Pinot in the City Wineries
Mingle with the stars of the Willamette Valley wine industry at Pinot in the City in Seattle on September 11, 2014. A colorful cast of characters will showcase the best that Oregon has to offer at this one-of-a-kind tasting. Here's who you'll meet (more profiles coming soon!):
Dave Paige developed his interest in wine while working at a wine shop in Ohio. He moved to California to enroll in the Viticulture and Enology program at U.C. Davis, where he earned his Fermentation Science degree in 1989. Dave’s diverse experience has included time at wineries in the Sierra Nevada foothills, the Napa Valley, Australia, and Monterey. While making Pinot noir at two wineries in Monterey, CA, Dave traveled to Oregon many times to compare wines and ideas with other Pinot producers. On one such trip in 2001, he and David Adelsheim discussed their shared belief that restrained winemaking methods lead to greater complexity and balance. Dave joined Adelsheim as Winemaker in September of that year, just in time for harvest. He has brought an open‐minded approach and a willingness to combine new and old techniques in pursuit of classic, elegant wines. He continues to enjoy the collaborative, pioneering spirit of the Oregon wine industry.
Originally interested in the culinary arts, Bryan began his career at culinary school in Albany, Oregon where he was encouraged to take a wine and food-pairing course during his studies. It was here that his passion for wine first took hold. At the Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Bryan became the wine steward and his appreciation and love for Oregon Pinot Noir flourished. Through his restaurant connections, Bryan began working part time at Domaine Serene. With encouragement from the winemaking staff he decided to go back to Oregon State University, and in 2008 he graduated with a degree in Enology and Viticulture. Shortly after graduation, Bryan accepted a position as Assistant Winemaker at The Hogue Cellars. In 2012, Bryan joined Alexana Winery as Associate Winemaker. Working closely with Lynn, Bryan oversees the production of Alexana's distinctive wines that speak to the diverse, premium quality of the Revana Vineyard.
Originally from Lodi, California (Nick) and Scotland (Sheila) the couple met in London while Sheila was in Public Relations and Nick was the European Marketing Manager for a US-based corporation. When Nick returned stateside in 1981, they were married in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Together, they opened a small chain of family-serving pizza parlors first in Benicia, California, and then in the Napa Valley. It was when they moved to St. Helena that their immersion in the world of wine began. Sheila resumed her PR career and worked alongside many of the top names in wine, while Nick oversaw the restaurants which continued to serve the wine community. In 2001, the family came to Oregon, purchasing a rundown walnut, plum and filbert orchard which was to become the home of Nicholas Vineyard and Anam Cara Cellars wines. Nick and Sheila continue to farm the vineyard assisted occasionally by their son Mark, a post grad student at Syracuse University, and daughter Heather, a recent biochemistry graduate from Seattle University. Their two dogs, Buck and Missy welcome visitors and help keep the vineyard gopher free.
Owner & Winemaker
Andrew Rich is not from around here. Not originally, anyway. He grew up in the scenic Berkshire hills of Western Massachusetts, where, early on, maple syrup graced the family table more often than wine. But a fortuitous teenage encounter with a Bâtard-Montrachet, like a seed dropped by a migrating bird—if birds migrated from the great wine regions of France to the eastern United States—instilled a passion for wine that grew and flowered over the coming years. But first a detour: the liberal arts major, concentrating in French literature (France=Wine); a four-year stint in New York City at a travel and leisure magazine (“Hey, Andrew likes wine. He can edit the wine column.”); and a brief holiday gig at the famed Sherry-Lehmann (“I'm selling as fast as I can!”). Finally, in 1987 Andrew enrolled at the C.F.P.P.A. in Beaune, where he learned the fine art of pruning in the freezing rain (brandy helps) and how to perform a titration in French (think about it). The only other Americans in the program were from Oregon, and they crucially expanded his knowledge of geography. Nonetheless, due to a chronic infatuation with Rhône wines (prior to Beaune he “helped” pick grapes chez Chave), Andrew went to work as a cellar rat at Bonny Doon Vineyard, then just six years old. He stayed for six vintages before leaving for the promised land of the Willamette Valley. Andrew Rich Wines began as a trial balloon in 1995, first specializing in Columbia Valley Rhône-style wines and soon adding Pinot Noir to take advantage of the unique juxtaposition of a cool and a warm climate. The rest, as they say, is history, and as the winery anticipates its 18th harvest, it's still being written.
