Native Oregonians Carol and Peter Adams planted their vineyard on the south side of Chehalem Mountains in 1976.Five years later, in 1981, the couple picked the grapes for their first bottling of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A striking sumi painting depicting a grape branch adorned the Peter F Adams label. In 1985, the label‘s name was simplified to Adams. The same year, production of the wine moved to a small building in the industrial area of northwest Portland. Eventually sauvignon blanc was added to the repertoire, with grapes purchased from the Croft vineyard in Dallas, Oregon.
From 1995 to 2005 their vines were leased to Rex Hill Vineyards. Since 2005, Carol and Peter have sold their grapes directly to a number of different wineries including Artisanal Wine Cellars, J. Christopher Winery, and Tina's of Dundee, Oregon.
The year 2008 marked their return to wine production; Carol and Peter hired Kelly Kidneigh, friend and neighbor, as their winemaker. Vinification takes place in the cheerful atmosphere of Carlton Winemakers Studio in Carlton, Oregon. An attractive wine tasting room, open to the public, is an additional perk.
Carol is an artist; her creative career includes cooking at the Genoa, writing a popular food column for a Portland newspaper, and making wine at their Portland winery. Peter is in the construction business and manages the vineyard. Their two daughters, Portland and Fanny, are good cooks who appreciate wine. Fanny designed the current label, Trout Lily Ranch, using a paper cut of four trout lilies created by artist Ginny Flynn. These flowers grow wild at the vineyard popping through the soil, under towering oak trees, around Easter.
The site on the south side of Chehelem Mountain, in the north Willamette valley, with its 300-foot elevation has proved to be an early ripening vineyard, a boon enabling grape harvest before the arrival of the annual bird migration. The Willamette Valley provides the ideal climate, warm summer days and cool nights, for growing the finicky pinot noir grape; allowing…” grapes to achieve ripeness without sacrificing the freshness provided by good acidity, as stated in the New York Times article ” 08: Oregon’s Very Good Year.” Its jory clay loam mixed with some Willakenzie is an ideal home for the Pommard clone of pinot noir.
Words From Winemaker Kelly Kidneigh"I believe wine is made in the vineyard under the direction of nature; I merely try to interpret that expression. My style or technique is fairly hands off. Any action I take during fermentation and barrel ageing relies on the smell and taste of the fruit and the ensuing wine throughout the process from vine to bottle. I try to pick the fruit when it is optimally ripe as there is a distinct difference in flavors between when the numbers are good and when the fruit is optimally ripe. I work closely with the vineyard manager to achieve both. In Oregon, we are usually in a race with time; which will come first, the creamy ripeness I seek, or the rains that fall. Fortunately, we have the tools to deal with whatever the weather hands us, but the best vintages are those where we have the choice as to when to pick rather than forced by the rain or weather."
How the Wine is MadeThe temperature during fermentation is the key to aromatics and balanced tannins. Kidneigh employs cold soaks, five to seven days, followed by long, low temperature fermentations, (produced by natural yeasts), typically two weeks in length. Cap management is a moment-to-moment, day by day decision. In total, the fruit will spend about a month in the fermentation vessel during its transformation from grapes to wine. Barrel ageing will last sixteen to 18 months and typically uses 35% new French oak. These techniques produce a style of pinot noir, one of restraint, balance, structure and subtlety-true elegance.
Owner: Carol and Peter Adams
Winemaker: Kelly Kidneigh