The Vineyard Comes First
In 2010, while Larry Stone was working at Evening Land in the Willamette Valley, he began negotiations for the 150-acre Janzen Farm, located in the Eola-Amity Hills. The prized east-facing site enjoys a 300-foot elevation gain, boasts favorable Nekia, Gelderman and Jory soils, and rubs shoulders with the likes of Argyle’s Lone Star, Domaine Serene’s Jerusalem Hill and Evening Land’s Seven Springs vineyards. The beginning of all great wine is a vineyard with a unique, complex and exceptional expression of place. It must be capable of expressing flavors in a way that pleases and surprises. Sites like these are hard to define and even harder to acquire. Because of its pedigree, the history of its neighbors, and the conditions it shares with its illustrious neighbors, it seemed like a place destined for greatness.
It was important from the beginning to respect the biome, the native flora and fauna. Thoughtful farming was one part of it. No-till farming with a permanent cover crop improves soil structure and increases microbial and mycorrhizal activity. Mycorrhizal fungi are like super-highways for nutrients and water, transporting them over a distance to where they are needed most. The nesting of hawks and owls was encouraged, not only because they are beautiful, but because they are effective hunters, keeping the songbird activity in check and at controlling voles and mice. Foxes and coyotes in the area reduce rabbit and pocket gopher populations. With this level of biodiversity in our environment, we feel that we gain better health in our workers and vineyards, and more complex flavors in the wines. Importantly, it is much more satisfying to live in such an environment among a throng of living animals and plants in relative harmony.