Director of Sales, Marketing & Education
“Working on Angela Estate to establish this winery is a great adventure,” said Endsworth. “We have a stunning, stratified, established vineyard with a unique clonal selection. “We have one of the most pedigreed winemakers in Oregon doing our custom crush. Mark Gould is an exceptional vineyard manager who farms with the dogma of responsible diversity. Lastly, Antony Beck is winery savvy, generous and passionate. All of the bones for success are there. We just have to knit them together.” Endsworth has spent the last decade working in the Oregon wine and distribution trade. She has achieved her CSW and WSET Level 3 Advanced Certification. She is continuously pursuing alternative wine education options and teaches extensively. “Our fruit is our focus and our foundation,” said Endsworth. “It is the constant that shapes our style, our personality. Angela Estate has incredible potential to be a formidable Oregon winery on the world stage.”
After a career in modern dance, traveling the globe performing, Thomas decided to go back to school and attended CSU Fresno in the enology program. It was there he fell in love with Pinot noir. From Fresno, he began yet another journey across the globe: first to California’s Anderson Valley, then to New Zealand, and finally to Oregon. After four years at Ponzi Vineyards, Thomas was offered the opportunity to express himself at Anne Amie Vineyards. With the creativity of a former dancer, the eye of a scientist, and the zeal of a home brewer, he makes wines that feed his enthusiasm, happy he can still use words like balance, grace, power, elegance, and style. These words that once described his dancing, now describe his wines.
Antica Terra is an 11-acre vineyard located on a rocky hillside in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The first vines were planted here in 1989 in a clearing within the oak savannah. The geology of the site is extremely unusual. In most of the region, vineyards are planted in the relatively deep, geologically young soils left behind by either the Missoula floods or the volcanic events that formed the Cascade Range. In this place, the remains of a far older pre-historic seabed rise to the surface, leaving the vines to struggle, without topsoil, amongst a fractured mixture of sandstone sown with fossilized oyster shells. In 2005 when Maggie Harrison was asked if she would simply take a look at the vineyard and offer her opinion about the qualities of the site. She reluctantly agreed. Twenty-six seconds after arriving among the oaks, fossils, and stunted vines, she found herself hunched beneath one of the trees, phone in hand, explaining to her husband that they would be moving to Oregon.
Owner & Winemaker
Established in 1999, Apolloni Vineyards is a family-owned vineyard and winery situated at the North end of the Willamette Valley. Our location provides a superb microclimate and suitable soil for the cultivation of premium Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc grapes. We specialize in traditional Pinot Noir and stainless steel fermented white wines. Alfredo Apolloni developed his passion for winemaking as a young man, working at the family vineyard in Italy. These Italian roots have a strong influence on his winemaking style and attention to detail. The wines of Apolloni Vineyards represent the best of old world tradition, brought to the soil of Oregon. Alfredo, his wife Laurine and their three children share in this family adventure.
Nate was appointed to winemaker at Argyle Winery in March of 2013 after serving as Argyle’s enologist since 2005. While studying food science at the University of Minnesota, he developed a budding interest in wine production. After getting a taste of the industry at Falconer Vineyards along the Mississippi River in Red Wing, MN, he packed up his beat-up Acura Integra and drove west to Dundee, OR. Starting as a harvest intern and quickly promoted to enologist, Nate studied under the tutelage of the legendary, Rollin Soles. Quickly falling in love with the sparkling winemaking process, Nate embraces the year round challenges sparkling wine production entails. As he has learned from Rollin, he believes that making great sparkling wine carries over and improves the winemaking techniques for still Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Riesling. A firm believer in ageability, Nate constructs wines that drink well when young, but also build depth and complexity with time. He has also worked in Australia at Petaluma and Knappstein wineries, developing a keen interest in Clare Valley Riesling.
Owner & Winemaker
Brian O’Donnell began his winemaking career in New York City in the 6th grade when he pilfered some Concord grapes from a neighbor's arbor. After the ensuing hangover, he went into retirement for about 20 years until he started making wine for family & friends in his garage in San Jose, CA. These early efforts included Russian River Pinot Noir from a friend’s vineyard. His career path then followed the time-honored tradition from hobby to hobby-out-of-control to a commercial venture. During that time Brian attended extension classes at UC Davis, and spent the 1995 harvest in Alsace & Burgundy. Smitten with Pinot Noir, Brian and his wife Jill founded Belle Pente in 1992 with the purchase of a 70-acre farm just east of Carlton in what is now the heart of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. Vineyards were planted starting in 1994, and their first commercial production of Pinot Noir was in 1996. Since the beginning, the goal has been to craft old world styled wines of impeccable balance and seductive complexity that reflect a strong sense of place. Carefully selected and well managed dry-farmed vineyards, staggered harvesting, meticulous hand sorting, small lot fermentations, 100% gravity processing, indigenous yeasts, finished wine moved directly-to-barrel (no settling), cold cellar temperatures to delay malolactic fermentation, long elevage, moderate use of new oak, and bottling without fining or filtration are among the techniques utilized to achieve this goal. Brian is active in several Oregon wine community groups and currently serves on the boards on the Yamhill-Carlton Winegrowers and the Willamette Valley Wineries Association.
