Vitae Springs Vineyard established in 1986 and expanded in 1999, is located in the rolling hills five miles south of Salem, Oregon. The grapes come from two blocks. The original planting is at the base of the 'home block' on a south slope of well-drained Jory clay at an average elevation of 600'. The more recent 'Inwood' vineyard is planted on a steeper hillside of volcanic Nekia soil running from 600-760'.
We began making Pinot gris produced from Vitae Springs in 1993. In 1999, Mark asked grower Earl Van Volkinburg, to quadruple the acreage. The Vitae Springs Pinot gris used to be the smallest production lot at St. Innocent (one year we only produced 83 cases), but no longer.
The vines struggle, especially in their youth, because the soil is thin, but the quality of the fruit from this site is very high. In order to get the concentration and texture in the wine, the yield is limited by thinning to achieve a crop of about 2.7 tons per acre, which is much lower in comparison to the average Alsace and Oregon yield of 5 tons per acre. This allows Mark to pick fully ripe fruit with a level of intensity not possible at higher crop levels.
Vintage Notes: The 2011 season began with a very cool spring. This delayed shoot growth and the flowering phase occurred later than in any previous Oregon vintage. The summer was relatively warm and disease-free. The weather cooled in September and became cloudy by early October. With the late start of the season, the grapes desperately needed sun to complete the ripening process. By mid-October the sun returned and continued to shine into November. Harvest began in mid-to-late October and was the latest in our 24-year history.