Harvest begins in August in Oregon

While not quite a, “made you look!” it is a little bit of one. Yes, those are bins of Oregon Blue Jay Blueberries. 11.2 tons. They come from 60-year old plants on a farm north of Forest Grove.

Kelley Fox and I will take a little less than half and ferment them to red wine standards and release a still red wine under our shared label (neither PGC nor KF). Pretty sure we learned a bunch from a winter test run and we can make something pretty amazing. We’re basically turning blueberries into Pinot Noir or so we think. The rest will be amped up a touch during fermentation and then distilled into what I hope is one of the great eau de vies on the planet. That will be under my distillery which is Die The Wolf which I share with my associate winemaker Matt Russell and our partner in it and legendary-in-the-future distiller Lynsee Sardell.

Here’s another look from the field.


I’m in, let’s go!

Super cool. What’s the acidity level of these blueberries compared to pinot grapes?


Really cool project.

Dang, I hope those were mechanically harvested. Blueberries take forever to fill a container, especially when the aroma causes the picker to eat some from time to time. Can’t imagine the effort to pick that quantity by hand…

Will it have the structure (mostly pH, I think) to age for a bit? I had a fruit wine from Oregon years ago, maybe cherry from Thomas?, that smelled and tasted great when it was young but really fell off a cliff.



The challenge is less the LEVEL of acidity than the MAKEUP of acidity. Grapes are tartaric and malic. Bunch of other acids but those are basically it (sometimes they add up to more than 100% of TA which is just a way of saying acids are weird and not necessarily easily understood in a winemaking context). Blueberries are basically all citric acid with a small portion (relative to grapes) of malic acid. So, it’s a whole other thought process on making wine even if we get staring numbers that are a semi-familiar sort of 5.5 TA and 3.20 pH.

Hand picked. Must have been 60+ people at it.

Kirk Grant is the real expert here. I think we can make a wine balanced across the principle characteristics that would allow for a level of age ability uncommon in fruit wines. I think blueberries are uniquely suited for this because of their high levels of antioxidants and natural levels of tannins.


Kirk Grant to the white courtesy phone please, Mr. Kirk Grant…


Super cool, Jim. Would enjoy trying.

Oh man…and I thought my Grandma was a slave driver for making me pick 10-20lbs a day for the season when I was a kid. You’re a mean man Mr. Anderson.

Kirk.Grant are your ears burning?


I’m just writing the checks! I don’t know anything about farming or picking blueberries (other than raking them, but this ain’t Maine) and they set it up as hand picked stuff. Maybe too small a field to bring in a mechanical harvester. Don’t know. But, had I known you were experienced, I would have been happy to call up your meemaw and get her to get you out there for a good 20 pounds worth of picking!!


Please let us know how to buy!

1 Like

This looks great. Love to see how the wine comes out and how I can get my hands on a few bottles.

Have fun storming the castle.

Bottled as Jim Fox Wines?

What is behind the name of your distillery? “Die The Wolf” sounds ominous, especially in wolf-hugging Oregon.

Jim, that’s a lot of blueberries and an extremely cool undertaking. Seems as though you and Kelley may have ‘got religion’ from that persistent down-east preacher, the Reverend Grant. Best of luck. However it turns out, you two have already won the way I look at things.

1 Like

I don’t know that the word “expert” applies to me. Bob Bartlett, absolutely (Bartlett Estate Winery, Goulsboro, ME) is the expert when it comes to making age-worthy blueberry wines. He’s the one that’s been making blueberry wine since the early 80’s. I cannot wait to try these wines, and the next time I’m headed to Oregon I’ll mail out some older bottles of Bob’s wines so that you & Kelley can get a rough idea of what can happen with age. My understanding (which may be flawed) is that in 1986 or 1988 Bob did a series of trials with blueberries in multiple oak barrels to understand what worked best. It was really interesting to taste those, there was a clear difference in the impact from the barrels. Some were still tannic beasts back when we did the tasting around 2009/2010. Blueberry wines age at a glacial pace, the bottle I blinded everyone on at the Boston vertical of PGC’s Etzel Block in 2019 was a 2005 and it had hardly budged from the times I tasted it in 2009/2010.

Whatever the case I cannot wait to hear when these will be available for sale.

I charge a lot more for my blueberry picking expertise these days…

Good luck with harvest!

1 Like

Very cool! Can’t wait. FYI, there’s also BLUET, getting a lot of attention: wild blueberry Méthode Champenoise and Charmat method sparkling wines by Michael Terrien (Terrien Wines, Obsidian Wines in CA). Have been dying to try them…

1 Like