To grapes, location can mean everything. So it’s important that our 214-acre Sea Breeze Vineyard is situated in Polk County in the Willamette Valley AVA (American Viticulture Area), about 10 miles west of Salem, Oregon. The vineyard encompasses east-facing elevations from 203 to 328 feet and west-facing elevations from 208 to 320 feet.
Here our fruit takes on a cool coastal influence as it soaks up late-afternoon, summertime breezes that blow through the Van Duzer Corridor from the Pacific Ocean. These gentle, refreshing winds allow our grapes to hang on the vine longer and foster a full maturity of flavor, fruitiness and overall complexity.
The vineyard was planted with Pinot Noir clones 113, 777, Pommard and Wadenswil in 1987. Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris and additional Pinot Noir were planted in 1999. The total planted acres is 189, comprised of 116 acres of Pinot Noir, 68 acres of Pinot Gris and five acres of Pinot Blanc.
In addition to Sea Breeze, Dobbes sources from a number of vineyards in the Willamette and Rogue valleys. Because superb wine depends on superb fruit, every clone at our partner vineyards is carefully scrutinized — as is soil composition, site elevation and specific vineyard blocks.
From the list below, we get some of the best grapes in the Pacific Northwest.
Fortmiller Vineyard – Rogue Valley AVA
The 30-acre Fortmiller Vineyard is custom-farmed by Don and Traute Moore and produces some of the best fruit in the region. From here, Dobbes sources Syrah for our single-vineyard designate bearing the same name, as well as a bit for our Grande Assemblage Syrah. Don and Traute — who have become Joe’s “second parents” over the years — made the move up from Southern California in 1989, after selling their orange orchard, and purchased the first of what would become a family of vineyard sites, including Pleasant View, Griffin Creek, Sundown, Lakeside and Crater View. All are managed today by Chris Hubert.
Meyer Vineyard – Dundee Hills AVA
Meyer Vineyard produces 26 acres of Pinot Noir grapes, planted in Jory and Nekia soil at 550 to 800 feet in elevation. The vineyard has been farmed organically to ensure the grapes develop their full flavor potential without synthetic chemical inputs. The vineyard also employs composting, cover cropping and other time-tested agricultural techniques that support a living, healthy soil and prevent damage to the ecosystems that surround the vineyards. Great care is taken to prevent soil erosion, limit water usage to protect aquifers, and respect the wildlife habitat.
Quailhurst Vineyard – Chehalem Mountains AVA
Quailhurst Vineyard produces 12-plus acres of Pinot Noir grapes and is planted in 13-million-year-old, red, basaltic Jory soil. Jory soil is a silty clay loam that provides the rootstock and grape plant with needed mineral uptake. It has a unique consistency that can balance good water retention and excellent drainage. Pommard andDijon(113, 777) clones planted more than a decade ago, thrive in this quality terrior. This combination of soil, clones, topography and environmental conditions enrich the flavor profile and texture of this wine.
Sundown Vineyard – Rogue Valley AVA
At 2,000 feet in elevation, with hot days and very cool nights, Sundown Vineyard creates complex fruit. Dobbes sources Pinot Noir from the highest elevation of this vineyard site for our Skipper’s Cuvée Pinot Noir, and from lower elevations for Viognier and Syrah. Chris Hubert manages the day-to-day operations for Sundown and other sites in the family of vineyards owned by Don and Traute Moore.
Symonette Vineyard – Eola-Amity Hills AVA
Seven miles west of Salem, Symonette Vineyard is one of the original vineyards in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. The 16-acre Pinot Noir vineyard is dry-farmed using sustainable farming practices. On gently sloping ground, between 320 and 380 feet of elevation, Symonette has the three classic Pinot soils of the NorthernWillametteValley: Willakenzie, Jory and Nekia. Plantings include own-rooted Pommard and Wadenswil clones, as well as Dijonclones on their own roots and grafted onto Chardonnay roots. With a southwesterly exposure, these grapes ripen early to produce the optimum balance of flavor, acid and tannins.
Youngberg Hill Vineyards – McMinnville AVA
Youngberg Hill Vineyards is 22 total acres — 12 acres of Pinot Noir planted in 1989, five acres of Pinot Gris planted in 2007, and five acres of Pinot Noir planted in 2008. The 1989 Pinot Noir is own-root, 60 percent Pommard clone and 40 percent Wadenswil. The vineyard sits between 600 and 750 feet and also features Willakenzie and Steiwer soils. The earth’s soil components are complimented by distinct weather in the coastal foothills that provide an excellent terroir for extremely high-quality fruit with intense black fruit flavors, earthy spices and higher acids. The vineyard is LIVE certified and has been organically farmed since 2003.