Steve and Carol Girard founded Benton-Lane in 1988. They shared a passionate desire to produce great Pinot Noir but, after careful consideration, decided their home state California was probably not the best place in which to grow it. Instead they looked north towards Oregon where the cooler climate offered the possibility of producing Pinot Noir with better balance, structure, and more interesting flavors.
President & Marketing Director
Pat Dudley is President and Marketing Director of Bethel Heights Vineyard. As one of the four founding family members who have operated Bethel Heights since 1978, Pat left behind an academic career in medieval history to focus on promoting and marketing Bethel Heights estate grown wines, deliberately building on the collaborative model that has established international recognition for the Willamette Valley as the home of New World Pinot Noir. Pat served as Executive Director of the International Pinot Noir Celebration for five years (1992-1996), then went on to become one of the founders of Oregon Pinot Camp, serving on the Board of Directors from 2000 through 2009. She has also served on the Oregon Wine Board and the Oregon State Board of Agriculture, with a particular interest in forwarding the cause of farmland preservation and sustainable agriculture in Oregon.
Founding Winemaker & Managing Partner
A graduate of the University of North Carolina in Chemistry and English, he developed a passion for wine that was ultimately rooted when he purchased land for his first vineyard, Ridgecrest Vineyards, in 1980. Ridgecrest was the first vineyard development in Oregon’s Ribbon Ridge AVA. In 1990, Harry founded Chehalem and within five years expanded the winery’s estate vineyards to include Corral Creek Vineyards and Stoller Vineyards in the southern Dundee Hills, developed by his Chehalem partners Bill and Cathy Stoller. Another vineyard, Wind Ridge, has since been planted in the mid-2000s on Ribbon Ridge. A self-professed science geek, Harry prides himself on technically characterizing the black box of grapegrowing and winemaking, then thinking outside of that box to make unique, precise wines.
Lisa and Scott Neal moved to Oregon in 1998 to follow their desire to grow and make Pinot Noir. During a preliminary visit the property was found off the beaten path in a beautiful secluded valley in the McMinnville AVA. The first time they walked the property they knew it was their future. Upon researching the soils extensively and walking every inch of the property it was determined it would become the place where the sun would rise and set for them. What once was a heartache, a large immovable rock in the shape of a heart above Renelle’s Block, has now become our name sake, Coeur de Terre, a rough French translation of “Heart of the Earth”. Their namesake has become their mantra in the commitment to farming the land organically and keeping in the forefront of their minds at all times that they are only stewards of the land. Scott is the Winemaker/Winegrower and Lisa is Winegrower/Operations Manager.
Marketing & Sales Director
During the 7th harvest at Cooper Mountain, Bob and Corrine woke up one morning to find Barbara missing. It turns out she had not gone far, she was out in the vineyards walking down the rows munching on the harvest. Thus began her love affair with Pinot Noir. As the years passed the dedication has evolved and it has been noted that her wine education needs to be expanded past Oregon Pinot Noirs. Like that stubborn child she was way back when, she scoffs at that notion. A grad of the University of Oregon she has joined the team to support winery operations and production: sales, marketing, PR, administrative, vineyard and cellar. Her energy, personal good taste and desire to help the family winery succeed are infectious as she travels throughout the country. Currently she sits on the board for the Demeter Biodynamic Trade Association as well as the Chehalem Mountains Winegrowers Association and Oregon Pinot Camp.
Owner & Winemaker
Passionate, creative, driven to excellence in his art; Joe Dobbes is the consummate winemaker. Joe is a true Oregonian, raised in a small town in the north Willamette Valley and educated in Ashland. Yet his calling began outside Oregon, in Germany and France, where Joe spent 2 ½ years learning the art and science of winemaking. He apprenticed at Wiengut Erbhof Tesch, in the German Nahe region, and at Domaine G. Roumier and Domaine Comtes Lafon in Burgundy, France, with winemasters Christophe Roumier and Dominique Lafon. Joe returned to Oregon and immediately applied his knowledge, experience, and passion for winemaking crafting wine for Elk Cove Vineyards, Eola Hills, Hinman/Sylvan Ridge, Paschal Winery, and Willamette Valley Vineyards including Griffin Creek and Tualatin Estate. In 2002, Joe created Wine By Joe, LLC, producing the handcrafted wines of Dobbes Family Estate, Wine By Joe and Jovino Pinot Noir.
