They have a strong commitment to organic and sustainable farming. Josh has worked several vintages in Burgundy and is influenced by some of the organic winemakers there. He told a story of when he first started out as a vineyard owner, he once used some common, industry-standard chemical treatments on the vines during a difficult vintage, and he hated how the vines suffered, and how the insect and bird life in the vineyard ceased. "A chemical-filled vineyard is a quiet vineyard." The experience hit home, and he has never done it since.
Instead, he focuses on composting all of the grape skins and cuttings and planting cover crops. Healthy vines and soils are stronger than chemically farmed vines, and he has found that by raising healthy, organic vines, they have a natural resilience in difficult years.
The Cumberland Reserve (pictured on the left) is Josh's pinot noir blend. It's a mix of 5 vineyards in different appelations. As such, he considers it a "true Oregon wine." The Cumberland Reserve is his top cuvée, his first priority. He makes this blend first, and then bottles the remaining single vineyards.
Josh suspects that climate change seriously affects Willamette. It doesn't make the region hotter, per se, but "it makes the weather freakier, which results in some unusually hot years."
2001- a good but not classic vintage, drinkable early
2002- dense, dark structure to the wines from this year- a great year
2003- heat wave. when this heat came, "they hadn't seen hot temperatures like that since 1983."
2004- a good but not classic vintage, drinkable early
2005- dense, dark structure- a very nice vintage
2006- another hot year, but after '03, "people were more prepared for it"
2007- a good but not classic vintage, drinkable early
2008- one of the best vintages in Oregon's winemaking history (on par with '02)
2009- This was a "true heat wave vintage," when the temperature hit 108F, people rushed out to pick their grapes before they "shriveled to amarone."
2010- incredibly low yields due to bird damage. The grains in the region were harvested early, so when the birds came they ate all of the grapes. aromatics & juicy acidity- this will do well in the bottle
2011- dense & dark structure- good wines came from this year despite a cool,wet growing season and late harvest
Read his more detailed thoughts about the vintages here.
Bergstrom "Sigrid" chardonnay, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
In 2010, birds ate 70% of their chardonnay, and Bergstrom ended up with just 19 barrels of this. This spends 12 months aging in barrels. "Sigrid" is Josh's grandfather.
Bergstrom "Cumberland Reserve" pinot noir, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
This is a blend of 5 different appellations and this definitely shows in its complexity.
complex aroma and taste; cherries, green herbs, earth and meat
Bergstrom "Gregory Ranch Vineyard" pinot noir, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Gregory Ranch Vineyard is a 26 acre vineyard in the Yamhill Carlton area. It sits just behind Elk Cove winery and has marginal weather. This leads it to be a late-harvested site, and, so far, it produces wines that are floral and bright. The 2010 is the inaugural vintage, made from 4 yr vines.
rose petals and fresh cherries on the nose; black fruits, plum skin and zippy acid on the palate
Bergstrom "Shea Vineyard" pinot noir, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Bergstrom is the largest producer of the Shea vineyard. They hold a longterm contract with the owners for 14 acres made up of 5 plots from lower elevation to higher elevation. Josh likes this site "for its sheer power."
earth, meat, and oregano on the nose, spicy lush fruits and soft tannins on the palate
Bergstrom "De Lancelotti Vineyard" pinot noir, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
This vineyard is a 21 acre site in the Chehalem Mountains with deep sandy soils that sit over a 15 million year old ancient riverbed. This region is known for producing wines with spicy perfume. His sister owns this vineyard, and the animals onsite include cows, pigs and bees.
a rich and smokey, wet-earth aroma on the nose, very spicy on the palate
Bergstrom "Bergstrom Vineyard" pinot noir, 2010 (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
Planted in 1999, this is Josh's special vineyard. It's built on 7-10 million year old lava flows, and produces wines with an iron-like quality. This is a classic, high-quality, Oregon pinot.
cherry skins, iron, meat