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  • Writer's pictureNeil & Sue Shay

Spring 2017 at Bluebird Hill

Our vines have been sleeping during the cool and rainy winter, and the barrel room has been pretty quiet, too! But other things have been hopping, behind the scenes, to get our new releases ready for the spring and to get the vineyard ready for bud break.

The weather this winter has been interesting – and a bit different! We’ve had above-average precipitation since fall of 2016, which has continued steadily throughout the winter. Over the winter, we’ve seen flooding of some of the low-lying paved roads in our vicinity more than once. Up on the hill, however, we’re plugging along and managing just fine, and very grateful, that rainfall amounts and snowcap levels in the mountains, are restoring water levels to near-normal in both Oregon and northern California. The rest of California still needs some help but a very large area has been rescued from drought conditions by the very wet fall and winter we’ve just gone through! So amen for that!

At Bluebird Hill, things are moving forward briskly on two fronts: outside, we are finishing off the south vineyard block, which has been planted in stages beginning in 2013. Wooden end posts were pounded in December and we recently took delivery of about twenty miles of wire which is now being laid out. We’re predicting a 2017 harvest of maybe 30-50% of our full, mature production. If you don’t know, we planted one-quarter acre in 2013 in the south block, one and a half acres in the north block in 2014, another acre or so in 2015 in the south block, and another small section in 2016. For 2017, we have another 900 plants on order that will get planted in March or April, and will bring us to 3.2 acres, planted at our high density of 1742 vines per acre.

In the winery, we have been blessed with dealing with wines coming from a terrific 2016 harvest, they are looking really great! In the fall, we bottled 70 cases of our 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot noir, this has been sitting in the bottle over the winter and is just about to be released. The end of January we bottled 2015 Zenith Vineyard Reserve and Barrel Select Pinot noirs, 2015 Reserve Chardonnay and a small lot of port-style 100% Oregon cherry dessert wine. The Cherry wine is a limited release, only about fifteen cases are available. On February 25th we bottled our 2016 Rosé and is deliciously clean, aromatic, and in a word, delightful! We’re looking forward to sharing it with tasting room guests! With the help of our intrepid volunteer bottling crew, we bottled two white wine blends (last year, we opened with one) on March 5th. We’re anxious for May to arrive, to have you taste these new wines with us! Apart from small bottling runs of Blueberry/Pinot port style and a Late Harvest style Riesling, that completes our bottling efforts until the first of June when we will bottle our 2016 Pinot Gris and Chardonnay.

Upcoming events include the following:

April 7: Wine Tasting at Bo’s Wine Depot in Eugene

April 8-9: Spring Open House

April 29-30: Wine Club Weekend/Wine Pickup

May 14: Tasting Room open for Mother’s Day

May 26-29: Memorial Day Weekend Open House

We hope to see every one of you sometime soon!!


Neil & Sue

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