We believe great wines begin in the vineyard.
Wine grapes, especially Pinot noir, are influenced by where they are grown. The regional climate determines the characteristics of the growing season: the amount of heat, sun, and wind. The Willamette Valley has enough sun and heat to ripen Pinot noir but not much more. The grapes ripen late in the fall, allowing maximum flavor development while maintaining their acidity. We are blessed; there are very few places in the world where this occurs.
All of the Willamette Valley is affected by winds blowing from the Pacific Ocean through the Van Duzer Corridor eastward. The winds begin blowing in the late afternoon acting to cool the vines. These winds shorten the growing day, cool the clusters, and help the vines retain acidity. The stronger the wind’s effect, the darker the fruit profile and the more spice in the wine.
St. Innocent produces wines from grapes grown in the northern Willamette Valley, from the edge of Portland to just south of Salem. We work with seven different vineyards, including our own estate. Within these vineyards there are significant variations in soil type, soil depth, elevation, mesoclimate, and exposure. These differences are at the heart of what we think of as each site's terroir, the French term that encompasses a sense of the place the grapes come from. In a very real sense, our relationship with these growers and the vineyards they farm define the wines we produce.
Farming techniques that respect the earth enhance the ability of the land to reveal its unique flavors and textures. This is the first step in producing wines that reflect their terroir. We obtain fruit from vineyards certified in various methods of sustainable farming: LIVE, Organic, and Biodynamic. Work in the vineyard focuses on achieving balance in the vines and allowing the plants to produce the best fruit possible, even under difficult conditions. Maintaining a close working relationship with our growers allows collaborative fine-tuning of viticultural techniques to produce the best possible fruit.
Zenith, our estate vineyard, is centrally located in the Eola-Amity Hill AVA eleven miles northwest of Salem, Oregon. Learn More »
Temperance Hill Vineyard is located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA. Situated at 860' atop the hillside, this is our coolest vineyard making it the last to ripen. Learn More »
Shea Vineyard is located in the Yamhill foothills of the Yamhill-Carlton District AVA, 35 miles southwest of Portland. One of Oregon's most famous sites. St. Innocent Winery has produced Shea Vineyard since 1998. Learn More »
Momtazi Vineyard is in the McMinnville AVA, located high above a warm valley that lies between the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor and the Eola-Amity Hills. Learn More »
Vitae Springs Vineyard, established in 1986, is located in the rolling hills five miles south of Salem. Learn More »
Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, 10 miles southwest of Salem. Learn More »
Justice Vineyard is located just over the east ridge of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA slightly south of Bethel Heights Vineyard. Learn More »