MARJORIE VINEYARD

When founders Paul and Eileen Gerrie purchased the property in 1992, there was an existing vineyard here with tremendous potential planted to three clones of own-rooted Pinot Noir in 1982 by members of the Mirrasou family. Paul changed the name to honor his mother, Marjorie Gerrie, and began rebuilding the vineyard site. The 1994 Marjorie Vineyard was the first Cristom Vineyards single vineyard wine released helping to establish our focus on crafting estate wines that represent the individuality of place.

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Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir was distributed to cities around the country and across the globe very early on helping to build our reputation as a brand in some of the best restaurants in the world.

The vineyard sits in the center of the Cristom Estate with a gentle slope from 480 feet to 600 feet over some of the most consistent volcanic soils on the entire Estate.  A little bit unique to itself, most of the Vineyard is planted over a moderately deep volcanic soil with some very rocky areas in the north and southeast corners.  The vineyard wants to produce elegant wines of finesse with bright red fruit and succulent acidity.

Marjorie being in the middle of our hill and directly north of Jessie Vineyard is cooled by the Pacific Ocean breezes coming from the west but is slightly moderated by Eileen Vineyard just to the west and above Marjorie’s vines.  There is a balance here that is proven in its elegance in the glass when one can marvel at the deep red fruits and floral characteristics driven from the deep soils.

The vineyard is in transition as we have been battling phylloxera for nearly two decades and have been re-planting the vineyard since 2004. The 2012 Marjorie Vineyard was the last vintage made entirely from the own-rooted old vine plantings, and the old vines made up only 25% of the blend of the 2016 single vineyard. So a site that was once perhaps our jewel has become a much smaller part of our story and yet has the opportunity to come back once again. It is in theory a near perfect site, planted roughly 550 feet over deep volcanic soils on a due east facing site in the Eola Hills at the 45th parallel, moderated perfectly by the cooling breezes of the Pacific Ocean, high diurnal temperature variation, producing extremely small clusters and berries leading to fruit and acid driven Pinot Noirs with power and finesse. On paper, it has a world class CV and in the glass the wines have blown us away at times.

Marjorie is distinctive at Cristom its lower density plantings (605 vines/acre; 1,495 vines/hectare) than our four other estate vineyards.  Marjorie Vineyard is 8.42 acres (3.4 ha) of vines planted in the heart of the hillside between the lower slopes of Louise Vineyard and Eileen Vineyard at the top of the hill.  The vineyard has a gentle slope from 495 feet to 620 feet (151 m to 189 m), planted in moderately deep Columbia River Basalt soil called Yamhill with a small section of the vineyard planted over shallow Witzel on the north end and very deep Saum on the southern edge.  The 15.5 million year old silty clay loam soils drain well and allow the roots of the vines to drive deep into the ground. 

Marjorie is planted 6 feet between vines and 12 feet between rows, homage to the by-gone era of farming vines with a wide orchard tractor.  Marjorie’s rows run from north to south on the gently sloping east-facing hillside, vines are vertically shoot positioned and cane pruned, and this vineyard is one of the few places on the farm that is double-guyot trained along the fruiting wire. After rigorous cluster thinning to ensure low yields and maximize flavor concentration and complexity, Marjorie’s vines are left with 18-22 clusters per vine that each weigh 70 – 80 grams/cluster, depending on the vintage – a testament to the fact that this vineyard produces very small, highly concentrated clusters, and exceptionally dramatic wines.

At A Glance:

Acres: 8.42 (3.41 hectares) 

Elevation: 495 feet to 620 feet (151 m to 189 m) 

Soils: Columbia River Basalts, including: Yamhill, Saum and Witzel 

Aspect: east; southeast 

Established: 1982; replanted beginning 2004 

Vine Density: 605 vines/acre (1,495 vines/hectare) 

Varietals: Pinot Noir 

Clones: Pommard, Wädenswil and Dijon clones 114, 115, 777 

First Vintage: 1994 

“Cristom’s Pinot Noirs have a purity of fruit, precision, balance, complexity, and elegance that put them in a class by themselves.”

 – Karen MacNeil, author of The Wine Bible

Current Releases From Marjorie Vineyard

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Eileen Vineyard
Jessie Vineyard
Louise Vineyard
Marjorie Vineyard
Paul Gerrie Vineyard
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