At Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard we produce handcrafted, small-lot wines using only grapes grown on the Estate.
Whether we grow grapes, hazelnuts or hay we are all farmers. As farmers our energy goes into the land and the plants we cultivate and it is essential that we nurture that relationship. We are not in control; we are at the mercy of the elements – our soil, the weather, pest, diseases and economics. It is challenging and a big responsibility to the land, the environment and our potential customers.
Grape growing, Viticulture, is one of the most analyzed enterprises in Agriculture. Although there is no one right way to achieve success there is definitely a wrong way. Every decision made in the vineyard affects the plants and the grapes this year and into the next. The attentive farmer must check the vineyard every week to look for disease, poor nutrition, and look at the grapes in relationship to the canopy that nourishes and shelters them.
Tending the vines can often be intimidating but there is nothing more rewarding than seeing the efforts we make produce succulent clusters of grapes that with the magic of winemaking become the “Nectar of the Gods”.
Growing Pinot Noir
Recent genetic studies of grape varieties has identified Pinot Noir as one of the oldest grapes in the world. As small cluster variety, Pinot Noir has a reputation for being a finicky grape. Culturally, Pinot grapes prefer cool nights and warm days. Outside of Burgundy, France there are only a limited number of spots where Pinots thrive and the Willamette Valley is one of them. The wine is light in color, on the dry side, with a subtle, not assertive, flavor.
We have chosen two Pinot Noir clones and one Pinot Gris for our Three Feathers Vineyard: Pinot Noir 667, Pinot Noir 115 and Pinot Gris 152. Each Pinot Noir clone has its own characteristics of flavor, ripening and yield and when blended together give the wine a depth of flavor and complexity that is not found with one clone alone.
Three Feathers Estate is a high elevation vineyard at 750 feet in the Chehalem Mountains on Laurelwood soil.
Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard is located in the heart of the Chehalem Mountain AVA at the northern most corner of Yamhill County Oregon. Although the property comprises rolling hills from 700-1000 feet in elevation its hills form a natural heat sink, sheltered from winds and capturing summer warmth in its own natural microclimate.
As we all know Terroir, or the combination of soil, location and climate, are what give the distinct flavor to the grape. Our vineyards are located only one mile from the highest point in the Willamette Valley; Bald Peak Park, which is at 1410 feet in elevation.
At this elevation there are challenges but also advantages. Temperatures are 7-10 degrees cooler than in the Valley. We are not subject to erratic frosts as are the vineyards at lower elevations. Grapes can be harvested for several different styles of wine; Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, White Pinot Noir, Rose or even sparkling wines depending on the ripeness of the fruit.
Soils of the Chehalem Mountains
The vineyard may be young but the Terroir was millions of years in the making. Volcanos, floods and primordial winds have formed the Laurelwood soils. Very fine in texture and high in iron that gives the characteristic red color, these soils run deep. Beneath are huge boulders rolled over by the prehistoric Missoula floods.
Three natural springs form a year round aquifer feeding the two acre pond used for irrigation. It is a peaceful spot to enjoy a respite from the daily work.
At Three Feathers, wine making decisions are driven by the vineyards and the season.
Our 2016 Three Feathers Pinot Noir is a short season vintage, picked as the rains came early and the heat died away. The 2017 season, on the other hand, was longer thus allowing us to harvest later and enable the fruit to built up more sugar. We also had the benefit of grapes from our second site, Torio Vineyard, where the vines are older and there are multiple clones. We made the decision to blend grapes from both sites and create our 2017 Three Feathers Cuvée Virginia.
The 2018 season was exceptionally dry with sporadic heat. Our grapes ripened well despite the stress of water shortages and we had an abundance of Pinot Noir. We were inspired to create a White Pinot Noir from a portion of the grapes as well as a Reserve Pinot Noir from the best of our 11 barrels of red wine.
There is an element of kismet in our decision making process. Every vintage is different and we are not completely in control. This is the way wine making has always been and good wine making will continue to be. Three Feathers will keep on exploring possibilities and try to make the best wine the vines will give us.
Enterprise, Hard Work & The Harvest
Three Feathers Estate and Vineyard is the endeavor of three women, Christine Stimac, and her daughters Elise Stimac and Cynthia Sciarratta. The name not only refers to them but also the three Ostrich Plumes in the Roosevelt Family Crest that is our logo. Christine’s mother, Dorothea Virginia Roosevelt was a cousin to Theodore Roosevelt and grew up in the family enclave on Oyster Bay, Long Island.
Virginia passed away in 2010 leaving a legacy to her daughter and granddaughters. When they purchased 155 acres in the Chehalem Mountains to farm and raise grapes, they adopted the family crest in her honor. The motto Qui Plantavit Curabit is Latin for “He who plants shall gather” or, in the vernacular, “You Reap What You Sow”. The motto reflects the values of Enterprise, Hard Work and the Harvest that goes on every day at Three Feathers.
The ladies of Three Feathers are blessed with four strong and willing sons and grandsons who have given many summer hours to the vineyard and the hay harvest. Three generations of the Stimac family have nurtured the vines at this high altitude farm on Chehalem Mountain. We hope that you enjoy the fruits of our labor.