Director of Sales & Marketing
Natalie Sigafoos first became immersed in the wine world when she was living in the Ojai Valley in CA – the Santa Barbara wine scene was just breaking out while Natalie was working at local restaurants tasting and selling their wines, and she was hooked from the beginning. Over the next dozen years she worked as a restaurant sommelier, creating wine programs from New York to Napa Valley. She moved from Napa to the Willamette Valley 10 years ago and has settled into the local wine scene. Natalie has opened and run the tasting room and sales programs for three prestigious Willamette Valley wineries. Currently, in addition to managing our national sales, she is in the process of working with John Carter to design the tasting room for Dusky Goose at the Rambouillet Vineyard in the heart of the Dundee Hills. Groundbreaking has just begun, look for an opening in late summer!
VP of Sales & Marketing
Shirley has been working at Elk Cove since March of 2000. She travels the globe as brand ambassador for Elk Cove in markets new and old. Shirley is an active supporter of the Oregon wine industry and has served as a board member for both Oregon Pinot Camp and the Oregon Wine Board Export Committee. In her free time, you’ll find her outdoors enjoying one of Oregon’s great hiking trails or rivers. By all means, do not disparage her Detroit Red Wings!
Gary is winemaker for Erath Winery, one of Oregon’s pioneering Pinot noir producers and the first winery in the Dundee Hills. Gary’s interest in wine evolved in the mid 1980’s while working as a clinical pharmacist. Selling his motorcycle to buy home winemaking equipment, a new career was born. In 1988 he moved to the Willamette Valley where he started making wine commercially at various wineries, including Bethel Heights, Witness Tree and Benton-Lane. Joining Erath in 2003, Gary is committed to creating high quality wines by carefully balancing tradition with the latest winemaking technology, melding artistry with science. Respectful of the delicacy of Pinot noir, he avoids over-extraction and is judicious about barrel selection, thus showcasing the wine’s soft, fruit forward characteristics. Gary’s winemaking philosophy is “commitment to making the best Pinot Noir this region has to offer – it’s time-honored, authentic and uniquely Oregon.”
Co-Owner & Co-Winemaker
Et Fille, which means “and daughter”, honors the hand-in-hand team of Co-Owners and Co-Winemakers Howard Mozeico and daughter Jessica Mozeico. The two founded Et Fille Wines in 2003. Jessica grew up around winemaking as Howard started making Oregon wines as a hobby when Jessica was growing up. She fell in love with wine while visiting Burgundy to celebrate her twenty first birthday with her parents because, “Who wouldn’t lose their heart to Burgundy?” asks Jessica. That trip instigated her love of Pinot Noir, though it was a passion she cultivated from the sidelines for years. Meanwhile, she pursued an undergraduate degree from Hamilton College, a MBA from Wharton at the University of Pennsylvania, and a career in biotechnology marketing while living in New York and San Francisco. Finally, Jessica and Howard decided to co-found and operate Et Fille Wines together. Jessica says this is important because having two people involved in each stage of the winemaking process allows them to bring two perspectives- and two palates- to their wines. Jessica feels fortunate to create Oregon Pinot Noir to share with others, work with her dad, and be a part of the collaborative and encouraging Oregon wine community.
Willy was raised in Woodstock, New York during the 1960s and 1970s amongst many prominent artists, musicians, poets and writers. It left an imprint of creative artistry, another key ingredient to fine winemaking. After attempting to grow wine grapes in cold Vermont he relocated his family to Oregon in 1987 and purchased land in rural Washington County hill country about an hours drive southwest of Portland. Planting the vineyard began in 1988 and the winery was constructed during the summer of 1998, just in time for the first commercial crush.
As a sixteen-year veteran of the Oregon wine industry, winemaker Drew Voit is intimately familiar with exceptional vineyard sites. While serving as the Associate Winemaker at Domaine Serene Winery, and then as Winemaker for Shea Wine Cellars, he worked with some of the best vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Harper Voit is the logical progression of that work: seeking out great sites, excellent fruit, and long-term relationships with growers. Drew also consults for a number of wineries in the Willamette Valley and operates a custom winemaking operation for small ultra-pemium brands.
From Minnesota dreams in 1998 to Oregon Wine Country reality, the Pelos Sandberg families have come a long way and learned an awful lot in 15 years. iOTA Cellars produces elegant Pinot noir from its onsite winery located at Pelos Sandberg Vineyard Estate, nestled in the Eola-Amity Hills. Our wines are hand-crafted with 100% estate grown, sustainably farmed fruit for a total production under 1500 cases.
