The Rogue Valley AVA’s Biodynamic and Organic Certified UPPER FIVE VINEYARD

12:02 am Great Northwest, Tasting Notes

Upper Five Vineyard, located in the Rogue Valley AVA in southern Oregon, is perched at an elevation of 1,920 feet. The vineyard is both Demeter Biodynamic Certified (since 2018) and Organic Certified (since 2005), and their wines are pure and impressive.

In was in 1999 that Owner, Grapegrower and Vineyard Manager Terry Sullivan and co-owner, grapegrower Molly Morison purchased the upper five acres of the historic Bagley pear orchard in southern Oregon. In 2003 Terry and Molly planted grapevines in the Rogue Valley AVA. Each came from a scientific background. Terry secured his MS in Ocean Engineering, and Molly earned her MS in Botany/Plant Biology. Terry spent years in the business and remains a consultant in the oceanography industry today, and Molly has worked as a botanist for several years. They became serious about the wine world in the 90’s which led them to acquiring the property. Their passion for organic farming and biodynamics is almost palpable, and their diligence is clearly evident.

Upper Five’s panoramic 3.5-acre vineyard is planted to Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Tempranillo and Grenache. Sullivan and Morison have been organic minded from the onset of establishing Upper Five Vineyard. Theirs was the first vineyard to be certified organic in southern Oregon. Their motto, “The best fertilizer is a farmer’s footsteps, and wine is made in the vineyard,” portrays Upper Five Vineyard’s biodynamic farming and natural winemaking way of life.

 At Upper Five Vineyard, fully engaging in biodynamic practices while employing a minimal manipulation, natural winemaking philosophy is paramount. They strive to achieve honest expression of their fruit and unique site in their wine and fully embrace each vintage. Some of my favorite Upper Five Vineyard wines include:

2019 Grenache:   Rose petals and forest berries on the nose are inviting. It speaks true to variety on all fronts. Layers of raspberries, hints of savory herbs, wild berries, and red plums backed by lively acidity exhilarate the palate.  The texture is silky, and it finishes with brightness and elegance. SRP:   $26.50

2020 Sauvignon Blanc:  An expressive nose leads to a mouthful of passion fruit sorbet, lemon curd, jasmine green tea, and hints of fresh cut herbs. Beautiful textural qualities and crisp acids transport the wine to a vivid, fresh lime-scented finish. SRP:  $20

2017 Tempranillo:  The brilliant ruby hue and warm berry pie aroma sets the stage for olallieberries, Black Beauty plums, a minerally edge, black olives, sun-dried tomatoes, and savoriness filling the mouth. Elegant and pure with refined tannins and a lingering finish. SRP: $28

2017 Syrah:  The engaging floral nose with hints of spice awakens the senses. Deep, dark, delicious layers of blackberries, blueberry compote, roasted meat, subtle oak (from neutral barrel aging), and fresh ground multi-colored peppercorns flow seamlessly across the palate. Pure and brilliantly balanced with a finish that never gives up. SRP:  $28

Walking the property is a delight. You’ll feel immersed in eco-friendly living while surrounded by the vineyard, pear and apple trees, diverse gardens, birds overhead, praying mantis and other insects, their sweet pup Bud, and other animals gracing the property. It’s a breath of fresh air, and their practices offer significant benefits not only to our environment today, but that of future generations.

Visits (by appointment only) are held in their charming outdoor setting at the vineyard (located at 1125 Morey Road, Talent OR 97540). To schedule, visit their website,, click on contact and visit, complete and submit their simple form, and they will be in touch.

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