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!):
Co-Founder & President
David Adelsheim is President of Adelsheim Vineyard, which he founded with Ginny Adelsheim in 1971. His principal role today is strategic planning, focused on marketing and sales, financial planning, and over‐all direction of vineyard and winemaking activities. His early winemaking experience included work at the experimental winery of the Lycée Viticole in Beaune, France, and the Eyrie Vineyards in Oregon. On behalf of the Oregon wine industry, he has led work on clonal importation, wine labeling regulations, establishing statewide and regional industry organizations, and the creation of industry events, such as the International Pinot Noir Celebration and Oregon Pinot Camp. As one of the founders of the Oregon wine industry, he helped set standards of excellence for that industry. For his significant impact on the establishment and growth of the Oregon wine industry, he as been named the 2006 Oregon Vintner of the Year at the Classic Wines Auction and a 2010 Oregon History Maker by the Oregon Historical Society, as well as being honored with the 2012 Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oregon Wine Board.
“Oregon is Minnesota-friendly with few mosquitoes, GREAT WINE, and rain that requires no shoveling!” This is how this Minnesota transplant described her two years as USWest's general manager for Oregon. In 1997, after a 22-year telephone career, she sold her lifetime supply of pantyhose and bought Airlie Winery along with the 30-acre Dunn Forest Vineyard. With winemaker Elizabeth Clark, a vision of sustainability that includes farming principles, employees, customers, and the animals we share our homes with is at Airlie's core. A lifestyle that combines dedication, work with play, and a commitment to share our good fortune with others has Mary living her dream!
Winemaker/Owner & Owner
Alloro Vineyard is 70 acres of uniquely contoured, loess-derived, Laurelwood soil. Located on a southwest-facing slope in Oregon's Chehalem Mountains, this special place is the heart and soul of our wines and is personally cared for by founder David Nemarnik. We are an artisan, limited-production producer and are 100-percent estate. Educated at UC Davis, Burgundy trained winemaker Tom Fitzpatrick believes that a wine should be “an expression of place, at a moment in time” and should therefore capture the unique personality of a site as it is expressed in each vintage. Single vineyard, terroir-driven wines that reflect this philosophy are what you'll find at Alloro.
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.
Lorne Mews has been working with Benton-Lane winery owners Steve and Carol Girard for over 12 years. First, he served as cellar master for a couple of years in the 1990s and then he returned in 2003 as the National Sales Manager after selling international wines in the wholesale distribution channel. He was promoted to Vice President in 2009 and continues his role overseeing national and international sales as well as being a part of the winemaking team at Benton-Lane. Lorne has also achieved the credentials of Certified Wine Educator and completed level three of the Wine and Spirit Education Trust with distinction.
Owner & Winemaker
Bergstrom Wines is a family owned and operated artisan producer of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay which was started in 1999 by Dr. John and Karen Bergstrom, with the help of their son Josh Bergstrom and his wife Caroline. Josh is general manager, vineyard manager and winemaker and pulls his expertise from his education in Burgundy France and his experience making wines in Oregon's Northern Willamette Valley. Bergstrom focuses on hand-crafting small lots of wines from their five estate vineyards carefully chosen from five of Oregon's six high-quality wine-growing appellations. All estate acreage is farmed certified biodynamic and all wines express the wonderful diversity of Oregon's many great terroirs.
Owner & Winemaker
Clare Carver co-owner of big table farm. In addition to partnering with Brian to produce and market the wine, Clare manages their 70-acre farm. Clare is also a painter and wine label designer. Her fine art is represented in Galleries in San Francisco, Sonoma and Oregon. Clare has designed wine labels for over 70 wineries from Oregon, California and Washington.
