What Do We Grow?

I get asked all the time, “What is your favorite wine?” I usually respond with something like, “It depends
on what I’m eating”. But, of course that always leads to, “why do I grow what I grow here at Spire
Mountain?”. Now, that is a complex question! Varietal choices in the 100 valleys of the Umpqua are as
varied as the people who live here, the microclimates range in moisture and heat to match every other
wine region in the world, and the crystal ball on what the consumer will pay for all impact the “what ya
gonna’ grow”. So, matching my microclimate at this high elevation with certain wine regions narrows
the choices some. But then wine style, my winemaking preferences, marketplace and of course
availability, all play a role in what we finally chose to grow. In my early days as a vintner I had wild ideas
on what could be done to be unique, different and on the cutting edge of what is hip in the industry. Like
hairstyles and fashion that is not a pretty sight to look back on and wish you’d done things a bit
different. It’s much more expensive than an embarrassing photo wearing angel flight pants and
goofy looking hair. We did our research, we knew Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, Pinot Gris, Riesling,
Chardonnay, and a few others would thrive. What we took the risk upon, was what would the site do to
impact the distinctiveness of our wines. Well 22 years later, I think it came out like this, in the words of
Chuck Yeager “a landing you can walk away from is a good one, a landing you can walk away from and
the plane survives is outstanding!”
In my opinion, not biased in any way of course, I think this landing is outstanding. I do not have to
acidulate my wines, ripeness has been a consistent win, every year the must comes in with all the
technical measurements in the box I like them to fit in. In fact, as a vintage true winemaker I find
capturing the season in the bottle to be very rewarding, much more rewarding than making what I call
“synthetic” wines. My background in chemistry lends me the ability to play with mother nature, and I
could make the wines in the winery with less regard for the must that came through the Destemmer.
BUT, Then I’d be just like many major commercial wineries, exactly what I did not start this business to
Because of the way we embrace the differences each season gives us, we conform to what Mother
Nature wants to produce. That means our wines are distinctly different every season, there is a
familiarity with each vintage, usually in the bouquet. I find just on the nose I can usually pick out a wine
from our vineyard. But that is usually where it ends, those of you who have enjoyed a vertical tasting in
our tasting room can vouch for that difference. If you haven’t… well come see us, we’ve got a lot to
talk about!
Our hope is to sell out of our wines every year, to match a vintage with someone’s palate in a way
they’ve never experienced, to have them leave with a few bottles and possibly some pairings they can’t
wait to share with friends and family. We like to think we give people an experience in their wine
purchase that is so unique it shows in their smile when they share how they came by this particular-
wine with a loved one over some great food. Sure, everyone can grab a bottle of wine at the grocery
store and serve it with their meal. But their meal will be a much deeper experience when paired with
the story they came by at our tasting room, as they fill that glass. See you at the tasting room.