One of Oregon's Oldest and Most Historic Vineyards
First planted in 1971 by four families working together (the Kreimeyers, Markleys, Welches, and Trenhailes), the vineyard spans over 200 acres with roughly 180 acres under vine; making it one of Oregon's oldest and largest vineyards.Sitting on a south facing bench at 600 to 800 feet in the foothills of the Coastal Range in the McMinnville AVA, this site benefits from cooler temperatures in the summer and warmer temperatures in the winter; allowing for a longer and more uniform ripening period. With just over 180 acres planted on volcanic Jory soil holding similar attributes to the red dirt of the acclaimed Dundee Hills AVA, the old, self-rooted Pommard, Wädenswil, and Coury Pinot Noir vines together with newer plantings in 1989 to Dijon 115, provide a number of blending options from this unique site.
After forty-one years, one of Oregon's first is mature enough for its own brand. Forty-one years ago you could quite literally count all the wineries and vineyards in the Yamhill Valley on one hand, and Hyland Vineyard was one of them. Rooted outside of McMinnville just north of the Van Duzer Corridor this storied vineyard has been a source to many coveted wines.
Launched in 2011, Hyland Estates showcases several Pinot Noirs and a few white wines including Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewürztraminer - the last two varietals being sourced from the oldest, self-rooted blocks in the vineyard. Laurent Montalieu and NW Wine Company are continuing the tradition of beautiful, high-scoring wines with their own unique sense of place.
Rooted in their new expansive tasting room in Dundee, complete with vaulted ceilings, private tasting room and outdoor picnic areas, Hyland Estates welcomes guests every day of the week from l0:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
The story of Hyland Vineyard starts in 1971 when Eyrie and Erath were the only ones actually making wine. They both had vineyard acreage in development and were continuing to plant more as were Sokol Blosser, Adelsheim and Ponzi, and as far as most people acquainted with the area's wine evolution would be likely to recall, that was the extent of it in 1971. But such recollection presents an incomplete picture.
The Four Families
That year, four couples purchased and began planting a vineyard on a perfectly-placed piece of remote terrain in the eastern foothills of the Coast Range, southwest of McMinnville. The common bond among Victor and Doreen Kreimeyer, Rich and Ruth Welch, Dick and Lila Markley and Jack and Ruth Smith was the U.S. Forest Service.
In 1971 only a tiny handful of people knew much of anything about growing wine grapes in northwestern Oregon. But the couples made it a point to get to know those few folks and seek their advice. They persevered and put in their initial plantings of Coury clone Pinot Noir in 1971, followed by Wädenswil Pinot Noir in 1974.
Working the vineyard as it was reaching the point where the grapes were mature enough to harvest and sell posed a logistics problem for the remaining owners. Their problem was solved when Jack Trenhaile, a recent arrival from Hawaii, stopped to visit. He had just bought 30 acres nearby and wanted to get acquainted with his neighbors.
It wasn't long before Trenhaile had a new job and the Hyland partners had a solution to their problem. He took over the vineyard management, admitting that he learned as he went and giving appreciation-filled credit to everyone in the local wine industry who helped him along the way.
Hyland Vineyard grew to 100 acres under his management selling grapes to such notable wineries as Sokol Blosser, Yamhill Valley Vineyards, King Estate, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Lange, Amity Vineyards and Veritas, now Chehalem.
1985 Burgundy Challenge in Paris
At the 1985 Burgundy Challenge in Paris, Hyland fruit led the way in a blind tasting competition that saw panelists unable to differentiate between Oregon and Burgundian Pinot Noirs.
To the amazement of the wine world, three Oregon wines garnered higher point totals than the Burgundies. These game-changing Pinot Noirs were from Sokol Blosser, Yamhill Valley Vineyards and Veritas and all contained fruit from the Hyland vineyard.
Laurent Purchases Hyland
Trenhaile eventually became a full partner and continued to manage the vineyard for 30 years until it was sold to NW Wine Company's principals - Laurent Montalieu, Danielle Andrus Montalieu and John Niemeyer - in 2007.
Fueled by the success and growing needs of NW Wine Company, owners Laurent, Danielle and John were in search for grapes from the 2007 vintage.
"Laurent initially contacted me in the winter of 2007 about buying fruit," Trenhaile said. "I had to tell him we didn't have any left but we did have a vineyard for sale." This was not Montalieu's first interaction with Trenhaile and Hyland. In 1988 while the winemaker at Bridgeview, he made his first visit to the vineyard looking at fruit and to discuss the German Fendt tractors Trenhaile was using. Although he did not purchase any fruit at the time, Montalieu was intrigued by the combination of clones, soil, and climate of the vineyard.
When Montalieu heard from Trenhaile that the historic Hyland vineyard was for sale, he knew that this site could provide them not only with the tonnage they needed but give them a source of amazing terroir. After some back and forth discussion, an agreement was reached in May of 2007 and Hyland Vineyard had new owners - only the second ones in its then 36-year history.
Together with Vinetenders and Joel Myers, the Montalieus and Niemeyer got right to work in the vineyard. The last plantings at Hyland had been in 1998, bringing the vineyard total to an even 100 acres. As early as four months after the purchase in 2007, the new owners planted an additional 18 acres of Dijon and Pommard clones.
They then purchased an adjacent 70 acres where 55 acres of Pinot Noir went in following the 2009 harvest. All told, Hyland Vineyard now spans more than 204 acres with roughly 180 under vine - one of the largest single plantings in the Northern Willamette Valley.
The vineyard is perfectly placed for all of the reasons crucial to successfully growing cool-climate, vinifera wine grapes - microclimate, soil, aspect and slope. Its location on a south facing bench rising from 450-800ft just north of the Van Duzer Corridor puts it in the Coast Range's sheltering rain shadow.
Thus protected from the Corridor's blustery winds and chilling rains, the vineyard benefits from a mesoclimate that delivers cool summers, wan falls and often dry, overall growing seasons. The cooler nights slow the rate of respiration or energy conversion within the grapevine, leading to greater retention of the sugar and acid levels in the grapes.
Perfection, as they say, is in the details. The long, slow maturation coupled with other favorable conditions results in full physiological ripe grapes with complex phenolic profiles reflecting both the variety and its terroir.
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