Importantly, our first investment was the vineyard. Given the financial commitment and time it takes to properly mature a vineyard, it is not common practice in the Northwest today to invest in an estate vineyard. However, this is fundamental to controlling wine quality. We invested further in the vineyard’s infrastructure and management in an effort to control all facets of quality throughout the winemaking process. With a passion for making expressive wines that bring joy to the palate, we are keen to fully realize the potential for growing the highest quality wine grapes and birthing wines true to their place of origin.
Established in 2007, SJR Vineyard is situated in The Rocks District on 13 acres within the Walla Walla Valley. We are committed to making single-vineyard, estate-controlled wines utilizing sustainable farming practices. We are obsessive about exploiting balanced soil conditions and native weather patterns to make wines that fully express their terroir and vintage. Our viticultural discipline is strong and addresses each block and variety independently – assessing appropriate training form, trellis structure, pruning rigor, nutrient and irrigation strategy. We know that the eventual capacity of the whole vine (and the resulting wine quality) is based on very careful attention to these details.
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Farming will always be the keystone for Delmas. We believe that world-class wine is derived from estate vineyards—meticulously cultivated and sustainably farmed. For us, this is a family journey. From the start we’ve focused on involvement within the larger wine community, upping our game with every growing season and celebrating the work of our peers.
We believe that terroir is a partnership between the winegrower and place. We embrace the advantage of SJR's own-rooted vines, which are more sensitive/expressive of the terroir. Delmas produces small lots of estate wines from a single vineyard; showcasing distinctive qualities of that place and nowhere else.
We take full control of the entire process from growing the grapes to selling the wine. Yet, we take pleasure in knowing that there is always a random element; we never know precisely what Mother Nature may decide to express. This reality leads to vintage variation. We adapt to seasonal variation by focusing our efforts on the quality of the work necessary to achieve balance in the vineyard, and allowing the character of each vintage to stand tall.
And, in response to potential extreme winter cold that can result in bud damage, the cutting down of trunks and retraining required of spur positions, we created/established a new training form (a mini-head trained system, or, MHT) for Syrah and Grenache at SJR. The advantage of this architecture allows for permanent spur positions.
Finally, we have employed a management strategy that, at its core, relies on boots-in-the-rows and viticultural practices that achieve a balanced and respectful expression of SJR Vineyard.
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The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
The Rocks District is the only AVA in the U.S. whose boundaries (96%) are dictated by a single soil series (Freewater Series) and a single land form (alluvial fan).
Final TTB approval of this 5.9 square mile (3767 acre) AVA within Walla Walla Valley was granted in 2015.
SJR Vineyard sits on the western border of this Oregon AVA. The Rocks District is receiving international recognition for its wines, particularly Syrah. There is no denying the distinctive character of these wines. The Rocks District advantages of water availability, excellent drainage and favorable climate provide the basis for global distinction. Rocks District winegrapes from small, meticulously farmed, vineyard parcels have made their presence felt across the globe over the last couple of decades.
Importantly, diversity prevails within The Rocks District, and provides a framework for charting future vineyard development—where hands-on work, close proximity to the land and a discernable independent spirit represent a unique winegrowing culture opportunity.
SJR Vineyard is internationally certified for sustainable farming practices and as a Salmon Safe vineyard by the International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC) through its U.S.-based affiliate, LIVE, which is based in Oregon. The IOBC promotes environmentally safe methods of biological control and integrated pest management.
What Winemakers Say
SJR Vineyard currently supplies fruit to Rasa Vineyards, The Walls, and Force Majeure.
Todd Alexander at Force Majeure (forcemajeurevineyards.com)
"I have been a firsthand witness to the care, attention and hard work that Steve, Brooke and Mary Robertson have put into SJR Vineyard and Delmas. SJR Vineyard is a beautiful site with so much potential that is only just beginning to be expressed. We are very excited to be part of what they’re doing, and to craft another unique expression from this special place that has so much to offer.”
Billo Naravane at Rasa Vineyards (rasavineyards.com)
"SJR Vineyard produces Syrah with an amazing sense of terroir; there is a haunting earthiness and minerality that is present in all of the wines from this vineyard. The resulting wines have that rare combination of elegance, finesse, and power without heaviness. SJR Vineyard is a site that truly has something spectacular to say."