Ron Lachini, owner, is Chief Caretaker of their family-owned winery & Biodynamically-farmed Estate vineyard on the backdrop of the Chehalem Mountains in the N. Willamette Valley. In addition, Lachini works with a selected group of exceptional vineyards that embody “winegrowing” and share similar holistic farming practices – including those in Washington’s Red Mountains AVA & Sonoma Coast AVA. The Lachini Family believes that the vineyard is the wine. Their goal remains to nurture their 45-acre vineyard’s distinctive terroir through meticulous management of each vine in order to produce world class Pinot Noirs of prodigious quality for generations to come.
Owner & Winemaker, Owner & CEO
Twenty-five years ago, Don and Wendy Lange founded their winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon’s northern Willamette Valley. The year 1987 marked the Langes’ first vintage and consisted of the three varietals they embrace today: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay. New-world pioneers in the production of Pinot Gris, Lange Estate was the first to release a barrel-fermented reserve–an effort Matt Kramer of the Wine Spectator calls “a bench-mark bottling.” Don Lange’s work as a winemaker has been termed “brilliant” by Hugh Johnson, and the Wine Enthusiast proclaimed Lange Estate to be “one of the great Pinot Noir producers in the United States.”
Suzanne is the mother figure of Left Coast Cellars. As a college student, she was fortunate to combine her studies with life in Italy, canning tomatoes for a mean pasta sauce, gathering porcini mushrooms and bringing in and stomping grapes for that ever-memorable, unlabeled house wine. A few years later, with clothing and books to her name, three years in France firmly planted the Pinot bug in her future. While the estate of 356 acres is best known for the wine that carries her daughter's name, Cali's Cuvée, current vintage Suzanne's Estate Reserve, a barrel select, is catching up, awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator.
Lia's Vineyard is located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA and supplies grapes to some of Oregon's leading wineries. Each year a small amount of fruit from select parcels is held back to make Longplay Wine. The tagline “analog wine for a digital world – no overdubbing, no remixing” communicates the philosophy of old-school winemaking, seeking to capture the essence of the vineyard in each bottle. A UW grad born in Seattle, Grower Todd Hansen enjoys sharing his wines with people who appreciate the subtleties of Oregon Pinot noir and Chardonnay.
Mike joined in the Home-Brew Revolution in his home state of Texas in 1993 and began brewing in earnest. This love of fermented beverage culminated in a trip to Corvallis, Oregon, to attend a Fermentation Science course at the University of Oregon in 1997. On a field trip to the professor’s house, Mike was introduced to home winemaking and back-yard viticulture. With his interest piqued, he joined his friend for working harvests in Oregon starting in 1998, and became hooked on the Willamette Valley wine scene. In 2006 he bought a vineyard on Cummins Road in Carlton, Oregon, under contract to Owen Roe, which allowed him to make his first four barrels of wine while selling the rest of the grapes. The Merriman Estate 2006 received a 90 from the Wine Spectator, and the decision was made to sell fewer grapes and make more wine. The majority of the grapes are still sold to Owen Roe, who make their Merriman Vineyard, Kilmore, and Sharecroppers from the grapes. Production of Merriman Estate, the second label Cummins Road, as well as a Rose of Pinot Noir has reached 2000 cases by harvest 2013.
Currently the General Manager of Montinore Estate, a 230 acre, biodynamic winery in the northwest Willamette Valley, Kristin grew up working on her family’s winery on the east coast. She took a break from the wine business to get her degree while developing her culinary skills by working in restaurants and as a private chef on both coasts. After settling in Portland, Oregon, Kristin managed the marketing and events for several Portland area businesses and restaurants. She joined the Montinore team in 2006 to work alongside her father Rudy and has since been responsible for its sales, marketing and much of the day to day operations. Currently Kristin sits on the Board of Directors for the Willamette Valley Winery Association and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.
The seventh of twelve children, David O’Reilly grew up in Belfast with memorable visits to his relatives in rural County Cavan. Life there was made all the more tranquil for him by the distance from sectarian strife and the introduction of fresh farm products. He quickly discovered the beauty of small scale subsistence farming where after a long day in the fields, the extended family gathered for meals that were wholly obtained from local environs. Forced out of their home during the troubles, the brood made its home in North America settling in the central coast of British Columbia. He realized a different beauty with stunning mountains, amazing fishing, and again, subsistence living. After studying classics at Thomas Aquinas College in the Central Coast of California he and his young wife Angelica searched for a way to satisfy their mutual desire to raise from the soil to the table a marketable product. They chanced upon some vineyards in California and a match was made. Not only did they start Owen Roe winery they also have been raising their family of eight children.
