If you are tasting wine around Oregon these days, it seems the expectation is to pay for a tasting. Here in Elkton, we are still somewhat 'old school' in that we assume you are going to find something you like and buy at least one bottle, so most of us don't really post a tasting fee.Read More
Our blog includes updates from the vineyard and winery, wine features, specials, products and much more. Elkton, Oregon is a special place and we like to brag about it from time to time.
Most wine clubs are designed to reward their fans with substantial discounts, and ours is no exception. Even so, I understand and appreciate anyone looking to shave a few bucks off their regular bills, and I'm here to help you hack your way to spending less to drink excellent wines.Read More
Unlike a traditional white wine that is pressed so the juice has no contact with the skins, this Gewürztraminer is crushed and fermented on its skins. The skins carry enough pigment to darken the wine. Not only am I pleased with its color and potential bottle presentation, I am really excited about...Read More
Let me start by saying, I love our wine label. I remember when I first saw it I was really delighted by its look. For 13 years it has been a very dependable, attractive and well-received label.
Now let me explain how the last couple years have been leading to this transition.
I came on the scene officially for Bradley Vineyards in spring 2014. The first wine I got to work with was the 2013 vintage my father John had started. Considering he got the wine through primary and started into secondary fermentation, he gets all the credit for the 2013 wines.
2014 was our first season without Dad. Though, perhaps as you recall, 2014 was a really tremendous harvest. The weather was ideal and the vines were super-charged, producing tremendous yields and really high quality fruit.
Needless to say, that year I was very green in my vineyard management experience, so I felt like Dad must have helped out getting me started that year. The 2014's I tributed to Dad because of how unique the year was. I even made for the first time a 'Legacy Reserve' to mark the year as one for John. I'll only make a Legacy Reserve in years like 2014.
Now let's talk about 2015. It was another tremendous year- albeit quite hot, especially in July. Our yields were similar to that of 2014, but due to some sunburn loss in the Baco, we came in just under our total tonnage. The conditions just weren't quite perfect enough to merit another Legacy Reserve, but as the vintage took form, I found myself taking a lot more ownership over the winemaking.
Okay quick aside - something I love about wine is that each vintage is essentially a time capsule. Because we let the year speak for itself and don't manipulate the wines to be consistent from vintage-to-vintage, it's easy to tell them all apart. I do find it more difficult to recall the older vintages' weather because A) I was a youth who wasn't drinking wine or paying attention to stuff like that and B) I didn't directly experience those vintages from bud break to bottle like I have the 2014s and 2015s.
So where am I going with all this? Considering the story of our brand, that every vintage is its own unique stamp on time, and that I have taken a lot of ownership of the 2015 wines, I thought it was a very appropriate time to update/freshen-up our label. Now when you buy a wine prior to 2015 and a bottle of 2015, you'll clearly see the transitional point in our brand's history.
Okay that's enough of the blahdy-blah. Wanna see the label? Okay here is a copy of the 2015 Dry Riesling - a wine we haven't had since 2011, I might add. Click image to view larger version.
As you can see I kept the logo largely the same. Though I always thought it could and should take up more real estate. I also always loved the layout and abstract water reflection image at the bottom, but thought it could be more purposeful. We believe good wine comes from good fruit so having the vines on the label was important to me. The view is from our Tasting Room deck, so I thought it was doubly-beneficial to have a recognizable view. Plus, that lone oak on the horizon is one of my favorite trees in Elkton.
The other two priorities for me were to establish that our wines are all Estate grown and emphasize the Elkton Oregon AVA. Re: Estate grown - not all wineries do 100% estate fruit like we do and since our fruit is always of such high quality, I thought we were missing an opportunity if we didn't mark it as such. As for the Elkton Oregon AVA, the designer mocked-up this really cool Oregon map with a cluster of grapes marking Elkton. While it is hard to tell on the bottle-itself, I really love the little icon.
It took many rounds between me and my former-co-worker/friend, Seth Hilson (visit his WEBSITE), to get the label where we wanted it, but I think we got there.
In summary, I'm going to continue to make wine like Dad did. Now, looking back it will be easy to distinguish this time of transition in our company's (hopefully) long story to come.
Keepin' it fresh,
Allow me to start by clarifying: I'm not going to get into how to swirl or swish or spit. This post is less 'mechanics-focused' and more 'ettiquette/attitude-focused.' And don't let those terms intimidate you. Wine ettiquette and attitude sounds pretentious to its core, but I assure you I'm fighting the good fight here.
There are many different kinds of wine drinkers. Some claim they only like reds, some want drier, some want sweeter, and as far as I'm concerned, all types are welcome. My family's philosophy has always been, "Drink what you like!" And I would like to challenge that philosophy only slightly today. I say, drink what you like, but do your fair share of exploring. Allow me to provide an example:
I recently was pouring for a small group and one individual was the classic, "I only like reds," type (and let me clarify that I have nothing against this type of person). In fact, I largely am this type of person. When I taste, I like to taste reds primarily as I find that is what I tend to drink more. But to completely rule out white wines, seems a bit extreme from my personal experience. However, I try to not argue and just trust the customer to lead me through their world as much as I try to lead them through mine. So I offered a sample of dry, white wine, as is often the starting point in a tasting, and all participated except the lone 'reds only' drinker. As I have come to expect, the reaction to this wine was tremendous. The group really loved it and spent quite a bit of time pressuring the red drinker to try it, but there was no budging. So we moved on to a dry rosé, which also received plenty of positive buzz.
Let me put it this way, a friend of mine explained his attitude toward music to me as follows: I'm not a frequent listener to things like country or rap, but to say I don't like those genres is pretty closed-minded. Every genre has it's best stuff, and I have found that even in the country and rap worlds, there is music that is creative, poetic, moving, relatable, etc.
Now I know I'm younger than a lot of the seasoned wine drinkers out there, and that many folks have been drinking wine much longer than I have. So maybe they have found that there are no white wines, or no sweet wines, or no dry wines that they like and that's that. But a lot of people who stop in Elkton have never been before, so I know they haven't had this white, or red or sweet or dry. And if there is one universal guidepost from which to base all wine tasting, it's: every wine region and vineyard and winery is different. So don't rob yourself of finding your next favorite thing!
If you have ever been so bold as to say, "I 100% do not like [insert wine here] and will not be sampling it nor drinking it ever," then I am going to ask you shift that paradigm slightly. Let's adjust to, "I have not yet found a [insert wine here] that I like, and am still on the hunt for the one that knocks my socks off." If you try it and like it, you win! And if you don't, you are only about 30 seconds and less than an ounce of wine in debt from the experience. The potential reward far outweighs the risk.
That's really all I'm driving at here.