Björnson Vineyard | Eola-Amity Hills

Our Sustainable Vineyard

Exceptional wine begins in the vineyard

That’s why our vineyard is certified Salmon-Safe and sustainable by L.I.V.E. (Low Input Viticulture and Enology). We believe that sustainable farming makes better wine. Oregon “vineyard lore” suggests that abundant poison oak indicates a great site. Happily for us (except when Mark used a chain saw to remove some massive plants), we’re covered under both schools of thought.

View 360 Panorama of the Vineyard

Kristjan’s Block

Kristjan’s block was planted in the fall of 2006 with Pommard and Dijon-777 clones of Pinot Noir. The seven-acre block sits on a southwest slope (465-530′ elevation) of Jory and Nekia soil types.

Our vineyard blocks are named after our children. We had intended to name our first planted block for our oldest child Kaitlyn. In August of 2006, we were clearing the block for planting. Mark tried to get Kaitlyn to help pick rocks. In typical teenage fashion, Kaitlyn refused. By the end of the day, the block was named for a more enthusiastic rock-picker.

Claire’s Block

Claire’s north block was planted in the fall of 2009. This two-acre piece sits on a east-slope, at an elevation of 510-550′, and is planted with Pinot Noir Dijon clones 667 and 115. The north portion of Claire’s block had few rocks and is primarily Jory soil. Claire’s south block is almost two and a half acres of gentle north, south and west slopes planted to Auxerrois, Chardonnay, and clone 4407 of Pinot Noir.

Claire has cleverly avoided a lot of vineyard labor by volunteering for indoor chores. One day Grandpa discovered her inside folding laundry. “Claire,” he said, “I didn’t know you knew how to do laundry.” She replied, “Grandpa, anything is better than picking rocks!” Thankfully, while we were outside, she kept the home fires burning.

Hunter’s Block

Hunter’s four-acre block has south and southwest facing slopes at an elevation of 480-560′. The soil is predominately Nekia and it is planted with Dijon-115 and Wadenswil clones of Pinot Noir.

In the summer of 2009, when we were clearing Hunter’s block, the contractor operating the track-hoe said to Mark, “You’re wasting my time and your money. You’ll never get anything to grow here; there’s hardly enough dirt to hold the rocks together.” After removing more than 400 tons of rock, the Wadenswil vines, planted in the rockiest part of the vineyard have thrived. Hunter was just eight years old when we planted his block, but he cleared many tons of rock himself that summer.

Kaitlyn’s Block

Kaitlyn’s north block is almost 10 1/2 acres of south-southwest sloping Nekia soil ranging from 440-540 feet. It is planted with Pinot Noir clones 4407, Pommard, Wadenswil, 777 and 115. About three acres were planted on Memorial Day of 2012, with the remainder planted in the fall of 2012.

Kaitlyn’s south block is 2 acres of very gentle southwest sloping Nekia soil at about 470 feet, planted to Gamay Noir. It was planted in the fall of 2012 and was cordon and spur-pruned starting in 2018.

Initially, Kaitlyn had little interest in our vineyard and winery, and didn’t even taste wine until she began working for St. Innocent Winery during a break from college. They have a great training program for their Tasting Room employees that includes wine evaluation. One night after work, we were enjoying a glass of our wine. Kaitlyn was tasting our wine, swirling it, and tasting again. She looked up, incredulous, and said, “You guys have really good wine!” As parents, it is important to savor those rare instances when we can impress our children.

What Kaitlyn lacked in enthusiasm for rock-picking and site preparation, she made up in wine sales. Kaitlyn did very well for St. Innocent, and when she helped us during special events, our sales increased dramatically.

Powered by Renewable Energy

Land and energy conservation are one of Bjornson Vineyard’s core values. We are committed to generating renewable energy and farming sustainably to reduce our carbon footprint and protect our environment. The winery building was designed and built with energy efficiency in mind. The winery was constructed using Insulated Concrete Form (ICF) walls, (that are 50-70% more energy efficient than wood-framed structures) having insulation R-values that far exceed commercial requirements. The winery’s HVAC system uses ultra efficient ductless heat-pumps and radiant floor heating. The lighting uses both energy efficient LED and florescent technologies.

In 2015, we installed a hybrid solar photovoltaic and solar hot water system with the help of a REAP grant from the USDA. The Bjornson Winery hybrid solar project combines a 10kW photovoltaic array with a 5.9 kW solar thermal array to supply more than 70% of its total energy needs. This hybrid solar system greatly reduces the cost and quantity of electrical power needed to run the winery, and heat the water needed for cleaning barrels and sanitizing wine processing equipment. Using less electricity has an obvious positive environmental impact which is consistent with Bjornson Vineyard’s sustainability mission, and our goals to reduce our carbon footprint.

In 2009 Bjornson was the first vineyard in Oregon to install a 10kW wind turbine. Due to maintenance issues, the turbine was replaced in 2018 with an additional 10kW photovoltaic array, bringing the total Bjornson Vineyard PV electricity generation to 20kW!

Care for the Land | Make Exceptional Wine | Enjoy the Journey

Surrounded by Forest, Streams & Riparian Areas

We are very proud of our 28-acre vineyard, but more than 75 acres or our estate is reserved in forests, creeks and riparian areas. In 2010, we enrolled in a five-year Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) with the USDA. This program works to create cleaner water, improved air quality, better habitat for wildlife and reduced soil erosion. We graduated from the program in 2015, but continue to follow the conservation and land stewardship practices outlined by our original CSP.

The combination of forest, open areas created for vineyard and streams provide ideal habitat for wildlife. This benefits the vineyard in many ways and provides an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system. In the winter, we open gates to allow deer and coyotes access to the vineyard. The deer mow the cover crop and provide fertilizer, while the coyotes keep the rodent population in check. Hawks and owls nest in the surrounding forest and feed on the voles (field mice) in the vineyard. Dams built by beavers slow the runoff, raise the water table, and create ponds for other wildlife. Following certified-sustainable farming practices as well as conservation stewardship promotes balance across the ecosystem of our entire property.

One of our recent projects has been clearing a walking trail along King Creek to Knight’s Falls, a 20′ waterfall on our border with Seven Springs Vineyards. We plan to have picnic baskets available in the summer so guests can take a hike and enjoy our wine and lunch alfresco.