As Winemaker and Vineyard Manager, Derek tends and shapes Patton Valley grapes from bud break to bottle. Raised in the Napa Valley, Derek felt drawn to wine making, but the road to Patton Valley took some twists and turns. He studied sculpture at the University of Redlands before moving to Portland to work in the arts. While biding time as a server at McMenamins Kennedy School, Derek took to brewing, practicing the brewer’s art and science first at McMenamins, then at the Alameda Brewhouse, and finally at Bridgeport Brewing Company. Many batches of beer later, Derek found himself slowly pulled toward wine, working harvest positions at Vietti in Northern Italy, Joseph Phelps and Twomey Cellars in California, and Domaine Serene in the Willamette Valley. These positions led to a job as Lemelson Vineyard’s Cellarmaster where he remained until 2010, when Derek joined Patton Valley. When Derek’s not making wine, he’s brewing beer, making references to The Big Lebowski, working on his house, playing with son Crosby and dog Penny, spending time outdoors, traveling, and even making sculpture once in a great while.
Founder & Winemaker
Lynn grew up in the Washington, D.C. area, so when it came time to choose a college she decided to explore her options on the opposite coast. The University of California at Davis provided the perfect answer and it was there that her love of winemaking was born. While at Davis, Lynn worked several vintages at Domaine Chandon and one for Chateau St. Jean. After four harvests she was hooked and she changed her major to fermentation science. A post-graduation job offer from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars sealed her fate and Lynn spent the next four years working as their enologist and off-site (Hawkcrest) winemaker. In 1988, Paul Hart, then owner of Rex Hill Vineyards, offered her the job of winemaker. Fourteen years later in 2002, Lynn left her position at Rex Hill to pursue full-time, with her husband Ron, the dream of owning a winery and vineyard. Penner-Ash Wine Cellars’ gravity flow winery has been showcased by Practical Vineyard and Winery Magazine, in addition to numerous other industry publications. Lynn and her family have traveled and tasted their way through the vineyards of Burgundy, Australia, New Zealand, Tasmania, Germany, and Switzerland, and most recently with the thought of global climate change in mind, went trekking in search of potential vineyard sites at Base Camp on Mt Everest (18,500 ft) and Kilimanjaro (19,400 ft).
President / Director of Sales and Marketing
Maria, second generation vintner, is President and Director of Sales and Marketing of Ponzi Vineyards, located in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. The winery was founded in 1970 by her parents Dick and Nancy Ponzi. Growing up the daughter of a pioneering wine family, Maria has had the rare advantage of being directly involved in all areas of the wine business. Seeing the region grow firsthand, she gained a depth of knowledge that allows her to uniquely serve the state’s wine industry. Her current focus is growing the family business in the modern age of global wine sales. Maria oversees the winery’s three tasting rooms, national distribution and exports. She has been operating the company with her sister, the winemaker, for over 20 years. A graduate from the School of Journalism at the University of Oregon in 1987, her studies included a year each at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and the Universita per Stranieri in Perugia, Italy. Post-graduation, Maria worked in the publishing industry in Boston before returning home to the wine business.
Distribution Sales & Market Development
Born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, Tom packed up his truck and sense of adventure and moved to Oregon in 1999. He discovered his passion for wine living in the Pacific Northwest. This enthusiasm grew from his love of entertaining and sharing meals with friends around a table. Performing distribution sales and market development for Raptor Ridge Winery, he travels the country teaching people about what makes Raptor Ridge and Oregon so extraordinary. When not on the road, he can be found exploring Portland’s exciting food and wine scene, or urban hiking with his Boston Terrier, Frances.
A native Oregonian, Cathy and her late husband Bill's wine interest began in the mid 80's after tasting wines produced by the “four pioneers”. Active in the Oregon wine community and longing to grow their own grapes and make their own wine, Cathy and Bill purchased their farm on Ribbon Ridge Road in Newberg in 2004. They planted 17 acres of Pinot Noir, 2 acres of Chardonnay, 1.5 acres of Pinot Blanc and 1 acre of Arneis, 22 acres total. They began producing wine from the Redman Vineyard in 2008. Upon Bill's sudden passing from cancer in 2009, Adelsheim Vineyard began producing wines for Redman and farming the vineyard. Redman wines is 100% estate grown, sustainably farmed, production is 700 cases. You will find Cathy in the Redman winery greeting tasters and selling Redman Wines.
