Tiger Vines 2018 Pinot Noir

If you drive down into wine country through the small town of Yamhill, you’ll probably see Yamhill-Carlton High School. As with any small town, the high school is the heart of this rural, farming community. But look closely and you’ll spot a Pinot Noir vineyard planted on the school’s property.

Named the Tiger Vines Vineyard after the school’s mascot, this is Oregon’s first high school vineyard. Famed Oregon winemaker Ken Wright, whose 2 daughters went to the high school, got inspired in the mid-2000s to do something to help students find jobs in the local community at wineries and vineyards.

With help from the Yamhill-Carlton Winegrowers Association, they convinced the school board to take up the idea of planting a vineyard on school grounds. In the spring of 2013, a group of students and volunteers planted 22 rows of Pinot Noir vines. Wright is the Tiger Vines winemaker, with all proceeds donated to the school.

The students learn viticulture — soil analysis to grapevine pruning — and they earn college credit for their work. The students also create the website, design the labels, and help sell the wine to local restaurants and stores. Students have gone on to study soil science and even work in local tasting rooms.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Tiger Vines Vineyard, Yamhill, Oregon
2018 Pinot Noir

We are so thrilled to be able to share this special project and this excellent wine with our club members. Ken Wright’s wines are well known throughout the world and rarely found at this price point. Excellent wine for a great cause – a win-win for everyone!

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA is bordered to the west by the Coast Range which creates a rain “shadow” over the entire area. With additional protection by the Chehalem Mountains and the Dundee Hills, the ancient marine soils drain quickly, making them ideal for growing grapes. The vines in this area stop growing shoots and leaves earlier here leading to longer ripening times even in cooler years.

The unique climate of the area allows Pinot Noir to develop deep ruby colors and silky tannins. You’ll get powerful aromas of raspberry, blackberry, and black cherry. On the palate, you’ll taste pipe tobacco, coffee, clove, and dark chocolate with hints of rose, violet, and lavender.

A Cellar 503 special edition, January 2022
Willamette Valley | Pinot Noir