In Oregon, you have to adapt and let the environment sculpt the wines, rather than enforcing established dogma or systems upon it. “I never thought I would pick on emotion before arriving here,” Winemaker Shane Moore acknowledges.
But the Willamette Valley is not an environment for safe or clinical winemaking. “There are too many crazy shifts from year to year—one year you might be picking grapes in late August, and the next on Halloween. So we listen to the vineyard, and we adapt.”
Viewed from above, the Zena Crown vineyard is a fairly uniform, harmonious site. It faces southwest, its surface strewn with volcanic-derived soils. Although adjacent to the oldest vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, it is a dynamic place: the vineyard’s 48 blocks each have their own twists of aspect, depths and colors of soil, and grade changes. Elevation increases from 300 feet at the base of the slope to 650 feet at the vineyard’s high point, the crown of conifers. And despite emphasis on a single variety—Pinot Noir—a rich diversity of clones (Dijon and Pommard selections, Wädenswil 2A, Mt. Eden, and Archery Summit clone 2) populates the vineyard, grafted onto an assortment of suitable rootstocks. Zena Crown is not a simple story of single-clone Pinot Noir, it is a chorus—we recognize the indivisible complexity inherent to this site, to the relationship between scion and grafted vine, and to these wines. Terroir at Zena Crown is a convergence, not a study in isolation.