Drouhin doubles size in Oregon2nd January, 2014 by Gabriel Savage
The Drouhin family has expanded its Oregon holdings with the acquisition of Roserock, a 279-acre property in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
The new estate is located 25 miles south of the Burgundian family’s original 225-acre property in the Dundee Hills, which was bought by Robert Drouhin in the late 1980s.
Roserock currently features 111 acres of Pinot Noir and 11 acres of Chardonnay, although there is scope to plant a further 80 acres. The existing vineyards were planted from 2003 onwards, with the fruit being sold to other wineries.
Announcing the news, Veronique Drouhin-Boss, winemaker at Domaine Drouhin, said: “When you father, Robert, bought land in Oregon in 1987 we were excited to discover what was possible. We have the same feeling today: the potential in Roserock in incredible.”
This belief was echoed by Philippe Drouhin, who manages the Drouhin family’s viticulture in both Burgundy and Oregon. “Roserock is a superb site,” he confirmed, “and I was impressed by the balance of the vineyards. Our approach always starts with this foundation. We have long thought highly of the Eola-Amity Hills, so it feels right to have ownership in this part of the Willamette Valley.”
Drouhin is not the only high profile producer to invest in this southern end of the Willamette Valley. 2013 saw Jackson Family Wines buy a total of four estates here, of which one was in the Eola-Amily Hills.
Last year also saw Burgundy’s Maison Louis Jadot choose Oregon for its first foreign vineyard expansion with the purchase of eight hectares in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Winemaking here will be overseen by Jadot’s former winemaker Jacques Lardière, who officially retired in 2012 after 42 years with the Beaune-based producer.
The move by both Jadot and Drouhin reflects the difficulty and expense of acquiring high quality vineyards in Burgundy. Other producers have addressed the problem by expanding elsewhere in France, such as Beaujolais, the Ardèche and the Var for Louis Latour, or the Jura in the case of Marquis D’Angerville.
Acknowledging this same factor behind his family’s Oregon expansion, Frédéric Drouhin, president of Joseph Drouhin, commented: “We will continue to invest in Burgundy, but of course, it is getting difficult to buy something of Roserock’s size in Burgundy, and we think it will be harder to do so in Oregon soon.”