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Sharing the passion and the journey of creating world-class Pinot Noir.

Alexis Truitt
June 29, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Summer in the Vineyard 2017

Today we're bringing our winemaker, Jacques Tardy, on the blog to give us a quick tour of what's happening in the vineyard and the winery during the hot days of summer. Enjoy!

After a delayed start of bud break (about ten days), the heat of May and the first week of June have allowed the vines to catch up most of that lost time.

The winter rains are stored in the soil, and the vines are making the best of it, now that the sun is shining on them.

Bloom is in full swing. I noticed the first flowers on Thursday, June 15. With this beautiful weather, we can hope for great pollination and a good size crop in early October. The newly planted vines are thriving and are really enjoying this weather, just as we are.

In April, Jon and I racked all the 2016 Pinot Noir barrels and I am now working on the blends. I am tasting all the barrels and creating in a glass. Thirteen different Pinot Noir blends! We are preparing the 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for bottling next month.

2015 was a mile stone for me; it was my 40th harvest as a winemaker, the 34th in the US and the 11th at Torii Mor.

We have just bottled our first batch of Pinot Noir Grappa, rich, fragrant, sweet, with pear and a mix of fresh and dry herb flavors. Should be in the tasting room very soon.


Jacques Tardy, winemaker

Time Posted: Jun 29, 2017 at 10:50 AM Permalink to Summer in the Vineyard 2017 Permalink
Alexis Truitt
May 4, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Oregon Wine Month 2017


May is a special month for Oregon Wine for multiple reasons: the sun starts shining, celebrating Memorial Day Weekend is a treat, and it's Oregon Wine Month. Oregon Wine Month gives us wineries a chance to really celebrate who we are, our rich history of wine in Oregon, and to share the joy and camaraderie of wine with others. 

Here at Torii Mor, we'll be celebrating with a few fun and exciting things so here's the detailed report on what to expect from Torii Mor this May!

Social Media

Keep tabs on our vineyards progress, what Jacques and Jon are up to in the winery and distillery, and take a month-long jaunt through our favorite wines! Each Tuesday and Thursday expect a special post on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter with a tidbit about our favorite wines and what makes them special. 

Win a Wine Country Weekend!

As well, we'll be sharing all the details of a special sweepstake! The Oregon Wine Board is offering the chance to win a wine country getaway in the Willamette Valley or in Southern Oregon! All the details can be found here.


This Memorial Day weekend, May 27-28, for a special tasting in honor of the holiday. 

We'll be celebrating the season with the exceptional wines from the 2014 & 2015 vintages. Join us for a tasting of our white wines and Pinot noir in a keepsake glass while you enjoy our Japanese-style garden and views of Mt Hood.

Torii Mor will be open on Memorial Day and pouring the regular flights in our tasting room on Monday, May 29th. Click here to take a peek ahead into our summer events as well!

Keep an eye on social media for Torii Mor and your other favorite Oregon brands for more celebrations and fun during May, Oregon Wine Month! See you on Memorial Day weekend!


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Time Posted: May 4, 2017 at 11:06 AM Permalink to Oregon Wine Month 2017 Permalink
Alexis Truitt
April 13, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Spring in the Vineyard 2017

Springtime brings the beginnings of the hustle and bustle of the year here at the winery and vineyard. Jacques's once again writes us a letter about the happenings in the vineyard and the winery this spring.

The deluge is slowing down… we are starting to see some sunshine, after one of the wettest winters. Wettest February and third wettest March on record for close to 20 inches of rain in 2 months… after all that snow, then rain, what’s next? Sunshine?

The new vines will be planted next week, they spent the winter in the barrel cellar to avoid freeze damage, the crew couldn’t get in the field earlier because it was way too wet, and they had to finish pruning and tying other vineyards too.

We just received the new Pinot Noir vines from Knights Nursery in California, UCD clone 95.

A clone brought to UC Davis, from Burgundy’s famous Clos de Vougeot, by Dick Erath in the late 70’s, to be cleaned from viruses and propagated by the University of California at Davis.

In 2002 (or is it 2001?) Dick got a call from UC Davis letting him know that his clone was ready… a quarter of a century later. He had kind of forgotten about it.

