Something incredible took place today. For the first time, the U.S. hosted the week long International Terroir Congress (in Portland). Before heading home, 27 conferees from around the world came to visit us at SJR Vineyard! Dr. Kevin Pogue, a key-note speaker at the Congress, led this international group of geologists, viticulturists, enologists and soil scientists on a tour of distinctive grape growing terroirs here in Walla Walla Valley.
This highly educated group was made up of 11 countries outside of the United States; including Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, Brazil, Argentina, Slovenia, Japan, Australia, Denmark and Canada. We discussed what makes the ‘Rocks District’ so distinctive and the farming practices we utilize at SJR that support the requirements of Delmas. There was considerable discussion regarding vigor (given own-rooted plants and our terroir), the climate (extreme cold and heat), irrigation practices and the burial cane program. Excitement was palpable as several members expressed amazement that there was no governmental oversight on varieties and/or practices. Further amazement was expressed given our specific hands-on viticultural practices (we had just made our second cluster drop) and the relative value of our wine.
Billo was able to join us in the fun as well…tying the terroir into our wine making experience. (The group had enjoyed both the 2012 and 2013 vintages of Delmas Syrah over dinner the previous evening.) Several members mentioned how much they appreciated the elegance of those wines.
Finally, one of the guests from the University of La Rioja in Spain invited us to join them in 2018 when they host the Terroir Congress…hmmmmm, old world Syrah and Grenache…something to definitely consider!