Joe Swick is a young, 5th generation Oregonian trying to bottle the most unadulterated visions of the Pacific Northwest he can. He started off as a cellar hand at Owen Roe but has travelled extensively since then, working in Tasmania, Portugal, and Piemonte to name a few. In nine years he worked 15 harvests, after which he started his own project.
The focus is on organic, biodynamic, and sustainably farmed vineyards in the Pacific North West. This means he is working with fruit from both Oregon and Washington including the up-and-coming Columbia Valley Gorge.
He is an exceptionally pragmatic winemaker. An example of this is his willingness to use a small percentage of new barrels. Older barrels purchased from conventional winemakers may have brettanomyces lodged deep in the grain, held at bay by excessive sulphur additions. By slowly creating his own stock of neutral barrels, he ensures their cleanliness and can allow his wines to mature during élevage sans soufre. If the wine needs it, he will add a small amount of sulphur at bottling for protection.
2017 ELLA GURU
Half this wine is made from Melon de Bourgogne planted in Yamhill-Carlton, on the western edge of the Willamette Valley. Counoise from Conley Vineyard in Yakima makes up the second half of the blend. The young vines are planted on Gorst Series Loam which drains well. Both vineyards were harvested simultaneously despite being in different States. Due to low yields, Joe made an impromptu decision to conferment the grapes, so he’d actually have enough wine to fill a fermenter. Whole clusters were gently crushed by foot twice per day before being pressed off into neutral French oak barrels. After several months on lees, the wine was racked and bottled.
(92 Cases Produced) 800992
Conley Vineyard is located at 1600 feet above sea level in North Western Yakima. Plenty of wind and cool nighttime temperatures help preserve acidity. The vines are head-trained. Whole clusters were gently crushed by foot. After 30 days on the skins the wine is gently pressed off into neutral barriques for nine months. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered with only a pinch of sulphur for transportation. 13.2% ABV
(160 Cases Produced) 795392
2016 WILLAMETTE VALLEY PINOT NOIR
The Pinot Noir for this project comes from two organically farmed vineyards. Cancilla Vineyard is located in the far north-west of the Willamette Valley appellation and benefits from a north facing slope and the intense coastal influence. Silvershot Vineyard is located in the Eola-Amity hills and is almost constantly pummeled by wind. The grapes are not destemmed and are fermented in open top vessels. They receive gentle pigeage once or twice per day. The wine then spends nine months in 228L and 500L barrels before being bottled, unfined and unfiltered. 15ppm of sulphur was added after malolactic conversion and 15ppm were added at bottling. 13% ABV
(400 Cases Produced) 79038
2016 MELON DE BOURGOGNE
Yamhill-Carlton may not have many Melon De Bourgogne vines, but we’re certainly glad they have the ones they do. They are 15 years old and planted on sandy loam. Whole bunches are pressed directly into 8-year-old, 228L barrels. After a month-long fermentation, the wine spends an additional six months on lees. The wine is bottled unfiltered and with minimal sulfur. 12.5% ABV
(84 Cases Produced) 79038
2017 Blanc De NOIR
Ken Cancilla organically farms 20 acres in the North-West outskirts of the Willamette Valley. Wädenswil Clone Pinot Noir is whole bunch pressed into old 228L barrels. It stays on the lees after fermentation for six months. No batonnage is done and the wine is only racked once before bottling. A small amount of sulfur was added for stability. 13% ABV
(42 Cases Produced) 790385
These 13-year-old Verdelho vines (Godello / Gouveio Clone) are planted on loam in the Yakima Valley. Whole clusters are pressed directly into 2-4-year-old 228L and 500L barrels. No batonnage is done during élevage and only one racking is done shortly before bottling. The wine is bottled unfiltered and with minimal sulfur. 12.5% ABV
(134 Cases Produced) 79038
2017 Only zuul
Half of this wine is made from Pinot Gris grown in Omero Vineyard which sits within the tiny appellation of Ribbon Ridge at the northern end of the Willamette Valley. The vines are planted on a combination of Carlton, Dupee, and Willakenzie (Silt Loam). The Gewurztraminer comes from Conley Vineyard in Yakima. The grapes were co-fermented as whole-clusters in open-top fermenter for about a month before being pressed off into neutral barrel. The wine was bottled unfined, unfiltered, and with very little Sulphur. 11.8% ABV
(115 Cases Produced) 800993
2017 Rosé pet-nat
As per Joe’s usual style, organic Pinot Noir from Cancilla Vineyard is directly pressed into stainless steel where it wild ferments. He does four passes per vintage in this vineyard; the fruit for this cuvée is the first pass. When the wine has 10g/l of sugar left, it is bottled. It continues to ferment, resulting in a sparkling wine with slightly less pressure than Champagne. The wine is disgorged by hand and given no dosage (Joe: It is very labor intensive.). It sees no fining, filtration, not Sulphur. 12.5% ABV
(420 Cases Produced) 800991
2016 GRENACHE BLANC
These Grenache Blanc vines are planted on sandy loam in the Yakima Valley. Whole bunches are pressed off but the skins are added back for 24 hours before the juice is fermented in old oak barrels. No batonnage is done during élevage and only one racking is done shortly before bottling. The wine is bottled unfiltered and without sulfur. 12.5% ABV
(117 Cases Produced) 790383
Pinot Noir from Ken Cancilla’s vineyard was whole-cluster pressed directly into neutral French oak puncheon. The cool coastal climate and northern exposure in this northwestern nook of the Willamette Valley provides wonderfully high acid and low sugar fruit even in warm vintages. After a slow fermentation, the wine rests on full lees for a couple months. After one racking the wine is bottled with just a pinch of Sulphur for stability. 12% ABV
(180 Cases Produced) 800989