Whistling Ridge Vineyards is located on two sites near Newberg, Oregon, in Yamhill County. Our dream of starting a vineyard became reality in 1988 with the purchase of 20 acres, much of which was prime vineyard land in the Ribbon Ridge American Viticulture Area (AVA). We cleared approximately 10 acres of mostly walnut and fir trees to make way for planting grape vines.
In 1999 we purchased an additional 30 acres one mile north, also in Ribbon Ridge. We eventually plan to plant around 10 more acres of vines on our north site. Our vines thrive on Willakenzie silty clay loam, running north to south, in an altitude of 450 feet. We use the Double Guyot training system with spacing of 5 by 7 feet. Our vines’ overall vigor is moderate with no irrigation.
In 1989 we planted a block of the Chardonnay 108 clone, and then in 1990 we planted the first block of Pinot Noir plants, a variety of Wadenswil and Pommard clones. We replanted the original 1989 Chardonnay with 96 and 76 Dijon clones and Pinot Noir 667, 777, and 115. We have continued to expand the original site, and in the spring of 2000 we began to plant Pinot Noir at the north site.
We now have more than 15 acres of vines including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, and Riesling. For experimentation and fun, we maintain in small quantities Muscat, Schonburger, Gewürztraminer, and Pinot Blanc.
Our first harvest was in 1992, when we sourced our Chardonnay grapes to Cristom Vineyards. We also sourced our grapes to Belle Pente, and Ponzi Vineyards. In 1994 our Pinot Noir produced by Ken Wright Cellars received a 90 plus rating from the Wine Spectator magazine.
The first and second generations of the family operate the vineyards, the winery, and the tasting room located at Whistling Ridge North. We feel our sites and winery are best suited as a boutique facility with beautiful grounds and views of the Chehalem Valley and Bald Peak.
The inspiration for our label came to us after visiting northern Italy and seeing the Comedia del arte masks. Because our name was Whistling Ridge, we found the mask for the Wind, il vento, ideal for our label, which had its debut in 2000 with our chardonnay.
Winemaker Peter Rosback made the first Pinot Noir wines under our label from 2002 through 2005; our current winemaker, beginning with the 2006 vintage, is Marcus Goodfellow. The website Northwest-Wine.com writes many good things about our winemaker and our Whistling Ridge fruit. In one statement from the websites, “We agree with Marcus’ stated philosophy in winemaking: ‘let it be.'”
They go on to say that he allows the natural beauty of the fruit to take center stage. Marcus builds a perfectly balanced wine around the natural evolution of the wine, without manipulation; he uses little new oak. The oak he does use is for aging to add texture rather than flavor, allowing the fruit flavor to predominate. His winemaking process results in wines that allow the terroir to shine through. He takes a risk to produce unique and memorable wines.
Under our own label, we specialize in Pinot Noir, but also produce a delicious Pinot Gris. All of our bottlings are estate wines with the unique Ribbon Ridge character. We plan to keep our style as a boutique winery with current production under 1000 cases.