Home Industry News Releases Domaine Willamette Kicks Off 2023 Harvest with Its First Biodynamic Pick

Domaine Willamette Kicks Off 2023 Harvest with Its First Biodynamic Pick


Dundee, Oregon — Friday, September 1: Harvest starts today at Domaine Willamette’s Bernau Estate Vineyard with a first pick of biodynamically-farmed Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier grapes used in making the winery’s sparkling wines. 

“It’s an exciting time of year, seeing the first fruit of the vintage,” said Terry Culton, Willamette’s director of winemaking and vineyards. 

This year’s growing conditions were marked by a damp spring and elevated temperatures in the summer, favorable weather for winegrowers, Culton said. 

The current harvest will mark Domaine Willamette’s first year with biodynamic certification in the vineyard, adding another element of excitement to the 2023 vintage of sparkling wine and Pinot Noir grown at Bernau Estate Vineyard. 

While the crew picks the fruit on Friday, a representative from the Biodynamic Demeter Alliance will visit the vineyard and monitor the winery’s application for certification. The certification is expected to be made official in the next few weeks. It will be the first biodynamic certification of a vineyard in the Willamette Valley Vineyards portfolio. 

Biodynamic certification means the vineyard is a recognized practitioner of sustainable, wholesome agriculture, based on an agricultural course given by Rudolph Steiner in 1924. Biodynamic farming promotes clean air by sequestering carbon in the soil and uses no chemical fertilizers, pesticides or herbicides. 

The biodynamic certification will take the winery’s existing sustainability efforts a step further. After three years of implementing biodynamic practices, Bernau Estate Vineyard is alive with good nutrients. 

Winemakers hope that biodynamic practices will create a better wine, Culton said. “We believe the work we’re doing will show in the bottle and our reward will be an amazing bottle of sparkling wine.” 

Wine enthusiasts can look forward to enjoying Willamette’s 2023 sparkling wine vintage after several years of maturation. 

Domaine Willamette 

Domaine Willamette is located at Bernau Estate Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The vines at Bernau Estate Vineyard are farmed using biodynamic techniques. The original 15 acres of Pinot Noir were planted in 1994 and in 2019 the vineyard crew added an additional nine acres of Pinot Meunier, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. In 2022 the crew planted 1.64 acres of Chardonnay. 

Willamette Valley Vineyards 

Founded in 1983 by CEO Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir while serving as stewards of the land, Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. In addition, all the vineyards have been certified sustainable through LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon-Safe programs.



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