Dick has planted some acreage and made wine from this clone; Don and I tasted the 2015 vintage with him on January 16 of this year, and found the wine of dark color, forward aromas, with really rich and unctuous flavors, sweet, dark fruit notes, and a rich structure, a lot like the Pommard clone planted throughout Oregon wine country. Don called it the new “grand Cru” of Oregon Pinot Noir… we have added 129 vines to this year’s planting.

The Chardonnay vines are pushing their buds in the wool, but the Pinot Noir is barely moving. We are looking at a more “normal” start of the growing season, with a mid to later April bud break…

In the winery, we are getting ready to start racking the 2016 Pinot Noir barrels next week and prepping the 2015 Olson and Yamhill-Carlton Select for bottling at the end of the month.


Jacques Tardy, winemaker

Time Posted: Apr 13, 2017 at 8:20 AM Permalink to Spring in the Vineyard 2017 Permalink
Alexis Truitt
March 23, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

2016 Rosé: Grape to Bottle

Each year, our Rosé is met with glee and anticipation. Regardless of how you enjoy your Rosé, one thing is for sure: it never lasts long. 

But what is the process behind this much-loved wine? Today we're taking you behind the scenes to explore exactly how the 2016  Rosé came to be, starting from grape selection all the way to bottling day.

Grape Selection

There are generally two ways Rosé is made: specially selecting grapes for the pink wine or using extra juice in a process called saignée. We selected the grapes for our pink wine from two vineyards: Varga Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills and Kraemer Vineyard in the Willamette Valley. The grapes from the Varga Vineyard are in a more shaded area of the vineyard.

Skin Deep

Jacques let the juice soak on the skins for about 20 hours. This imparts the beautiful salmon color of the wine.

Bottling Day

Due to popular demand and selling out every year, we upped the case production this year. We produced 500 cases total. The wine is bottled with a screw cap closure, as are all our white wines. This allows for easy opening at summer time picnics and beach bonfires. 

Once the Rosé is bottled it ends up at your dinner table, brunch buffet, your Thanksgiving feast. Rosé is perfect for numerous occasions and pairs well with most foods, making it a stunningly versatile wine to have in your collection. 

Be sure to order your bottles before we run out! This wine is always our most popular wine each year and is gone faster than we can blink! 

Order here!

Time Posted: Mar 23, 2017 at 8:40 AM Permalink to 2016 Rosé: Grape to Bottle Permalink
Alexis Truitt
February 2, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Valentine's Day Gift Guide

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and here at Torii Mor, we have the perfect gift for your sweetheart. Whether you want to keep it simple or go all out, here's our list of the best gift ideas. Pick and choose as you like!

Port and Chocolate Bundle: Includes one bottle of our 2011 Syrah Port and a box of six specialty chocolates from the Bard Confectionary.

Sweets for Your Sweetheart: Includes one bottle each of our 2011 Syrah Port and our 2015 Late Harvest Viognier.

Valentine's Dinner at Home Bundle: Includes one bottle each of our 2014 Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir and our 2014 Chardonnay.

The Sweetheart Experience for Two: The Sweetheart Experience provides both a gift for Valentine's Day and a special date for two in the future.

  • When you order you'll immediately receive a bottle of our 2014 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and a special love note describing the experience to come. 
  • Then you'll make a reservation with us for an intimate, private tasting for two at our Winery in Dundee! The tasting will include a tour of the property with tastes from the barrels, a private picnic lunch in the vineyard with an included tasting flight, and a few other surprises along the way.

And don't miss out on two great Valentine's Weekend events!

Join us in Dundee for our blending event on February 11th! Treat your sweetheart to a date at Torii Mor where you'll learn blending techniques from our winemaker and blend up your very own bottle of wine to take home, complete with a personalized label, hand drawn by local artist Terry Christopherson. More details here!

Or, join us in Woodinville for the Chocolate and Wine Walk at Apple Farm Village on February 11! Enjoy tastings from six wineries with chocolate all along the way. More info here!

Time Posted: Feb 2, 2017 at 8:58 AM Permalink to Valentine's Day Gift Guide Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 26, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Winter in the Vineyard 2017

Winter can be a slow season, but while the vineyard sleeps, the winery is still churning out deliciousness for you! Jacques detailed some of the goings-on in the winery this winter in our most recent newsletter, but here he details one more exciting project: the start of our grappa production! If you missed the newsletter, sign up here by scrolling down to the bottom of the page! 

