West Coast Wednesdays: A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery

This second week in our West Coast Wednesday series takes us to A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery in Cornelius, Oregon.  Learn about the story behind the wines, the winery and vineyard and their amazing Pinot Noir!

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The Story.

It’s been said that wine has the power to bring people together– strangers become best friends, and best friends become family.  We couldn’t agree more with this sentiment and we’ve got a feeling that Holly and Jim Witte of A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery feel the same way!

Holly and Jim have known each other for over 40 years (they met when Holly was working as a secretary for Jim in New York while he was working in the television production business).  In 2006, after experiencing twists and turns in their lives’ paths, Holly and Jim both found themselves in the Pacific Northwest just 200 miles apart.  Although there were differences–Jim a farm boy (viticulture is the best kind of farming there is!), and Holly a city girl– there was an immediate connection when the two parties rekindled their friendship in Oregon over lunch.  Although Jim seemed a bit geographically undesirable at the time, he persisted, and suddenly the two were in love, tying the knot standing in a beautiful teahouse (that Jim built) in Willamette Valley, Oregon.

Fast forward to present day where Holly and Jim own and operate A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery in the Willamette Valley; a place known for its unbelievable scenery and award winning Pinot Noir.

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The Vineyard.

The vineyards at A Blooming Hill sit on a southeast-facing slope of the Chehalem Mountains.  Each vine is nestled in the rich, volcanic soil that produces grapes filled with the rich tastes of the earth.  Vines are coaxed into a Henry trellis (double trellis) where they are tended to by the hands of winemaker, Jim.  Through this technique vines are able to draw maximum sunshine designed to produce full, compact clusters– in Jim’s words “turning sunshine into wine.”  Within this unique location of the valley, the 480-foot elevation of the vineyard is protected by higher hills on three sides from any coastal storms or harsh weather changes.  Grapes are warmed by the sun during the day, producing the sugars and flavors into the peak of the afternoon, and then cooled by the evening ocean breezes that fan down the Columbia River into the northern Willamette Valley.  Four varietals are grown on property including Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

The Tasting Room.

Located on the northern side of the Willamette Valley, the tasting room at A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery is home to an unbelievable view of Mt. Hood, surrounded by gorgeous plantings of azalea bushes and a pack of adorable winery dogs (and many other animals!).  The tasting room is open Friday-Sunday, or during the week by appointment only.  Although we have not visited, it is certainly on our list to see– after all, what more do you need in an afternoon?  An impeccable view of the natural beauty of Mt. Hood surrounded by the elements of nature, a cool ocean breeze, a delicious glass of wine and friendly company.  Sounds just about perfect.

*To see more on Holly and Jim, the vineyard and the tasting room, check out this great video!

The Wines.

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A beautiful vineyard that is connected to natural elements can only create fantastic wines.  Based on our experience, A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery has done exactly this.  The winery grows four varietals on property lending to seven different wines each with a certain smoothness and texture–once referred to as Jim’s handwriting in each wine– but perfectly defined by the Wittes as simply, “A Blooming Hill wine.”

The wines produced and currently being tasted at A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery include:

  • 2014 “Mingle”: a signature blend of Pinot Gris, Riesling and Chardonnay– refreshing and crisp.  The blend is consistently 50% Pinot Gris and differs each year with the percentages of Riesling and Chardonnay ($19).
  • 2014 Chardonnay: Pink grapefruit tastes with good body and a lovely nose.  Fermented in stainless steel for a crisp, yet smooth finish ($20).
  • 2014 Riesling: A semi-sweet riesling with a nice, sweet start and a drier finish.  Nice and silky on the palate with tastes of lemon meringue pie complete with a raspberry finish ($19).
  • 2014 Pinot Gris: Honey and Meyer Lemons infuse this wine ($17).
  • 2014 Rosey, Pinot Noir Blush: This lovely, fruity wine with it’s watermelon color and taste will practically melt in your mouth ($16).
  • Pinot Noir(s):  The winery has several vintages of Pinot Noir on hand.  A Blooming Hill Vineyard was kind enough to supply us with a sample of their award winning 2013 Pinot Noir, a Gold Medal in the Oregon Wine Awards ($28). 
    • 2013 Pinot Noir from the perspective of Holly Witte: “2013 was a hot, dry summer – until the very end just when harvest was beginning and the rains came.  We managed to harvest most of the Pinot Noir at their peak of ripeness before the rains and the resulting wine is full of dark and juicy bing cherry flavor in the front and mid-palate.  And then, a nice finish to this elegant wine.”
      • Winos notes:  This well-balanced and smooth Pinot painted the perfect picture of A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery for us. We had an immediate sense that the wine embodies the passion of Jim’s love and appreciation for the natural elements of the land– the earthy tones are well-presented, and the wine is dark and rich, expressing a pop of cherry flavor through the palate.
      • Where would you want to drink it?  Ideally, we’d want to drink this on a crisp fall evening, wrapped up in a cozy blanket, enjoying the cool breeze and the beautiful view of Mt. Hood from A Blooming Hill Vineyard & Winery.  Sounds pretty perfect, right?
      • Recommended food pairing:  Toasted marshmallow.  All the way.

Although we haven’t experienced all of A Blooming Hill’s wines, we’re absolutely sure that the love and passion of the Wittes carries through to each bottle of wine that is produced.  If you’re interested in trying some of these amazing wines for yourself, especially that 2013 Pinot Noir, check out where A Blooming Hill ships or join their wine club!

Cheers!

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. I have read and heard so many wonderful things about Oregon wines but alas I have not tried a lot of them. Thanks for sharing such a great insight in Blooming hill, stunning bottles, I’ll try to find them in London 🙂 Cheers!

    Like

    1. Holly witte says:

      Wish we could ship to London! We’ll let you know the next time we have friends traveling…might be in October.

      Like

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