Owner & Winemaker
Stewart grew up in the Seattle suburbs, earned a master’s degree in engineering physics, and began making wine at home while launching his career at Intel. His fascination with and passion for Oregon Pinot Noir began when he moved to Oregon in 1992. The Oregon wine industry was experiencing a renaissance, learning new farming techniques and producing elegant, ethereal Pinot Noirs. Stewart began volunteering in exchange for knowledge at a number of well established Oregon wineries, enrolled in winemaking classes at UC Davis and at Chemeketa and eventually founded Boedecker Cellars with Athena in 2003. Now producing over 6,500 cases of critically acclaimed wines per year, Stewart is a winemaker, wholesale manager, mad scientist, traditionalist, community supporter and one very tired individual.
Owner & Winemaker
We are a family owned and operated winery and vineyard growing and making Oregon Pinot Noir. Our goal is to consistently produce dynamic and outstanding wines that are true expressions of the place where they are grown and made. We have been hand crafting wines for 28 years, and are very appreciative of what Oregon wines have to offer. We look forward to sharing our wines with you every vintage!
Patrick Taylor is a Libra, enjoys gardening in the rain, and drinks Campari & soda. He plans to retire at the age of 80 to a life of sailing and making sherry. Other interesting facts: After completing his Bachelors and Masters Degrees in viticulture and oenology from Oregon State University, he worked several harvests for Willamette Valley producers Andrew Rich and Benton Lane, as well as with Nepenthe Winery in Adelaide Hills, Australia. Patrick served briefly as assistant winemaker at Torii Mor before joining Cana’s Feast Winery in 2004 as the assistant to Gino Cuneo. In 2007, he was given the roll of winemaker. Taylor also produces vermouths under his label Hammer & Tongs, and is co-owner of an Oregon cooperative label known as Guild Winemakers.
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.
Cornerstone Oregon is a collaboration between Cornerstone Napa’s Craig Camp and renowned Oregon winemaker Tony Rynders. Camp’s passion for pinot was born thirty years ago when he began importing the Burgundy selections of Rebecca Wasserman and made frequent trips to the Burgundy estates she was discovering. Tony Rynders, as winemaker for ten years at Oregon’s Domaine Serene winery, is one one of the most respected winemakers not only in the Northwest, but in the United States. His string of highly rated Oregon Pinot Noir is unmatched.
President & Assistant Winemaker
My parents honored their children by naming their winery and vineyards after my sister Christine and me. In many ways, Cristom and I have grown up together. When Cristom crushed its first fruit I was only eight years old. Some of my best childhood memories were here and I can still remember tying baby vines in our newly planted vineyards. My greatest teachers are Cristom’s Steve Doerner and Mark Feltz. I couldn’t hand pick better mentors and I consider myself extremely blessed to be able to work with them. I believe Cristom’s greatest strength is the team that my parents have built over the past two decades. They have chosen remarkable people to help make Cristom into the winery it is today and I am overwhelmingly grateful to be part of their team. In my free time I enjoy fly fishing, playing basketball, traveling and reading.
David Millman joined DDO in 2004 after a 20-year career in the music business, working for several record companies and eventually running his own public relations and marketing firm. In addition to his duties with DDO, David has served on several boards, and has been Board President of both the International Pinot Noir Celebration and Oregon Pinot Camp. He is active in supporting the Salud Auction, and frequently serves on industry committees.
Growing up in Northern California, Ryan Harris has always been surrounded by great wine. It wasn’t until college, however, that he began to see his future in the industry. Working as a rep for a local distributor, Ryan cultivated both his palate and passion for wine. After graduating from the University of California, Berkley with a degree in Integrative Biology, Ryan moved from the distribution of wine to working for wineries, proving his leadership skills and drive for excellence. Working with and developing major labels throughout the United States, Ryan also received his WSET advanced certification and Court of Master Sommeliers, Sommelier Level 1. Today Ryan continues this enthusiasm, bringing his expertise to Domaine Serene. Leading by example, building a strong team, and assisting his employees to reach their full potential, Ryan exemplifies Domaine Serene’s philosophy of ‘continuous improvement’. Ryan and Tracy, his wife, just had their first child, a daughter, Madison. On the weekends you can find the family exploring the Pacific Northwest and uncovering the bounty that it has to offer with their dog, Chelsea, in tow.
