Hello All! I’m super excited about taking part in Berserker Day again! I’ve tried to put in some fun offers with all new wines and vintages. There is no limit on orders, but if I do run out of something, I’ll replace it with the next vintage. If you haven’t visited or heard of us, I’ve included a Bio down below which explains some of the farming and winemaking techniques that I use. Thanks and here goes!
BD#1: 2016 Paetra Riesling Willamette Valley ‘K’ (Kabinett)
6 pack case $60 (reg $120) -50%
This is the first several harvest passes of two different vineyards, picked to retain freshness and acidity while keeping the alcohol at bay. There was ZERO botrytis, and extremely healthy fruit which was in the mid 80’s Oechsle. After gentle pressing and sedimentation by gravity, it was racked into stainless steel where it fermented spontaneously without chemical additions, acid or sugar adds. After fermentation, the wine sat Sur Lie until filtration and bottling. There are two Riesling clones present, N90 and a Geisenheim clone which give a white peach and citrus element to the wine, the sur lie seems to add a salty, sea-spray minerality and savoriness which plays really well with the floral characteristics. It is at the threshold for dry (but still legally ‘Trocken’ from a German-wine-law standpoint) I love the balance of it and it has served well as a delicious all-occasion, go-to white. As vibrant as it is, there are years of cellaring and development to go. 11.5% alc, 9 g/l rs, 8.5 g/l TA (277 case production)
BD#2 2016 Paetra Riesling Pack
6-Pack $90 (reg:$150) -40%
2016 Paetra Riesling Eola-Amity Hills Dry (2 bottles)
This is again my favorite wine of the vintage. Fermented wild, slow and cold in neutral oak after considerable pre-press skin maceration. This is N90 Clone on loess soil with a sandy-clay subsoil. Very juicy peach, sponti-carob savoriness, paprika and some power. The Pfalziest wine I make for sure.
13% alc. 5.5 g/l rs, 8.0 g/l TA (92 case production)
2016 Paetra Riesling Yamhill-Carlton Dry (2 bottles)
This vineyard is north-facing in a forest clearing and hence a very cool site. I’ve been working hard to revive it by bringing in lots of biodiversity and trying to revitalize the soil. It is quirky and full of personality, but also completely serene. I get some of the same from the wine which is green and herbal with a lot of autumnal flavors and basil and green apple. Willakenzie soil. It was made without commercial yeast, acid, sugar, or chemical adds and fermented in neutral oak.
12.5% alc, 8g/l rs, 7.75 g/l TA. (96 case production)
2016 Paetra Riesling Eola-Amity Hills ‘S’ (Spätlese) (2 bottles)
This late-harvest Riesling has a balanced sweetness so as to be delicious and useful! It has peach, melon, underlying aloe and basil flavors with juicy acidity. It has the lowish residual sugar of a throw-back 60’s-70’s German Spätlese instead of the much sweeter renditions that you sometimes find today. It will take on spicy foods and pulled-pork sandos, but it’s perfectly acceptable to drink it all by itself.
10% alc. 35g/l rs (96 case production)
BD#3 Paetra Pinot 6-Pack (2x Pinot Noir, 2x Pinot Gris, 2x Pinot Noir Rose)
$100 (Reg $150) -33%
*I wanted to offer a small sample pack of Pinot varieties too. The Rose never makes it to the website because it has all gone to distribution. BD is the last time I’ll be able to offer it before they buy the rest. This is the last few cases of the red Pinot as well and the first offering of Pinot Gris. So, First Chance, last chance!
2016 Paetra Pinot Noir Eola-Amity Hills (2 bottles)
This was harvested mid-September about two weeks after the Rose pass from this block. It is a clonal mixture of Wädenswil, 777 and 828, which really help round out the fruit flavors and add complexity. It’s light-bodied and I joke that its red wine made by a white-wine maker in that I prize elegance and freshness over power. The wine is very red-fruited and the fine tannins help create a suppleness of texture. The sandy soil in this block, along with adequate leaf-cover, give big aromas without thick skins (and big tannins). It was fermented in open-tops with twice-daily punch-downs and then left to go thorough malolactic fermentation in neutral oak barrels. No added yeasts or chemicals.
13% alc. (92 cases produced)
2017 Paetra Pinot Gris Yamhill-Carlton (2 bottles)
We had a late start to 2017 and it really extended the growing season. We picked our Pinot Gris at perfect phenolic ripeness, but without the high sugar-maturity that PG can achieve. I pressed it gently and cut the press early to keep the tannins and color at bay. After a native-yeast ferment in stainless-steel, the wine tastes excellent. Lowish alcohol, clean, precise and focused with no residual sugar. It rested on it’s lees for an additional four months before bottling.
12% alc. 0 g/L rs. (83 cases produced)
2017 Paetra Pinot Noir Rose Eola-Amity Hills (2 bottles)
We did a rose-pass on our Pinot Noir vineyard three weeks before the red harvest to retain acid and freshness and keep the alcohol to a reasonable level. I gave the grapes a 3 hour pre-press maceration and then gently pressed. After settling the must, it was racked into neutral oak and left to ferment spontaneously until dry. It shows excellent Pinot character (as it should!), and keeps to the vintage with bright acidity and length.
12% Alc. (130 cases produced)
Shipping: Flat $30/6 bottles, $50/12 bottles. We will ship when weather permits (usually sometime in March)
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with any questions!
Here is a brief(?) rundown of my background and farming/cellar practices to help explain the style and goals of my winemaking. Please let me know if I can provide any more information.