We have survived several snow events already in 2017, starting in early December. Not quite winter by the calendar, but it sure looked and felt like winter here. The temperatures went down to the low teens and even single digits as we were starting to get into the New Year. We also experienced a nice layer of snow - three to four inches in the Dundee Hills and over a foot in Portland and surrounding areas. And as if the compacted snow wasn’t enough, freezing rain was in the forecast. Four wheel drive and studded tires were the only way to go for a while to get to work in the hills.

The snow acted as a blanket to the vines so I am not expecting to see any vine or bud damage. I have checked buds on the canes and everything is nice and green.

The vines didn’t suffer damage because they are dormant in winter. The snow delayed the start of pruning, which usually starts in early January here. We have another two months, at worst, before we will see any awakening of the vines. Bud break usually happens in the first 2 weeks of April, but in the past 3 years, it has been closer to the end of March. Yet in 2011 it was early May!

This spring we will re-plant the one acre of Pinot Noir we pulled out last year. t had weakened because of the Phylloxera bug feeding on the roots. We already have the grafted plants and are waiting for some dryer weather to get in the field. The news plants are all grafted Pinot Noir, including Pommard, Dijon 114 and Dijon 777 clones, and possibly a new clone from Erath Vineyard.

The 2016 Pinot Noir in the cellar has completed the Malo-Lactic fermentation already. The wines follow the same fruity-sweet-rich style of Pinot we had in 2014 and 2015.

We are preparing the 2016 Pinot Gris and Rose’ for a bottling on February 10, just in time for Valentine’s Day.

Jacques Tardy


Time Posted: Jan 26, 2017 at 7:39 PM Permalink to Winter in the Vineyard 2017 Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 19, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

Storing Wines to Age

If you want to store wine for several years to see how it ages or hold on to the bottle for a special event like an anniversary or a first child, it's important to do everything you can to ensure the bottle ages well. Nothing compares to the experience of opening a perfectly preserved bottle to share for a special occasion.

There are three ways to help your wine age as best it can: consistent temperature, darkness, and position.

Consistent Temperature: 

The best range to store your wine is somewhere between 45 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Some people say that 55 degrees is as close to perfect as you can get, but really, the most important thing is more the consistency of the temperature, rather than the number itself. Fluctuations in temperature can cause more harm than a too high or too low temperature, so even if you store your wine closer to 45 degrees or closer to 65 degrees, the real clincher is whether or not the temperature stays consistent over a long period of time. 

While it's natural for temperatures to fluctuate a little bit, if your wine is subject to drastic temperature changes, the chances of damaging your wine is very high. Keep an eye on the temperature of the area you store your wine and perhaps get a thermometer to track the consistency of the temperature.


Harsh light can damage wine (especially if it's in clear or more transparent bottles). However there is an easy solution for this conundrum: store your wine in a closet, a basement, or a wine fridge. The amount of light affecting your wine will be limited and your wine will stay undamaged.


If the wine you're saving has a screw cap closure, their position doesn't matter; store those bottles in whatever way they best fit your space. If your bottles have cork closures, be sure to store them on their sides. If you store cork-closed bottles upright, the corks can dry out, allowing oxygen into the bottle and causing the wine to oxidize. Storing your cork-closed bottles on their sides allows the corks to stay full and allow just the right amount of oxygen into the bottle.


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Time Posted: Jan 19, 2017 at 7:39 PM Permalink to Storing Wines to Age Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 12, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

10 Things Your Probably Didn't Know About Torii Mor

Whether you're new to Torii Mor or been drinking our wine for ages, here are the top 10 things you probably didn't know about us!

