We believe in producing high quality fruit in harmony with the environment on our 25 acre, dry farmed and hand tended vineyard.
We live and work here and we produce much of our own food here, not to mention the wine to accompany it.
It is of paramount importance to us to do nothing that will harm the environment, the products we consume or the wine grapes we sell to our winery customers. To help guide us in this mission, we signed up with the Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) program- http://liveinc.org.
Walnut Ridge Vineyard is certified sustainable by LIVE and has been awarded the Salmon Safe designation since 2005. What does this mean? First, it means we don’t try to dominate nature but rather work with it to maintain an equilibrium that provides room for wildlife, native plants, abundant insect populations and quality wine grapes. When you look at our vineyard, you don’t see a manicured, monoculture landscape. You see a vineyard alive with flowering native plant species, beneficial insects keeping less desirable insects in check, birds and bats, cats and mice. We have planted our vineyard on grafted rootstock.
By using a native American grapevine for the rootstock, our vines are naturally resistant to Phylloxera, an insect found worldwide that damages and kills wine grape vines. We try to keep everything in balance and prevent any one species from dominating. Second, we expect to have some crop losses. We just plant a little more so there is enough for all. We do have our vineyard surrounded with a deer fence to limit our risk of deer damage, but we also maintain undeveloped spaces where deer are free to roam. A final point is our business philosophy. As with our agriculture we believe in a sustainable business model. We need to charge more than we spend but we don’t need to sign up for the elusive target of maximizing profit or shareholder wealth. We strive to provide a high quality, high value product that we are proud to have produced and for which the price we charge is fair. What we lose in business profit, we make up in “lifestyle dividends”.
Walnut Ridge Vineyard is located in Oregon’s scenic Willamette Valley on a south west facing slope ranging in elevation from 450 to 750 feet with vistas of the Cascades, Coast Range and nearby vineyards. The predominate soil type of the vineyard is Bellpine, a moderately deep, silty clay loam with a distinctive reddish brown color. Its water holding capacity allows our deep rooted grape vines to survive our warm, dry summers without the need for irrigation.
Walnut Ridge Vineyard has 25 of its 80 acres under vine. The non vineyard portion of the property consists of forest land and pasture. The vineyard is planted in seven blocks with row orientations generally following the undulating slopes of the property. These row orientations are safer to farm and allow for closer, 7 foot row spacing which provides higher yields of quality fruit. Our vines are planted at 5 foot intervals along the row.
Our primary plantings are Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, Oregon’s most prevalent and well recognized grape varietals. We also have small areas of Gamay Noir, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay.
Winemakers frequently point out that wine is made in the vineyard and that it is their job to stay out of the way and let the wine and the grapes speak for themselves. We’re proud of the stories told by Walnut Ridge Vineyard grapes.
We began our search for the perfect Oregon vineyard property in 1997 after a visit to the Willamette Valley. The search continued for almost 2 years, during which time we spent every spare weekend searching the back roads of the Willamette Valley. We started looking near Portland but soon our explorations took us further South in the Willamette Valley. We weren’t focused on and even resisted locations with high traffic and intense development. We were in search of superb pinot noir country coupled with a slower paced environment. We found the perfect place for us in the coast foothills just west of Junction City, Oregon. It’s a relatively small area with a concentration of exceptional vineyards. The sites tend to be slightly warmer and their hillside locations help to protect them from damaging frosts.
We purchased the property in 2000 and we have been on a mission of learning, improving and developing since that time. We have expanded the acres devoted to grapes from approximately 10 to 25 acres. We consolidated the varieties in the originally planted acres by grafting the vines to varieties proven to be superior performers in Oregon. We acquired equipment, built buildings and battled non-native invasive species. We have honed our viticultural practices, have become LIVE certified and have developed our vineyard management skills. And we’ve developed excellent relationships with our many winery customers. It’s been a lot of work but it has also been very satisfying to see what we’ve been able to accomplish. We started with a dream and it now feels like we’re in heaven. We thank you for the opportunity to share this with you through our grapes and wines.
“Walnut Ridge has it all"
Walnut Ridge has it all. Beautiful pastoral country views, a cozy tasting room, and wine that delivers on it's promise. It keeps things simple with two flight options, along with a la cart tastings, and a small, but changing food menu. The food pairings are obviously well thought out to compliment the wine. The tasting room is heaven for the true wine aficionados; but the owners are so down to earth, and happy to offer an introduction to what their wine is all about if you're new to the tasting routine. I recommend buying a bottle of wine, sitting on the patio and drinking in the experience of what a first class wine tasting room should be.
Review by Tirzah N. on Yelp
“This place is amazing!!"
This place is amazing!! When you drive up your taken back by the view and how the tasting room and landscaping is so welcoming. Then you go inside. Beautiful! The owner is very involved and makes sure his customers are taken care of. A must to see/visit and dine time. Next visit, we will indulge in the menu options!
Review by Marilee A. on Yelp
“The patio is one of the best"
Brand new tasting room that is quaint and cheery. The wine is decadent with many options to choose from. The patio is one of the best with sweeping views of wine country. Don't forget to try the best deviled eggs ever with homemade bacon jam!
Review by Sean L. on Yelp
“ We LOVE you Walnut Ridge!”
Celebrated my father's 81st Birthday on the patio and were surprised with my niece getting proposed to. AWESOME day!!! Congrats to the happy couple. We LOVE you Walnut Ridge!
Review by Alison Kagi on Facebook.
“Deviled eggs are worth driving there for”
Great wine and atmosphere...deviled eggs are worth driving there for. Can't wait for some warmer sunshine to hang out on the patio!
Review by Mona Ayers on Facebook.
“Easily my favorite winery in this area”
The owners are super warm and welcoming, and the wine is superb! The setting is also very intimate and picturesque. Easily my favorite winery in this area.
Review by Micah M Clinger on Facebook.
“Tremendous wines and wonderful hosts”
“Jim and Wendy go out of their way to be involved in your day, from telling you about the wines to ensuring you are satisfied. And you will be! There are no bad wines here, only better ones. Great appetizers but no actual meals. Wonderful tasting room and patio.”
Review by CycleTaylor on TripAdvisor
“An Excellent Winery”
Celebrating our 30th Anniversary in Oregon and can't help but stop at wineries off the beaten path. The architecture and inside decor are inviting. We had the honor of having Jim, the owner, share time and his wines with us. The atmosphere, the welcoming hosts and the excellent Pinot Noirs will bring us back the next time we are near the Willamette Valley. Thank you for the enjoyable time.
Review by Guest from Reno, Nevada on TripAdvisor