Fossil & Fawn pays homage to Silvershot Vineyards, the source for our wines. The vines, located in the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley, are own-rooted and dry-farmed on a marine fossil bed. The surrounding oak savanna is a natural habitat for deer and other wildlife.
Fossil & Fawn started out as a completely reasonable idea in the late summer of 2011, and quickly spiraled into a much more complex, frustrating, terrifying, and unbelievably rewarding venture. We began with the notion of making a small amount of wine from our family vineyard as a single-site bottling, simply because no one else had done so before. The plan was to have a nice example to show to potential buyers of the Pinot noir and Pinot gris grown there. Somewhere along the line we figured that for all the effort, we might as well make it an official wine label. After a series of fits and starts (mostly fits), Fossil & Fawn was born proper as a wine label, nearly two years after we had that very reasonable idea.
We aren't too interested in bold manifestos or style declarations - our goal is to make wines that we like. We've found that the kind of wines we like, and thus the wines we make, are executed with a natural approach that allows the vineyard to do the talking. That means instead of buying yeast, we culture it from the vineyard itself, with no other additives or enzymes. It also means as-little-as-necessary sulfur additions and aging all of our wines in barrels, with very little new oak. The minimalist, natural approach is a nice way of saying we do things the hard way, by-hand. The upside is that we end up with wines that we like. Wines that have acidity, structure, and balance that will brilliantly compliment dinner tonight, or be a worthy reward for patience after a few years in the cellar.
We are a small, family-run vineyard located in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA of the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Our story started in 1999, when Jim Fischer Sr. and his brother Bill collected cuttings from neighboring vineyards and started their own nursery. The first vines were put in the ground the following year on a five-acre field with a gentle south-facing slope and the shallow, rockiest soils on the property. Jim and Bill originally named the site Crowley Station Vineyards to honor the historic railroad station located at the foot of Holmes Hill, itself a reference to the pioneer Solomon Kimsey Crowley, who homesteaded the area in 1855. In 2016, we renamed the site to Silvershot Vineyards, for the family horse of the same name that once roamed the land that would become the first vineyard block.
We farm fifteen acres of vineyards, fourteen of which are Pinot noir (114, 115, 777, Pommard, and a few "suitcase" clones of unknown provenance), with an acre of Pinot gris (Colmar clone). A few years into it, we discovered a smattering of Chardonnay inter-planted in one of the Pinot noir blocks which does not make it into any commercial releases. All of the vines are dry-farmed (no irrigation) and most are own-rooted (ungrafted), pushing through thin sedimentary soils and fractured sandstone that were once the seafloor during the Oligocene epoch. The site is south/southwest-facing on Holmes Hill at the exit of Holmes Gap (better known as the end of the Van Duzer Corridor) and gets strong, cooling marine breezes. Wines made from our grapes have that distinctive Eola-Amity quality: displaying great spice, structure and clarity of fruit with pronounced minerality from the old oceanic soils.
The Grape Man
Jim grew up in Eastern Washington when it was best known for onions and wheat, not world-class wine. Always interested in gardening, Jim settled on establishing a vineyard for his retirement project. Now he spends most of his time tending to the vines, working much harder than the rest of us in his "retirement."
Jim Fischer, II
Vice President of Wine Things
Jim didn't know he was going to be in the wine industry back when he was helping his dad plant the vines over winter break during school. But, after a stint in wine distribution and years of "personal research," he found his way back to the farm and into winemaking classes at the Northwest Viticulture Center.
Deputy Chief of Stuff
Jenny has over ten years of experience in sales and hospitality, eight of which were in the wine industry, and none of which that are the result of her very expensive art degree.