At Dukes Family Vineyards, our wines are hand crafted in small lots from fruit sourced solely from our Eola-Amity Hills vineyard. Winemaking is undertaken each vintage with an eye to a minimalist approach in order to allow the full expression of the unique intricacies of the growing season and the terroir characteristics of our Eola-Amity Hills AVA vineyard to shine through. As conservators of the land, we maintain a commitment to low-impact, ecologically sound sustainability in the farming methodologies and to the continual improvement of the vineyard environment. Our vineyards are Sustainable and Salmon Safe certified by LIVE. The wines of Dukes Family Vineyards are food friendly, elegant rather than overstated.
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!
Owner & Winemaker
Owner and winemaker Adam Campbell is a second-generation winemaker for one of Oregon's oldest family-farmed wineries. In 2014 the Campbell family celebrates 40 years of growing grapes in Oregon. Adam has a tremendous respect for the land on which the grapes were grown, insisting that “High quality wine really starts in the vineyard. Good winemaking is a mixture of art and science… But at the end of the day I need great vineyard sites and impeccable farming to make phenomenal wines.” Handcrafting wines from their 5 vineyard sites in the Chehalem Mountains and Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Adam uses a gentle gravity-flow system and ferments in small-lots to protect the inherent qualities of the fruit, creating Elk Cove’s Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs and cool-climate steel-fermented white wines: Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Riesling.
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.
Proprietor & Winemaker
Jason Lett is the second-generation proprietor winemaker, (and self-proclaimed curator) of The Eyrie Vineyards. As the son of vanguard producers David and Diana Lett, Jason has had 40 years of experience with Oregon vineyards and winemaking, and has worked in Europe and New Zealand as well. He combines hands-on experience with a scientific background in research ecology. When he’s not making wine, Jason and his wife tend a small farm of their own with livestock, including goats, sheep, chickens, and three young children.
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.
Owner & Winemaker
Since 1999 at J.K. Carriere, owner/winemaker Jim Prosser has been recognized as a winemaker who builds precise wines that evolve and reveal great complexity, at the highest end of the acid spectrum. His absolute belief is that wine is made in the vineyard, a vineyard is potential, and it doesn’t mean anything if you don’t execute. Jim is the guy farming the estate (organic), whose hands are in the winemaking (natural), and walking some of Oregon’s finest vineyards from which he’s sourced fruit for more than a decade (Temperance Hill, Shea, Gemini, Anderson Family), thereby ensuring that potential. In 2009 Jim built a new winery on a hill. There you’ll find a barn of this century, with caves dug into the red cobble, flanked by vineyard, surrounded by forest, with a view that looks towards the Cascade Range. Jim’s boots are still on the ground, telling stories in bottle, that you’ll be able to remember years from now, by pulling a cork.
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.
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.
Constantly reinventing the wheel, Ben uses a 50/50 blend of ingenuity and tradition to make Montinore’s pinot noirs and Italian varietals come to life. A red wine fan since childhood, he got into winemaking by making hard cider and Bordeaux-style reds with his mother in Washington State. A true child of the Northwest, he grew up in the woods and on a commercial fishing boat. Before settling into a career in winemaking, he made his living as a carpenter, crab fisherman, bartender, journalist, cook, forestry worker and manuscript editor, not to mention his many journeys across the western states with a traveling circus.
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).
Thriving under second generation for more than two decades, Ponzi Vineyards is internationally acclaimed for producing some of the world's finest cool climate wines. One of America’s first women to be formally educated in Burgundy, Winemaker Luisa Ponzi carefully blends formal training with her lifelong experience working alongside father, Dick Ponzi, to craft wines of complexity and depth. She has been honored with numerous awards and accolades during her 20 vintages as winemaker; all contributing to Ponzi’s heightened stature in the national arena. Luisa, her husband, fellow winemaker Eric Hamacher, and their four children reside atop Chehalem Mountain with commanding views of the glorious valley.
