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Evesham Wood and Haden Fig are owned and operated by Erin and Jordan Nuccio. The focus of Evesham Wood is Pinot Noir and Chardonnay produced from their 13-acre certified organic estate Le Puits Sec Vineyard and other quality vineyards in the Eola Hills near Salem. The distinctive character of their wine is achieved by the sourcing of non-irrigated, sustainably grown fruit, and a natural, non-interventionist approach in the cellar. The wines express elegance and restraint. Production is kept small.
In Pursuit of Pinot
The story of Evesham Wood starts in 1986 with Russ and Mary Raney who founded the winery and planted the estate vineyard Le Puits Sec (French for “the dry well” named for the first well they tried to drill that yielded no water). The search for a climate that would produce superior Pinot Noir in the U.S. moved Russ and Mary from St. Louis to Portland. After a few years of living in Portland, and working wine-related jobs (including some for Ponzi, Adams, and Adelsheim Wineries), Russ and Mary bought a home and vineyard just west of Salem, Oregon, in the Eola Hills. They named their winery "Evesham Wood" after the Vale of Evesham in the Cotswold Hills of England because the landscape at their vineyard is reminiscent of this English countryside. "Wood" refers to the small woods that frame the vineyard on one side. Evesham Wood is on the eastern side of the Eola-Amity Hills ridge. This area, known locally as Spring Valley has proven to be one of Oregon's best microclimates for the production of fine wines from Burgundian and Alsatian varieties.
In July 2010, Russ and Mary Raney sold Evesham Wood and Le Puits Sec to Erin and Jordan Nuccio of Haden Fig. After 24 years, the Raneys wanted to retire and spend more time at their home in France. Having worked at Evesham Wood since 2007, Erin Nuccio was the natural successor. Before Erin purchased Evesham Wood, he was making his own label at the winery called Haden Fig. Limited releases of this label continue. Since becoming the new owner, Erin has not deviated from the winemaking and vineyard management philosophies of Russ and Mary Raney.
Erin’s passion for wine grew from his passion for food. While awaiting the start of culinary school, he worked at a prominent wine shop in Washington DC. It was this job that changed his interest into a passion. He threw himself into the business, eventually becoming manager and buyer for a wine shop and an adjacent restaurant and wine bar. He and his wife Jordan moved to California where Erin studied winemaking and viticulture in Napa and Sonoma. This was an irreplaceable experience for him. During this time, he realized that to fulfill his dream of making the most interesting, balanced, and complex wine possible in the U.S., he needed to move to the Willamette Valley. Soon after the move, Erin met Russ and Mary Raney of Evesham Wood Winery and his suspicions about the potential for exceptional Pinot Noir were confirmed.
Le Puits Sec Vineyard
Farming of the 13-acre estate vineyard Le Puits Sec has been organic from the start, and the vineyard was certified organic by Oregon Tilth in 2000 (the winery is also certified organic). The site is set at 300-420 feet, on an east-facing slope, and has shallow volcanic basalt soil, which produces low yields and creates wines of great intensity and complexity. Le Puits Sec Vineyard is not irrigated. Evesham Wood belongs to a small group of North Willamette Valley growers and wineries called the Deep Roots Coalition. The group is concerned about groundwater depletion and they believe that stress on vine roots - forcing them to grow deeper to find water - can actually make for healthier vines and better fruit.
Le Puits Sec was first planted to eight acres, three of Pinot Noir (Pommard clone), two each of Chardonnay (108 clone) and Pinot Gris (Colmar clones) and one of Gewurztraminer. Over the years four and one half acres have gradually been added (1.5 acre of 3 Dijon clones of Pinot Noir, 1 acre of 3 Dijon clones of Chardonnay, and one acre Pinot Gris, as well as small plantings of the German variety, Rieslaner and the Austrian variety, Gruner Veltliner). In addition, the original two acres of Chardonnay were grafted over to Pinot Noir in 1999.
Evesham Wood also purchases fruit from Temperance Hill (certified organic) and four other quality sites: Mahonia, located in the South Salem Hills, Illahe, a warm site in the foothills of the coast range, Hidden Rocks in the north east section of the Eola Hills, and Eola Springs, on the west side of the Eola Hills ridge.