Threemile Vineyards completed its inaugural harvest this past September, delivering over 18 tons of fruit to six premier wineries: Grochau Cellars, Ovum, Evening Land, Bergstrom, and Left Coast Cellars of the Willamette Valley and Buona Notte of the Columbia River Gorge.

A near perfect growing season, coupled with the young age of the vineyard, led to an earlier harvest than expected. The warm days, cool nights, and minimal precipitation allowed for more than 2850 growing degree days at the beginning of harvest. Blocks of Albariño, located on the vineyard’s steep, north-facing slope, were the first to ripen, followed by Merlot, Roussane, Sangiovese, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, and Tempranillo.

Crews began harvesting in the early hours of September 3, 2021, while the air was still crisp and cool and the sun’s first rays teased the beginning of a clear day – ideal conditions for picking grapes. It was a profound moment for owner, David Brown, “Today marks a pinnacle moment for not just myself, but the entire vineyard development team. Three years of vineyard design, development, labor, and endless excitement has transformed these magnificent hills into nearly 85 acres of planted grape vines that we cultivate organically and sustainably.”

Threemile Vineyards viticulturalist, Joe Cushman, describes the 2021 growing season as a “very early and condensed year. We expect most years to include more time between the development of different blocks and cultivars, but this year it seemed everything ripened at the same time.” The compacted harvest, while exhaustive, did provide a desirable average diurnal shift of 25.3 degrees per day from fruit set, which allowed the fruit to retain its acidity and cultivar characteristics during ripening.

Joe Cushman, along with general manager, Edwin Martinis, personally delivered the first day’s harvest to Evening Land Vineyards in Salem and Grochau Cellars in Amity. Arriving at Grochau Cellars, Joe shares a moment of excitement and gratitude as, “Edwin and I were surprised with a bottle of sparkling wine and a saber. I had the pleasure of sabering the bottle, in celebration of this historic moment.” The fruit was then loaded into the press while the two watched and collected their now empty bins for the return trip to The Dalles, and the next day’s harvest.