View down the vineyard row at Dobbes Family vineyards in the Willamette Valley

The 2023 harvest is shaping up to be a great one. We dodged frost at the start of the year and have been gifted a lovely if not warm summer with no worries of smoke. The start of April was cool, preventing bud break until the end of the month when record-breaking warm temperatures finally signaled the vines to break buds. Ordinarily, a late bud break would lead to a later harvest. but with the warmest June on record, we managed to pick up nearly three weeks. Harvest is now projected at mid-September and with warm and dry weather in the forecast, we have much to celebrate.  

For now, we are biding our time while the 2023 harvest ripens and putting a delectable array of 2022 wines together. The wines from 2022 will remain a favorite of mine for a long time. The vintage represents my first vintage back in Oregon since 2017, and my first vintage at Dobbes. This August we will bottle a host of usual suspects– wines like the Grand Assemblage, Eola Amity Cuvee and Patricia’s. While they will undoubtedly resonate as Dobbes Family Estate wines– wines cut from the same cloth as our foundational blends– my hope is that they can speak of something new as well. 

At Dobbes we say that we are rooted in tradition yet unbound by convention. As often as I poke fun at our CEO Sarah Pearson (please do not tell her I said that) for repeating the mantra, I DO BELIEVE IT. And I like to think I embody it. My approach to winemaking has always been a raw and unfettered one. In my experience, wine made simply, some would say traditionally, always produces the best and most complex wines– wines with energy and soul. Aside from vineyard provenance, process is often what separates the good wines from the great, so in 2022 we went back to the basics. We fermented about 70% of the wines with native yeast and adopted a more holistic and natural style of winemaking. Making wine in this way allows the wine to express itself over the winemaking.  At the end of harvest, we are left with a better understanding of what our vineyards are capable of. 

Michelangelo believed that the sculpture existed already in the block of marble, even before he touched it with a chisel. I feel the same about winemaking. 

 

DEREK EINBERGER
Dobbes Winemaker