First planted in 1981, Temperance Hill
is a 100-acre vineyard that sits between 660 and 860 feet. The combination of the high elevation and the vineyard's location at the mouth of the Van Duzer Corridor (a break in the Coast Range which acts as a funnel for cool marine air -- as Dai said, "you could paint a bullseye on Temperance for the Van Duzer winds") means that harvest is always later, which means grapes have longer "hang time," even in warm vintages, and retain freshness.
Vineyard guru Dai Crisp
(pictured at right)
began farming Temperance Hill in 1999 in accordance
with organic standards; in 2013, the vineyard was certified organic. Even after nearly 20 years, Dai says he's still
discovering the distinctiveness of individual blocks within Temperance. Of the Temperance Hill wines for his own label, Lumos
, Dai noted, "one of the things we're discovering is the power in the fruit. We have to be very careful and gentle in the winery to preserve the focus and elegance."
"We sell fruit to 24 different producers -- it's amazing to see what all those talented people do with it," remarked Dai. Here's what those talented people -- some of Oregon's top winemakers -- think of Temperance Hill:
Erica Landon and Ken Pahlow, Walter Scott: "Temperance Hill is pure Eola-Amity Hills to its core with wind swept vineyards digging into fractured basalt. In addition, we sincerely believe that people contribute their energy into the land they farm and this impacts the terroir. Dai Crisp is not just an excellent farmer, but an amazing soul. His thoughtful guidance has elevated Temperance Hill to one of the best sites in the valley. For us, it is true honor to work with him and that fruit."
Erin Nuccio, Evesham Wood: "What a distinct sight Temperance Hill is. That 'Temperance note' -- green tobacco, cedar, freshly-sawn wood is always present, from the fermenter to 20 year-old bottlings, it's always there.
Matt Berson, Love & Squalor: We share a block of THV with some amazing wineries. It's a thrill to be in the middle of a Bergstrom/Walter Scott sandwich!"
Vincent Fritzsche, Vincent: "I honestly was drawn to the vineyard because the modern legends work(ed) with it. I wanted a chance, too, and with the old vines, if possible. So flat block, 1983 plantings, never considered a great part of the vineyard but I'll fight people if they say it to my face."
Josh Bergstrom, Bergstrom: "Temperance Hill is Bergstrom's only purchased source of Chardonnay. Being the last that we harvest each season and the highest in elevation, the Temperance Hill Chardonnay brings a bright, fresh, reductive, acid driven citrus tinged mineral Chardonnay that is so different and unique from our other estate plantings that we decided to create the "Old Stones" to show it off."
Jesse Lange, Lange: "The profile DNA of Temperance Hill is unlike any other l've come to know in the Willamette Valley -- it may very well be the most unique site in all of Oregon -- showing incredible typically even through the lens of different winemakers. Tightly wound rhubarb, cherries and chicory combine for a distinctive experience -- all carried by a strong acid frame -- even in warm seasons."
Kate Norris, Division: "I am constantly in awe of the beautiful thread Temperance Hill weaves though wine. No matter the winemaker working with the fruit there is always a note that ties the wines together -- a sense of resonance and distinct place linked directly to this special vineyard. It's compelling complexity, power and elegance is uniquely Oregonian and deliciously American."
We'd love to talk to you about Temperance Hill and about any of the individual wines in the case.
Marcus and Andy