2015 Harvest News from Eola Hills Wine Cellars


Rickreall – At Eola Hills Wine Cellars, this harvest is the winery’s 30th and it will be one for the record books.

The winery recorded its earliest ever harvest, with the three tons of Espiguette 352 Chardonnay grapes picked on the morning of August 26. The early harvest was to ensure optimal ripeness of these grapes destined to become a Blanc de Blanc sparkling wine. An early harvest was key to ensure the grapes’ brix was no higher than 19, a necessity when making sparkling wines. It’s an early finish, too - as of this coming Friday, October 2, the harvest will be 90% complete.

Never has the winery harvested more fruit from its blocks, and the fruit quality is exceptional. In the words of winemaker Steve Anderson: “This will be a record year for the vineyards. The crop came early and it’s beautiful. Never have we harvested more fruit from our blocks and the quality of the fruit is excellent. The weather was perfect, the birds stayed away. There’s no mold, no mildew, no rotten berries – it’s clean fruit. Great wine comes from great grapes. 2015 will be a great vintage.”\

Several factors have led to the winery’s bumper crop, starting with warm and dry Spring conditions that contributed to early bud break and good fruit set, and kept disease pressure pleasantly low, followed by a warm dry Summer that also contributed to early and heavy crop of ripe, bright and clean fruit. The crop shows no damage by birds. Early-ripening fruit and the resulting early harvest has meant that birds are not yet in a migratory pattern and are finding food elsewhere.

Replanted and relatively new vines are producing well and contributing to the large crop. At Oak Grove Vineyards, Chardonnay vines planted in 2011 to replace vines affected by phylloxera have produced a large first crop – 6 tons. This should increase to 25 tons in 2016 and 40 tons in 2018. (Oak Grove is Eola Hills’ first vineyard, planted in 1982. A major part of Oak Gove was bulldozed in 2010 to make way for healthy new Chardonnay, Sauvignon blanc, and Pinot noir vines.)

At the 160- acre Legacy Estate Vineyard, the winery’s newest vineyard where planting began in Fall 2008, the young vines are producing large yields after back-to-back ideal growing seasons. At mid-harvest (Sept. 26), the Pinot gris yield had already exceeded projections of 155 tons by more than 100 percent, and based on acreage yet to be harvested, there may be another 70-120 tons to add. The Pinot noir harvest should include 150+ tons still on the vine.


Tons harvest to date (9/30/15)




Pinot Noir                  


Pinot Gris                   




Cab sauvignon


Sauvignon blanc










Marechal foch            







The exceptional 2015 harvest follows an exceptional harvest in 2014 – one that was both “big and beautiful” in the words of Steve Anderson.

“As a winemaker, I have experienced bountiful – or heavy – crops where the grapes were characterized as weak in flavor and or color. Alternatively, I’ve experienced the Grand vintage, characterized by low yields, exceptional flavor and color. The 2014 harvest was one for the history books. Not only was it a bountiful harvest, but it appears 2014 will be a Grand vintage for Oregon.”

2014 harvest recap

In 2014, Eola Hills harvested 1633 tons. 2014 Pinot noir exceeded expected yield by 31% and Pinot gris was 171% of expected yield.

Total quantity of 2014 Pinot noir harvest: 526.93 tons. This will produce a projected 36,530.86 cases of wine (65 cases/ton).

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