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

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