Founder, Director of Viticulture & Winemaking
Sam graduated from Washington and Lee with an East Asian Studies degree that he uses on a daily basis in the winery. After traveling through Central Asia for a year he settled down working in the wineries and vineyards of Burgundy for two years and managed to bluff his way to a post-graduate degree in winemaking from the University de Dijon. He worked with Ted Lemon at Littorai, and then served as Winemaker at Archery Summit for seven years. In 2002, the time was ripe to strike out for further fame, glory and new horizons in the form of A to Z Wineworks with his wife, Cheryl Francis, and Bill and Deb Hatcher. A to Z quickly became Oregon’s fastest growing winery and in 2007 purchased the legacy winery, REX HILL. Sam and Cheryl own a biodynamic vineyard and also make Francis Tannahill wines. Sam served six years and two terms as the chair and president of the Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Winegrower’s Association and currently serves on the boards of the Oregon Wine Research Institute, the Willamette Valley Wineries Association and the Oregon Business Association.
While Justin studied enology and viticulture for several years, he has found himself at home in sales and marketing. He spent six years with Reininger Winery in Washington where he moved into National Sales and also served a a Consulting sales Rep for Vin De Garde Wines. We're also told that he has and “encyclopedic” memory for fine wines from around the world. It's fun to challenge that myth and see where it takes you. Today you'll find Justin visiting one of of ROCO's 33 national markets sharing ROCO with thousands.
Scott Paul Wright is the former Managing Director of Domaine Drouhin Oregon, which he joined after a thirty-year career in the radio and record industries. At one time, he was the most-listened-to radio personality in America, known as Shadow Steele or Shadow Stevens. Scott and his wife Martha founded Scott Paul Wines in 1999. A native of Chicago, Scott is a soccer fanatic and supports Arsenal in the English Premier League. He’s also the US importer for 30 of the top wineries in Burgundy and Champagne, and spends several weeks each year in France working directly with his producers.
Byron fell in love with wine in college at Oregon State University, continued to explore wine throughout a career in technology, and followed a winding road back to Oregon to make the kinds of wines he loves. He has traveled around the world exploring wines from different regions, and sees it as more of a passion than a job. His enthusiasm, dedication, meticulousness, devotion to wine, and integrity in the winemaking process are only a few of the qualities that make Byron an excellent winemaker.
Shea Wine Cellars is the winemaking effort of grape growers Dick & Deirdre Shea. After ten years of selling all our grapes production we decided to create our own expression of Shea Vineyard terroir. We now use 25% of Shea Vineyard's production for our own effort and sell the remaining grapes to some of the finest Pinot noir producers in Oregon and California. At Shea Wine Cellars, it is our intention to continue to make small quantities of world class Pinot noir and Chardonnay.
Co-President & Second-Generation Winegrower
Alison Sokol Blosser, daughter of Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, remembers being small enough to climb into the press to help her father clean it during harvest. She decided that while the actual winemaking wasn’t her thing, the family vineyard and winery were in her blood. After getting her MBA at the University of Washington and spending three years working in public relations and marketing communications with startups and consumer branding giants, such as Nike and Nordstrom, she came home to Sokol Blosser in 2004 as Director of Marketing. Now a Co-President, Alison works with Alex to plan the strategic future of the business and also oversees marketing, sales, and administrative functions, including accounting, finance and human resources. Alison is involved in the Oregon wine industry as a board member of Oregon Pinot Camp, founding board member of the Dundee Hills Winegrowers Association, as well as a member of Women for Winesense. Alison has a son, Dario, and a standard poodle, Twix. She recently married Javier Zamora, Assistant General Counsel for NIKE, which is based in Beaverton, Oregon.
Born in the Philippines, Leo Gabica traveled to America in search of his own “American Dream”. Mesmerized by the Oregon landscape, and the delicious Willamette Valley wines, Leo decided to put down roots in Eugene. Hired on by Sylvan Ridge in 2000, Leo spent the next five years as the Cellar Master. Dan Smith, Owner of Sweet Cheeks Winery, invited Leo to join the Sweet Cheeks team as the Assistant Winemaker. Leo spent eight years assisting in developing the Sweet Cheeks winemaking program. In 2013, Leo was promoted to the role of lead Winemaker. Leo gives back to his community by coaching youth athletic teams in the winter and spring. To balance his busy life, he also spends time with his family, including wife Geena, and children Ivy, Ian, and Imory, while continuously raising the bar on Sweet Cheeks wines each vintage.
Jacques Tardy joined the Torii Mor team as head winemaker late in 2004. As a native of Nuits Saint Georges in Burgundy, France, Jacques brings five generations of winemaking heritage to the table. Trained in Viticulture and Enology at the prestigious Lycee Viticole de Beaune, Tardy migrated to California in 1982. By 1990, he had worked his way up to the blossoming wine region of the Willamette Valley. In the fall of 2004, Jacques came on with Torii Mor to fulfill his desire to make world-class Pinot Noir. Since then, Jacques’ wines have earned numerous accolades and have helped brand Torii Mor as one of the most accomplished producers of Burgundian style Pinot Noir. With an emphasis on elegance and restraint, Jacques’ style of winemaking embodies the concept of terroir.
