Viticultural and Winemaking Stewardship
From the beginning, the Frey family has tried to be committed to a winery that is not only located in the beautiful and diverse Willamette Valley ecosystem, but an integral part of it. Every step of the viticulture and winemaking process at Trisaetum is carefully planned to take only what we need from the surrounding environment, while at the same time giving back to it along the way.
In the Vineyards
Ecosystem: Our first step in building Trisaetum was also our first step in creating an environmentally conscious approach to winemaking, as each of Trisaetum’s estate vineyards were planted while preserving a minimum of 30% of the natural habitat surrounding them. The oak and fir woodlands encompassing our vineyards return the favor by attracting local birds and beneficial insects that help improve the quality of each vineyard, and the wine that they yield.
All of Trisaetum’s vineyards are, and have always been, 100% dry-farmed, relying on the Willamette Valley’s natural climate to water and nourish our grapes.
Extremely Low Yields: Great care is taken to not pull too much from our vineyard ecosystems, so we only harvest an average of 2.5 to 3.0 tons of grapes per acre. This allows us to use only the most developed and complex grapes for our wines and helps sustain our vines for generations to come.
Birds of Prey: In order to further support a balanced ecosystem in our vineyards, we have placed owl and kestrel boxes in and around each of our vineyards. Our raptors are an eco-friendly way to control pest populations without harming the surrounding environment.
Our vineyards all have a microclimate of their own, and at Trisaetum we
choose to promote the development of each vineyard’s unique environment rather than attempt to control it with fertilizer applications. We plant cover crops like legumes and barley in our rows to promote nitrogen fixation, foster a symbiotic relationship with vineyard microflora, and enrich the nutrient capacity of the soil.
100% of all the skins, seeds, and stems from each of our harvests are mixed with dairy manure to produce an especially nutritious compost that is
reintroduced into the vineyard the following year. 100% of all organic matter from the harvest is reused in the vineyard.
Biodiesel: All of our vineyard equipment runs on 100% biodiesel, avoiding fossil fuels and putting less strain on the greater environment.
Hand-Harvested: All of our fruit is harvested and sorted solely by hand, preserving the integrity of the vines, and the final product.
In The Winery
Trisaetum's commitment to sustainability doesn't stop at the vineyard, as we also champion sustainable practices inside the winery.
Staying Away From Sulfur: By minimizing the use of sulfur during processing and fermentation, we allow for the native microflora and microbes on the grape skins to add complexity to the wine, instead of chemicals.
Hot-Water Cleaning: To avoid the use of potentially harmful solvents in cleaning our winemaking equipment, the winery is equipped with tankless propane water heaters that allow us to rely primarily on hot water for our cleaning needs, without having to store hot water when it is not needed.
When Trisaetum Winery was built in 2006, the innovative roof structure was specifically constructed to collect rainwater into a 20,000 gallon tank that minimized demand on our well and the environment. All of Trisaetum's water usage throughout the winemaking process and beyond is solely from the 20,000 gallon tank and our self-contained well in the vineyard.
Gravity Flow Winemaking: Trisaetum Winery is built on three different levels to maximize our use of gravity when moving wine throughout the facility. As much as possible, we try not to waste energy or manhandle wines by pumping them through machines.
Barrel Cave: Once the winemaking process comes to a conclusion, the young wines are stored in our subterranean barrel cave which naturally maintains a year-around 58F temperature. Zero energy expenditure in cooling is required during the 12 to 18 months of élevage.
¡Salud! For Your Health: Since 2012, Trisaetum has been a member of the ¡Salud! Vintners Circle; a group of forty wineries dedicated to raising much needed funds to provide vineyard worker healthcare. Since 2014, Trisaetum has had someone of the board of ¡Salud!, with James co-chairing the board in 2015 and 2016.
Chehalem Cultural Center: Trisaetum has been an active sponsor with the Chehalem Cultural Center since its inception in 2011. The Chehalem Cultural Center celebrates the arts, community, education, and heritage in an historic building that houses a fine arts gallery and exhibition hall, three multipurpose arts studio classrooms, a state-of-the-art clay studio, a recording studio with four music practice studios, and meeting space. James served on the board of directors from 2011 to 2014 and chaired the Finance Committee.
UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation: James has served on the board of the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation whose mission is to improve children’s lives and help families gain access to the care they need through medical grants.
Chehalem Mountain Winegrowers Association: James has served on the board of the Chehalem Mountain Winegrowers Association which represents vineyards, wineries and their associates in the Ribbon Ridge and Chehalem Mountains AVAs (American Viticultural Areas), joined by a love of fine wine…and the terrain, elevation and climate within the boundaries of a single geological miracle