I’ve been working in the wine industry since 1998, first in retail and wine distribution/importing in Minneapolis where I grew up. In 2010, after studying German for several years, we sold everything we couldn’t carry on our backs and I moved with my wife and at the time two small children (2 and 4yrs old) to the Pfalz region of Germany to complete a classic European wine apprenticeship. This included working for three different wineries while studying viticulture, viniculture and enology at the agricultural research school in Neustadt an der Weinstraße.
In Europe of course, there is no distinction between vineyard and cellar work in that a Winzer (Vigneron) is required to learn and practice both –a very different model than what is common in the US where these jobs are generally separate. It was a wonderful and challenging few years. We immersed ourselves in German culture and I somehow supported my family on my apprentice wages of 4€/hr. I was fortunate to spend part of that time at Weingut Odinstal, which has emerged as one of the top Biodynamic producers in Germany, albeit on quite a small scale. We farmed and produced wine from ~ 6ha of vineyards which really allowed us to be uncompromising in our work. It was my time here that solidified my farming and winemaking philosophies under the tutelage of Andreas Schumann, who himself apprenticed under the famous Hans-Günter Schwarz of Müller-Catoir (who was also a great source of knowledge for myself). In 2013 I became the second American to graduate from Neustadt in its 113 year history and the only one working in the US wine industry. An interesting side note is that the research institute was formed in response to the phylloxera outbreak, so indirectly I was able to benefit from a school that was founded because of a pest brought from America!
Towards the end of my schooling I started researching wine-growing regions in the US that might be similar to the Pfalz regarding climate, soil, and suitability to the grape varieties that I had worked with in Germany (Riesling, but also Pinot Noir, Blanc and Gris, Silvaner and Gewürztraminer among others). The Willamette Valley of Oregon was the only region that checked all of my boxes, meaning it had adequate rainfall to employ dry-farming; a cool but not often destructively cold climate (as in NY); and one that had a myriad of different soil types to play with –especially volcanic.
So we sold everything again and moved to Oregon just before harvest 2013. I worked for Brooks winery over the harvest that year and then started on with a vineyard management company while I found vineyards to produce my own wines.
In 2014, I contracted a couple of Riesling vineyards to take over the farming and make wines. That year I produced 400 cases of 3 different Rieslings. In 2015 I added another two vineyards including some Pinot Blanc (which is another variety I love) and made about 1000cs. In 2016 I’ve quit my day-job to focus on my own business. This year I added Pinot Noir and upped the production again to ~1200.
Much different from most start-ups, I spend roughly 90% of my time farming my vineyards and tending my vines and 10% making wine and selling it. Because of this, I want the techniques that I employ in the vineyard to show the greatest impact on the style of the wines. My approach is simple in that I try to be as thoughtful and innovative in the vineyard as possible and to be very minimalistic in the cellar. I’ve learned that if we can understand the vine’s natural tendencies and allow them to pursue these with the goal of producing ripe, healthy fruit, then we don’t have to correct or manipulate the wines in the cellar.
An example of how to achieve this is that I don’t want botrytis in the berries nor do I want that Riesling-petrol flavor in the wines (it might come as a surprise that petrol, fusil flavor is considered a fault in Germany). To these ends I need adequate canopy air-flow and loose-clustered bunches to minimize rot, and also enough shade on the bunches so as not to produce the thickening of the berry skins and these unwanted diesel aroma-compounds that are associated with high temperatures and sun-exposure. These two seemingly divergent ends can be achieved by pulling lateral shoots in the fruiting-zone to free up space while leaving the main-shoot leaves to keep the berries cool throughout the summer, thus preserving fruit and floral aromas. This I do by hand which takes about 40-50 hours per acre instead of the 30-60 minutes per acre that machine deleafers which completely strip all of the leaves take. I also use what I believe to be the most complex cover-crop program in the western hemisphere, planting some 30 different plants: legumes (for natural nitrogen fixation), flowers and herbs (to bring in pollinators, beneficial predator insects, and to increase biodiversity) and other plant species to compete for water and mineral resources to keep the berries small and loose, to provide soil structure at varying depths and to help force the vine roots deeper in search of nutrients. I brew actively-aerated compost teas to bring in an enormous diversity of micro-organisms which help the vines take up nutrients and to provide healthy soil-life. I don’t spray herbicides because of the damage they do to the microflora and fauna and mycorrhiza that I’m trying to cultivate, instead relying on hand-hoeing, tilling, and mowing under the vines to aerate the soil. I’ve built in-row insect houses to provide habitat for earwigs and wasps which can help to eradicate vine-pest such as aphids and mites without using insecticides.
Harvesting is done in selective passes (up to 6 times per vineyard) and by hand (my children, now 10 and 12 carried some 30,000 lbs. of grapes this year) to ensure that only the optimal bunches are picked for each style of wine.
In the cellar I use varying pre-press skin-maceration times depending on the wine and variety, I let all of the wines ferment spontaneously without chemicals, acid, or sugar adds. For some wines I use stainless-steel to preserve freshness and detail and for other wines I prefer neutral-barrel fermentations because I like the acoustic complexity it brings. The wines are left on the gross lees until filtration and bottling when I do a light Sulphur-add. My goal is to produce complex, long-lived wines in a traditional German style, but on American soil.
I insist on farming and making the wines myself because I think it gives me more control over the eventual style and because I can make better, more informed decisions about how to marry both aspects. I get to write the screenplay, produce and direct the whole program and hopefully that ends with a more authentic wine that speaks to the work that my family and I put in. This is very much a family business in that my wife and children help in the vineyard and my wife designs the labels. I hope that our hard work shows.