Winemaker Q & A

#WVCELLARSEASON


We caught up with some of our vintner friends and asked them their favorite things about Cellar Season.


Trevor Chlanda (Winemaker, Duck Pond Cellars)

Duck Pond Cellars is a family owned and operated winery located in the heart of Oregon wine country. For the past 20+ years, we’ve produced a variety of handcrafted wines using fruit from our family’s 1,000+ acres of Northwest vineyard land. Open daily, we offer wine flights, tours by appointment and a gourmet marketplace selling food and gifts.

Learn more about Duck Pond

Q. Are you doing anything different in the cellar this winter?

A. Trying to stay warm! Trying to get all of our ferments to finish Malolactic fermentation so we can sulfur them and start making our 2017 single vineyard blends. It’s a slow time of year (in so many ways), so doing more tasting at our fellow wineries in the Willamette Valley!

Q. Do you have any superstitions around bottling days?

A. It’s all about music choice. For some reason our bottling line is allergic to Reggae, and has thus been banned… She is generally really happy with all manners of Jazz – Charles Mingus, Charlie Parker, Joshua Redman, Jamiroquai. Keeps the staff happy as well!

Q. What wines and foods are typically around your table this season?

A. This is the time of year for all of those hearty foods and hearty wines you always say you want to drink, but always find an excuse not to. I like thick, rich stews and soups – using mushrooms and barley whenever possible. I don’t know, but that always speaks to the winter for me. On the wine side – I open a LOT of things out of my cellar. It’s really a great way to beat the winter blues – opening those trophy bottles of Pinot noir for no other reason than “it’s Tuesday.”

Q. What is the best thing about visiting wine country in the winter?

A. Visiting wine country in the winter is quite arguably the best time to go. Generally there are fewer people out, but you will get the most attention from the staff. It’s slow in the cellar, so I know at least at Duck Pond, you will get the chance to interact with the Winemaker that much more!


Alex Fullerton (Winemaker, Fullerton Wines)

We are a family of five producing memorable Willamette Valley wines. Great wine speaks profoundly, a universal language that transcends any one culture. We source and care for vineyards, both old and new, that display authenticity and character—they speak of their specific place.

Learn more about Fullerton Wines

Q. What’s your favorite beverage to drink during the winter months?

A. Pinot noir. Hopefully I don’t sound crass saying that as a Pinot noir producer, but could you ask for a better winter wine? From Blanc de Noir Champagne to rosé of Pinot noir to Willamette Valley Pinot, you’ve got all of your bases covered.

Q. Are you doing anything different in the cellar this winter?

A. This winter in the cellar we have been playing music even louder than normal, in the hopes that the wines will rock even harder this year. We can’t tell if it’s the stellar 2017 growing season or the music, but so far the wines definitely rock pretty hard.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A. The food. Definitely the food. Winter is the time for cooking hearty meals and eating a little bit extra (to help stay warm). With many root vegetables, citrus, brassicas, and winter squash in season, there are plenty of fun flavors to play with.

Q. What are your music choices around the cellar and tasting room during the cellar season?

A. We play a whole bunch of different music in the winery. Lately it has been a lot of Fruit Bats, Jim Croce, The Shins, The Avett Brothers, The Steeldrivers, Grateful Dead, and Harry Nilsson, to name a few.

Q. What makes your tasting room cozy this time of year?

A. My mother. Specifically by turning the temperature dial up. We just opened the Fullerton tasting room at 1966 NW Pettygrove in Portland, and hanging out there at the bar, or in a comfy couch with the candles lit, has been my favorite way to stay warm this winter.


Gina Hennen (Winemaker, Adelsheim Vineyard)

David Adelsheim first planted the grapes of northern Europe in Oregon’s Willamette Valley in 1972 because he believed that fine and distinctive wine could be created in the cool climate of this unknown place.

Learn more about Adelsheim Vineyard

Q. Where do you go for your post-harvest vacation?

A. Any place warm, preferably with sand and hammocks.

Q. What’s your favorite beverage to drink during the winter months?

A. Tea and whiskey, not necessarily together, not necessarily apart.

Q. What do you find the hardest part of winter?

A. I spend more time indoors during the winter which can get a bit tedious. On the other hand that means I have more time to read.

Q. What are your go-to cold-weather snacks?

A. Salt and pepper pistachios are making a play for top winter snack, followed closely by fancy cheeses and peanut butter pretzels. A simple boiled egg with salt is not to be discounted.


Steve Lutz (Winemaker & Proprietor, Lenné Estate)

In the spring of 2000, after an extensive search for a prime site to grow Pinot noir, Steve and Karen Lutz discovered a steep, south-facing slope near the town of Yamhill. In 2001, they planted several Pinot noir clones, including Pommard, 777,115, and 114. The elevation, steep slope, shallow mountain soil, and miniscule yields, moved them on their way to creating profound wine.

Learn more about Lenné Estate

Q. Where do you go for your post-harvest vacation?

A. I love to go to Mexico and just forget about the business for a couple of weeks.

Q. What’s your favorite beverage to drink during the winter months?

A. I love a boulevardier made with Rittenhouse Rye.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A. It might sound strange but winter golf, I can get it done in two and a half hours with so few people on the course and I love to play fast.

