There are over 800 different soil series in Oregon, of which only 92 have to date been utilized to grow grapes. Soil series are broken down into 25 different groups based upon common characteristics, but naming of the soils can differ by state. For example; Oregon has Jory soil which has a high clay content, while this might be characterisically similar to a soil in Upstate New York, it would have a completely different name. This illustrates that the naming scheme is meaningless and that attention should be paid to each soil groups distinctive combination of parent material, topography, climate, vegetation, and history and how this will influence vine growth and the resulting fruit.
EIEIO & Company's winegrowing philosophy is terroir based, but terroir is not JUST limited to soil. We believe that it also has to do with the flora surrounding the area, the pollen from other plants which might affect the grape vine, wind (as we have seen with the thicker skinned fruit of the Meredith Mitchell Vineyard), etc. We also believe that the winery and cellar are part of "terroir" since the yeasts, microbes and molds in both will affect the wine. We can go on forever.
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are uniquely suited for terroir driven winegrowing since these varietals lack genius when planted on average sites. For this reason, EIEIO & Company carefully selects its vineyards to produce wines that are not only reflective of that specific site, but are also, collectively, a representation of the Willamette Valley.
Farming. After being in and around the vineyards of the Willamette Valley and having tasted the subsequent wine produced from them over the past 15 yrs, we have found that no hard and fast rules apply. You read, hear, and see people going on about yield, trellising, farming techniques and trendy pseudo-scientific farming methods. What it really comes down to is this: Does the site produce a crop with personality? There are some who will only farm Biodynamically, but is the end product always better and is the consumer willing to pay the additional costs associated with this method? There are others who follow the DuPont philosophy of "Better living through chemistry" as it is a much easier approach to farming. We believe in finding a happy medium where we are farming sustainably without losing the unique characteristics of the specifc site.
Looking over the vineyards we lease, each one has a distinct personality in exposure, age, farming and the subsequent wine from it. With this vast array of personalities, we can choose to either blend forming the Cuvees "E", "I" and at times the elusive "O" or, if the vineyard is impressive enough as a standalone, produce a single vineyard or even a single block bottling.
Each farmer has their own philosophy on how to farm their property. Most have been farming their property for at least 10 years and have learned not only what the plants want, but also what the site needs. While the vineyards in the current EIEIO & Company portfolio have farming practices unique to that specific site, the overall philosophy aligns nicely with our vision. They do what they do and we do with it what we do in an attempt to produce better wines.