July Winemaker's Barrel: Hundred Suns

It takes about one hundred days for a grape flower in May to turn into a grape in September. Hundred Suns is a reference to this rhythm, the most important part of a winemaker’s year, when the vines, and the grapes that grow on them, are most sensitive to the weather. Hot days in the summer make for ripe, jammy flavors in the wine. Cold bursts of rain in Autumn make for longer vintages and nervous winemakers. Grapes are fickle, and the best grapes are the most changeable, the most responsive to whatever the weather has in store during those hundred days.

For Grant Coulter and Renée Saint-Amour, that hundred day window has come to occupy more and more of their lives since they met in the early 2000s. Since then, they left California for Oregon in search of adventure, where Grant got work as an assistant winemaker at Hamacher, then assistant winemaker at Beaux Freres, then head winemaker at Beaux Freres, while Renee taught high school in Portland. In 2015, they moved from the city out into wine country to start making their own wine from vineyard sources they’ve now known for a decade or more. In 2018, the couple bought a house with a vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills called Breaker Vineyard. They’re hard at work reviving one of the oldest vineyards on Walnut Hill Road, while the kids play among the vines. 


They chose to embark on one of the more challenging paths in winemaking, dedicated to sourcing only from practicing organic vineyards and using minimal intervention in the winery: native yeasts, no fining, and no filtration. There are no safety nets working this way, no ways to fix a grape that had a bad time somewhere in those hundred days, but if done well, these practices can create one of the clearest, purest sorts of wine. In the case of Hundred Suns, the wines are delicate, textural, and beautifully complex, true reflections of the vintage, the place, and the gentle care taken by the winemakers in the cellar. 

We’re pleased to represent Grant and Renée's wines for the month of July, and think their wines represent a bright future for the Willamette Valley.