Why should I decant big, bold red wines?

Natalie’s Estate specializes in making big, bold red wines. We recommend decanting for most younger reds, especially bold varieties. This has been know to have numerous benefits, including separating the sediment from the liquid. This is especially helpful for red wines, which hold the most sediment. Decanting also enhances a wine’s flavor by exposing it to fresh air, and allowing it to breathe.

Why is Willamette Valley good for wine growing?

Early ripening and cold weather grapes
Willamette Valley and particularly Chehalem Ridge AVA of Willamette Valley makes an ideal environment for growing earlier-ripening wines. The temperate climate in the Willamette Valley, with its marine influence due to ocean breezes that make their way through the coastal mountain range, is the perfect scenario for cool-climate grapes, which is why we planted Pinot Noir at Natalie’s Estate. We source grapes from warmer climates for our bolder red wines.

A Culture of Boutique Wineries
Natalie’s Estate is a perfect example of one of the most unique and charming aspects of Willamette Valley wine country. We are one of the first independent, boutique wineries in this region and now we are one of many.

While many wine regions across the country and around the world are trending further and further toward a model of larger-than-life wine enterprises, Oregon’s vineyards tend to be small, quiet, and founded by independent, local, and largely self-taught growers and producers.

Since many of the region’s wineries are so small and produce such unique and diverse varieties, some of the best Oregon wines are rarely, if ever, shipped out of the state. Visiting Oregon’s boutique wineries to taste these hidden gems is the perfect adventure for wine lovers looking for an intimate, authentic, and unique experience.

What makes a vineyard sustainable?

Natalie’s Estate practices viticulture techniques focused on producing sustainable wines. We practice water and energy conservation to preserve our ecosystems and local wildlife. We maintain healthy soils because we know that by doing so they will be able to continue producing grapes for years to come. We adhere to sustainability standards. 

Should I let wine breathe?

Some wine drinkers declare that a red wine should be allowed to ‘breathe’ in the bottle before it is poured. Frankly, this doesn’t do much to improve the wine. The reason is the surface area of the wine in the bottle neck is so small that hardly any oxygen can reach the wine in the hour or two in which it is left standing. If you really want to oxygenate the wine, at Natalie’s Estate we recommend decanting it by pouring it gently down the side of a glass decanter.

Some older red wines develop a sediment at the bottom (or side, if the bottle has been stored lying down) of the bottle. This is not a sign of any defect, but if you prefer to keep the sediment out of the glass, you can also pour the wine carefully into a decanter, leaving the last bit, with the sediment, in the bottle.

How do I store wine?

1) Temperature
There are several factors to consider when you’re storing wine at home, but temperature is the most important. Anything higher than 21°C (average room temperature) will age a wine much more quickly than you want, and can lead to flat flavours and aromas – between 8°C and 18°C is preferable (with 12°C close to ideal).

Don’t keep wine in the fridge for more than a few months – the lack of moisture could cause corks to dry out, which could let air in to the bottle and cause oxidation.

2) Location
Avoid keeping wine anywhere that’s susceptible to extreme or frequent temperature changes. So that rules out the kitchen, utility room or an unheated garage, and certainly anywhere near radiators. Under the stairs is usually a good spot, or an unheated cupboard elsewhere in the house. Aim for consistency. 

3) Light
Light can also cause problems for long-term storage, particularly sunlight, which can degrade and prematurely age wine. This is why vintners use coloured glass bottles – it helps protect the contents. So keep wine well away from sunny spots. Most household lightbulbs won’t cause any issues beyond fading labels, but steer clear of fluorescent bulbs, which can emit small amounts of ultraviolet light.

4) Humidity
In short, don’t worry about humidity (unless you’re laying down bottles for more than a decade, in which case we’re back to the matter of professional storage). While it is indeed the case that dry air can cause corks to shrink and let air into the bottle, thereby spoiling the wine, this is unlikely to happen to you unless you live in a desert.

Between 50% and 80% humidity is considered optimal. Placing a bowl of water near the wine can boost levels, while a dehumidifier can rectify any overly damp conditions which won’t affect the wine but can damage labels.

5) Positioning
Conventional wisdom has always dictated wine bottles be kept on their sides, as this keeps liquid against the cork, which should stop it from drying out. But if you’re planning on drinking the wine within the next couple of years, or if the bottle has an alternate closure such as a screw cap or plastic cork, then this isn’t necessary – storing the bottles vertically won’t cause any harm. However, keeping them horizontal is definitely the most space-efficient way to store them.