John and Linda Lenyo were born, raised, and married in New Jersey and, after living in multiple states across the country, finally settled in Oregon in 1996. John had become a huge Pinot fan along the way and, while touring Oregon’s wine country, he decided to buy a vineyard. The Lenyo family moved into a gorgeous 23 acre property in just outside of Carlton right before harvest of 1998. Over the next few years 7.5 acres of Pinot Noir were added to the existing 5 acres of Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris and the first wines were produced from the 2003 vintage. John has been making the wine at ADEA Wine Company in Gaston since 2005, and we just moved our tasting room to downtown Carlton in April 2014.
As head of Van Duzer's winemaking program, Florent-Pierre “Flo” Merlier embraces cool climate wines that are elegant, vibrant and expressive. To achieve the desired refinement, Merlier has driven the focus on small lot processes, and sorting and gentle handling. A native of Burgundy, France, the physics and chemistry undergraduate was captivated by winemaking when he helped a good friend operate a 40 acre family domaine in Burgundy. He subsequently altered his career path from cinema to wine and in the process met his wife, Krista, an Oregonian, interning at the same winery. Merlier capped his study at the University of Dijon with a Diploma of Viticulture before relocating to the U.S. in 2009.
Dave moved to Oregon in ’92 for graduate school in cartography at Portland State. He fell into wine years later, after his folks-in-law purchased Panther Creek. The 2000 harvest proved to be the first of many for Dave, testing his forklift, welding, electrical and engineering skills while outfitting him with the enological experience to eventually take the helm at Vista Hills Vineyard. Here, he employs a minimalistic cellar approach, allowing the wine to reveal itself as opposed to being overly manipulated. “The great strength of Oregon Pinot Noir is in its unique ability to express vintage and vineyard,” Petterson often says. He adheres to this philosophy today, thirteen vintages later.
Fresh out of school with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Michael happened upon a harvest job in 2001 at Willakenzie Estate under the instruction of Laurent Montalieu and Thibaud Mandet. Although his days were spent with the most menial tasks of wine production the process as a whole captivated him. Michael recalls, “It was then I discovered that wine is this amazing confluence of agriculture, science, art, culture, history and pleasure. I never looked back.” Today, he carefully and lovingly crafts the Walnut City WineWorks family of wines including his own Lundeen and Genius Loci labels, with the great fortune to work with a broad palette of excellent vineyard sites across the Northern Willamette Valley.
Ariel Eberle was born and raised in Oregon, although it took her living in Seoul, Korea to truly appreciate the bounty of the Willamette Valley. In preparation for going into the field of medicine she studied Biology and Chemistry at Oregon State University, where she graduated in 2004. After a few years of working at clinics, hospitals and abroad, she realized that medicine wasn't for her; simultaneously her interest in wine and vineyards grew. She started her winemaking career at Yamhill Valley Vineyards as a harvest intern in 2008, and has worked her way up to Assistant Winemaker today. Ariel has worked two harvests in New Zealand; one at Palliser Estate in Martinborough in 2009, and one at Chard Farm in Central Otago in 2010. Additionally, she has worked at a number of other wineries in the Willamette Valley, helping out with sales, farmers markets and winemaking. Her responsibilities at Yamhill Valley Vineyards include overseeing all stages of the winemaking, training harvest staff, managing the website, field sales, laboratory practices, etc. Ariel recently started her own wine label and is always working toward continuing her education at Chemeketa Wine Center and other various seminars.
Founder & Winemaker
Dr. John Zelko comes from a family of doctors. His father was an ophthalmologist and was always disappointed that he didn’t follow his career path, (but at least his brother did). John and his wife Kathy moved to Oregon in 1983 from Hawaii filled with romanitic visions from Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion”, perhaps the greatest Oregon book ever written. Looking for a lush landscape of frontier and promise they sought out experiences that were fresh, cool and offered a hint of craziness. They became enamored of the local wines and at the request of a good friend, Rachel Starr, they spent several years as part-time “cellar rats” helping her make wine and learning what it takes to produce a superb vintage. Eventually John and Kathy bought a ton or two of Pinot Noir from lesser known vineyards and made their first wine in Linton. This went on from 1992 to 1999 when Starr Winery moved to Newberg. By 1995, the insanity was in full fever and they purchased 40 acres of exceptional land in the Eola-Amity Hills in the north Willamette Valley. This is where their estate vineyard was planted in 1996 and where Z’IVO was born.