and broad, silky tannins. These are alluring, complex, supple gems of Pinot Noir to sip and savor.