Q. What wines and foods are typically around your table this season?

A. Definitely comfort food and being half Italian it always starts with some type of pasta.

Q. What is the best thing about visiting wine country in the winter?

A. There is more of a connection with visitors in the winter. My wife Karen and I staff the tasting room on Saturdays, and we have a chance to directly connect with each visitor in a way we don’t when it is hectic in summer. I also love the feel of our cozy, rustic tasting room on a stormy day with the fireplace going.


Anna Matzinger (Partner & Winemaker, Matzinger Davies Wine Company)

Matzinger Davies is a collaboration between longtime Willamette Valley winemakers Anna Matzinger & Michael Davies. Our intention is to produce wines with a resonant voice speaking to their geographic origin, varietal typicity and season.

Learn more about Matzinger Davies

Q. Where do you go for your post-harvest vacation?

A. This year NZ!

Q. Do you have any superstitions around bottling days?

A. Always bring bundt cake! (Grandma Fanchon’s rum bundt cake)

Q. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A. Skiing (with our kids), lefse, & Michael’s homemade gravlax.

Q. What wines and foods are typically around your table this season?

A. Something from Magnus Nilsson’s Nordic Cooking & at least one bottle of wine brought up from the basement concealed in a sock for ‘wine options’. (wine options – is a blind tasting game where questions are asked by the person who knows the identity of the wine to those who don’t in an effort to get to variety, region, vintage, & producer).

Q. Where’s your favorite place in town to grab a hot toddy or other winter cocktail?

A. Thistle bar with friends.


Jerry Murray (Owner & Winemaker, Project M Wines)

PROJECT M is the vision of owners Meg and Jerry Murray. That vision has been clarified and refined over their combined 30 years of professional experience in winemaking, marketing and sales.

Learn more about Project M

Q. Where’s your favorite place in town to grab a hot toddy or other winter cocktail?

Here in McMinnville I can always count on Patrick at Thistle to create something appropriate for the weather. I’ll give him rather vague directions like “rye” or “sunny” and he never disappoints. Never.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A. What I love about winter is that it’s the “low point” of the cycle. Life slows down and turns inward. Being a Midwesterner and have lived in the South and Southeast I can say Oregon winters are pretty easy to love.

Q. What wines and foods are typically around your table this season?

A. Winter for us means roots and braises. I try to get the family to eat seasonally but if you expect a six-year-old to live off of turnips and cabbage it will be a long winter.


Dave Specter (Owner & Winemaker, Bells Up Winery)

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?” The answer, for us, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So we turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.

Learn more about Bells Up

Q. What’s your favorite beverage to drink during the winter months?

A. Winter is the time of year I get to step back from winemaking and curl up in front of the football playoffs with a huge mug of Godiva Dark Chocolate hot cocoa (that I technically bought for my wife Sara as a Christmas present, shhhh!).

Q. Are you doing anything different in the cellar this winter?

A. This year I’m obsessing over our very first estate wine: the 2017 Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir. We harvested our first planting, Pommard and 667, in its fourth leaf last fall, and since it’s our first estate vintage, I want it to be truly spectacular.

Q. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

A. This is the time of year when Sara and I finally have some extra free time to go visit the wineries we’ve been wanting to check out. Because everyone’s a little slower, it’s a terrific chance to do some networking with our peers—particularly the ones we’ve been hearing about through the year. Standouts for us have been hanging with Jared Rallison of Rallison Cellars in Sherwood, and Michelle Wasner and Jim Seufert of Seufert Winery in Dayton—both stellar producers and fun folks too.

Q. What is the best thing about visiting wine country in the winter?

A. For us, because things slow down a little, it gives us even more opportunities to spend high-quality time with our guests in the tasting room. Although we are always open by appointment, our timing can be more flexible in the winter and we can share even greater behind-the- scenes access to the winemaking process with our guests.


anne sery (Winemaker – nw wine company)

NW Wine Company is Oregon’s only custom winegrowing facility specializing in all aspects of the winemaking process from vineyard to bottle.

Learn more about NW Wine Company

Q. What’s your favorite beverage to drink during the winter months?

A. I really enjoy drinking bourbon and whiskey-based cocktail at this time of the year. My favorite is an Old-Fashioned, but I also enjoy Manhattans.

Q. what is your favorite thing about winter?

A. Winter is a great time to work on planning, whether it’s planning on new trials/projects for the next vintage or planning my spring/summer garden.

Q. What hobbies do you finally have time to enjoy during the cellar season?

A. It’s the perfect time to work on my baking since I’m stuck indoors.

Q. What is your favorite place to grab a winter cocktail?

A. I really like the ambiance and the cocktails at Jo’s bar on 23rd. Plus that way we can slip next door and have dessert afterwards…

Q. What wines and foods are typically on your table this season?

A. I enjoy fixing stews and hearty soups at this time of the year. And I always pair them with a Chardonnay (I could drink Chardonnay with almost anything).

Q. how do you and your staff beat the winter blues?

A. We organize baking competitions. I’ve always believed that homemade sweets are the best remedy for any type of blues.