Gran Moraine takes its name from cataclysmic floods that occurred in the northern Willamette Valley of Oregon during the last ice age. As the glaciers receded they released a torrent of water from the once giant Lake Missoula. These famous Missoula Floods traveled across the Columbia basin helping to carve out the Columbia Gorge.
The Willamette Valley became an extremely large temporary lake and was left with huge deposits of silt as well as giant boulders with origins in current British Columbia and Idaho. These are known by geologists as erratic rocks. These erratic rock outcroppings boldly manifest themselves throughout our vineyard. They were once part of the giant glacial dam’s moraine – what we refer to as the “Gran Moraine.”
A STAMP OF TERROIR
The Yamhill-Carlton AVA status was granted in 2004 to distinguish fruit grown in the oldest marine sedimentary-based soils in the greater Willamette Valley. These soils and the growing conditions create wine with a profile that is distinct from that of wine from the surrounding AVAs in several significant ways. More specifically, the Pinot Noirs lean to black fruit, minerality, and floral—rose and violet—elements.
The planting of Gran Moraine was completed in 2005 with several of the best recognized Dijon clones for Pinot Noir (667, 777, 115) and Chardonnay (76, 75, 95), which were grafted to both 3309 and riparia, two well-known rootstocks that reduce vigor and promote maturity and physiological ripeness in the climatic conditions that prevail in the Willamette Valley. The clones, block sizes, and row directions were matched to the many mesoclimates on the property to maximize the potential throughout.