The Strong Land.
North Dakota natives Grace & Marion Miller came to Oregon in 1938. They purchased the property that was to become the estate vineyard in 1971. Recognizing the potential of the south facing slope coupled with soils of the Helvetia series, their son Larry set about planting various clones of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Gris. Pronounced as “stang-land,” Stangeland Vineyard was named for Larry’s maternal grandparents who emigrated from Norway in 1905. When the vineyard was first planted in 1978, there were only about 25 acres of grapes in the area, which has now grown to well over 3,000 acres.
Literally translated, Stangeland means “strong land” which seemed appropriate for the rocky basalt base of the vineyard site. In 1991, Stangeland Winery was established, and the first vintages of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris were made; a whopping 140 cases total. During every year of its production, Stangeland has crafted very small lots of wine to include estate and single vineyard Pinot Noirs that showcase the terroir of the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
Today, estate wines focus on only 4 acres of the property to include Pinot Noir clones 115 and 777, Pommard and the Swiss clone Wädenswil, as well as the Draper selection Chardonnay and clone 53 Pinot Gris from Colmar, France. The combination of the rocky basalt soil and the Van Duzer Corridor's windy influence allow for a distinct expression of terroir. It is located on the eastern end of the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. The property is dry farmed organically without tillage.
Sustainability is important at Stangeland, where a line of grapevines is used naturally to combat soil erosion along the property’s edge. Additionally, practicing a dry-farmed, no-till approach to the land stewardship has continuously been reflected in the estate's wines. The emphasis has been on rebuilding, restoring and supporting the organic matter that composes healthy soils in order to express wines of place.
The family business is still owned and operated by Larry Miller and his wife Ruth who remain involved in the everyday operations of the vineyard and winery. Stop by any time and you may catch Larry out in the vineyard with the crew or alongside his wife and dog, Bobi, enjoying a glass of wine and the view from the tasting room.
Robert Lauer joined Stangeland Estate in order to oversee the vineyard operations and eventually undertook winemaking duties as well. Robert studied Enology & Viticulture at University of California, Davis. He has made wine in New Zealand, California, and Michigan before landing in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Most recently he was the Winegrowers Assistant at Rose & Arrow Estates. At the core of his philosophy is the belief that the work in the vineyard is crucial to ensuring bright and elegant fruit is brought to the winery to make layered wines with aging potential.
Bobi knows the vineyard like the back of his paw! Speaking of which, watch for his little paws when you pull in. He's known to spend his days inspecting the grounds and greeting tasting room guests!