  1. Torii Mor means "earth gate" - Torii is Japanese for gate, and you can see many Japanese Torii gates on our property. Mor is ancient Scandanavian for earth, and together, the name Torii Mor represents how wine connects us to the earth through terroir. 
  2. Olson Estate Vineyard was named after our owner - Our owner Dr. Don Olson bought the winery in the 80's and named the estate after himself.
  3. Olson Estate Vineyard was planted in 1972 - Before Dr. Olson bought the vineyard, the land was owned by the McDaniels family who originally planted the vines. The McDaniels made wine from the property for several years before selling the vineyard to Dr. Olson.
  4. The Japanese Garden on our property is original to the estate - The McDaniels family planted the Japanese garden the same time they planted the vines and the garden has become a beloved part of the estate and of Torii Mor. Hundreds of people enjoy the garden year long, and particularly in the summer to get a respite from the heat.
  5. Jacques Torii Mor as head winemaker in 2004 - Our winemaker Jacques Tardy came to us with a slew of experiences in winemaking, particularly his Burgundian heritage. With generations of wine making knowledge under his belt and a heart to let the grapes speak for themselves, Jacques makes the incredible Torii Mor wine you know and love.
  6. Our gravity flow winery was built in 2007 - After decades of making wine in other facilities, we finally built our own gravity flow winery and moved in in 2007. 
  7. We make our own brandy for our Syrah Port - Ever since we started making our Syrah Port, we've made our own brandy just for the wine. We use our own grapes and water from the aquifer on the property. In 2014, we bottled the brandy and now make it available as its own product. 
  8. Our vineyard is planted in Jory soil - The beautiful red clay soil characteristic of the Dundee Hills is prevalent on our little part of the Dundee Hills. The Jory soil gives our wines that special something that helps them stand out and really wow you.
  9. Our first vintage was 1993 - The very first Pinot we produced was our 1993 Oregon Pinot Noir, 23 years ago!
  10. Our vines are from David Lett's original stash - Our vines are some of the oldest in the valley and luckily, we haven't had too many inflicted with phylloxera and have retained our 40+ year old vines.


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing

Time Posted: Jan 12, 2017 at 8:38 PM Permalink to 10 Things Your Probably Didn't Know About Torii Mor Permalink
Alexis Truitt
January 5, 2017 | Alexis Truitt

2016: A Year in Review

2016 went by so quickly and we can hardly believe it's time for our yearly review! We had a whirlwind of a year full of good things. 

This year we released our 2015 Late Harvest Viognier, the second dessert wine in our lineup, to rave reviews. We never thought a wine could usurp our beloved Port, but this Late Harvest definitely presents some competition! We also released out 2014 Chardonnay which quickly became a cult-favorite. 

This summer we also threw our White Party again (click here for info on 2017's White Party!), complete with an oyster roast, plenty of white wine, and good company, as well as a vineyard luncheon featuring a tour with our winemaker Jacques and your very own Pinot Noir vine!

Here on the blog, we posted a variety of useful and fun blogs. These are the top 10 blog posts of 2016 from the Torii Mor blog!

  1. Aging Well: A Guide to Aging Wine
  2. A Wine Country Picnic
  3. Why You Need Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs in Your Cellar
  4. Three Steps to Opening an Aged Wine
  5. Tasting Room Experiences
  6. Wine Resolutions for 2017
  7. Oregon Wine Month Round Up
  8. Earth Day All Year Round
  9. Summer Wine Reads
  10. Get Outside In the Willamette Valley

Harvest in 2016 was a busy affair, with a great harvest crew and lots of exciting grapes. We're all excited to taste the 2016 vintage in a few years! 


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Time Posted: Jan 5, 2017 at 7:32 AM Permalink to 2016: A Year in Review Permalink
Alexis Truitt
December 29, 2016 | Alexis Truitt

Wine Resolutions for 2017

New Year's Eve is the day where we set resolutions for the new year. Normally these resolutions are related to losing weight, working out more, eating healthy, making more money, etc. However, it always helps to add in a few fun, easily achievable resolutions so come February, you don't feel quite so bad about not being at your goal weight. 

And what better fun resolutions to add to your list than a wine themed one? 

Here's a list of some wine themed New Year's Resolutions to get your creative, goal-creating juices flowing. 

  • Learn more about a wine region you're unfamiliar with. There's so many places in the world that grow wine: the Willamette Valley (of course!), the Columbia Valley in Washington, the Fingerlakes, Virginia, South Africa, all over New Zealand, Greece, Germany, Spain, the list goes on. 
  • Learn more about the wine making process. Research how wine is made, ask questions when you go wine tasting, and learn the ins and outs of getting grapes to your glass. 
  • Pick a grape varietal like Pinot Noir, Syrah, Riesling, and taste that varietal from a variety of locations to better learn how place and terroir really influence a wine.
  • Try five new varietals. 
  • Join a wine club. 
  • Drink. More. Wine!


Alexis Truitt

Social Media and Marketing Assistant

Time Posted: Dec 29, 2016 at 7:52 AM Permalink to Wine Resolutions for 2017 Permalink