Shortly after I arrived in Southern Oregon in 2003, I drove through the Applegate Valley and introduced myself to many of the local grape growers. It was the middle of winter, and while that time of year might not seem to be particularly revelatory when it comes to evaluating vineyard sites, it does tend to show what pathways water takes, which is critical to the health of the vineyard. On most sites, there were puddles and rivulets, but at Steelhead Run, the ground was dry, and I could observe smooth round stones mixed in with the sandy soil. From everything I knew or had read about grape growing, it seemed a promising site, and I logged that little bit of information away for later use.
Three years later I was starting Quady North and I was looking for Viognier and Syrah from special places that would be distinct from one another. I scored a ton each from Steelhead Run and thus started a relationship that would ultimately end up with me managing the vineyard and purchasing almost a third of the crop. It was Ron and Laura that took a chance on the site, planting varieties not previously grown in the area, and micro managing the site to match trellis, variety and irrigation to achieve a degree of balance. In my case, I was able to grow with the site. I learned a bit each year, adapting my winemaking style to try and match the direction the fruit wanted to go.
Achieving the Top 100 ranking from Wine Enthusiast for the Steelhead Run Viognier is particularly satisfying. If I look back, I feel that I might have had many opportunities to achieve such an honor, if only I had altered my choices slightly, whether through picking or winemaking. Each vintage seemed to have the potential for great things, but it took almost a decade of experience for me to learn how best to realize the potential of Steelhead Run Viognier.
- We have made single vineyard bottlings from Steelhead Run Vineyard in every year since we started the winery.
- 93 points is our highest score to date. We also received 93 points on another Steelhead Run Wine, the 2009 Flagship Syrah.
- The 2007 Steelhead Run Viognier was a favorite of the buyer at New Seasons, who approved it for the Portland grocery chain.
This appointment allowed us to gain our first distributor in Oregon.
- We are expanding our purchases from Steelhead Run, adding Marsanne, Grenache Noir and Roussanne.
President for Life