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.
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.
Winemaker, Co-President & Second-Generation Winegrower
Alex Sokol Blosser, son of Sokol Blosser’s founders Susan Sokol Blosser and Bill Blosser, grew up working in the family vineyards and winery. After starting college in Texas, he realized his heart lay back on the family farm, so he returned to Oregon to finish his college degree and acquire more wine industry experience. In 1998, after working in neighboring vineyards and with a Portland wine wholesaler, Alex started full time at Sokol Blosser, simultaneously worked for the president, his mom, Susan, while earning his MBA degree. When he achieved his MBA, Alex became Vice President of Sales at Sokol Blosser. In addition to his sales duties, Alex took time every year to work harvest. Now as Co-President with his sister Alison, Alex actively participates in the Oregon wine industry, including spearheading the project to develop six new American Viticultural Areas in the northern Willamette Valley in 2002. Alex is also Winemaker, overseeing the vineyard and winemaking at Sokol Blosser. Alex currently serves on the board of the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. Alex has twin boys, Nikolas and Avery.
Proprietor & Winemaker
Laurent took his first steps in the vineyard in Medoc owned by his great grandfather, Joseph Montalieu. He grew up on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and returned to his family's homeland of Bordeaux for summer vacations and high school. It was through his family's deep commitment to the land that he learned to respect the vines and the wines they produced. His interest in viticulture led him to the Institute of Oenology of Bordeaux, where he immersed himself in studies of vineyard management and winemaking. After graduating in 1987 he worked for Chateau La Tour Blanche near Sauternes, and Domaine Mumm in California's Napa Valley before moving to Oregon. After seven successful vintages at Bridgeview Vineyards in Cave Junction, Laurent joined WillaKenzie Estate in 1995 as partner and winemaker. Laurent gained the respect of industry leaders and professionals with his passion for the highest quality standards in the vineyard coupled with a philosophy of minimal intervention in the production of handcrafted wines. In 2003 he left WillaKenzie to focus on Soléna Estate with his wife Danielle. Today, Laurent handcrafts the Soléna Estate wines while also serving as winemaker and co-founder of the Northwest Wine Company, a state-of-the-art winemaking facility in nearby Dundee. There he produces Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard as well as other prime sites throughout the Willamette Valley. Laurent also co-owns and makes Hyland Estates wines.
James is veteran of 18 harvests in Oregon including 5 years as Assistant Winemaker and Operations Manager at our esteemed neighbor, Beaux Freres, as well as 2 years as Vineyard Manager and Co-Winemaker at Elk Cove Vineyards. He came to Soter as Associate Winemaker in 2002 and now serves as Winemaker and overseeing daily operations and has become a partner in North Valley Wines. Whether he's in the winery or the vineyards, James is on site every day. He's intelligent, dedicated, highly personable and invigorated by his work. It is his commitment to the study of wine that fits so well with Soter Vineyards' winemaking philosophy.
Owner & Winemaker
A native resident of Salem, Oregon, Larry began his journey into the wine industry as a country store owner in 1973 with a small wine selection. A chance meeting in 1974 with David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards led to the planting of Stangeland Vineyards in 1978 in the Eola Hills northwest of Salem. The name Stangeland comes from Larry’s Norwegian maternal grandparents and translates to “stone land” or “strong land” which seemed fitting for the rocky subsoil hillside location layered with deposits from the Missoula flood from the last Ice Age. The first winemaking came in 1986 and was not memorable, but persistence and study paid off, and the first commercial wines were bottled in 1991 when the winery was established. Larry’s degree in Analytical Chemistry from Oregon State inspired him to continue and grow the production over 23 years to the current 2,500 cases. For the first 16 years he worked as a fulltime senior Chemist for Akzo Nobel Industrial Coatings. Small lots of Estate and Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs are the hallmark of Stangeland wines benchmarked by 3 Gold Medals at the Mondial du Pinot Noir held annually in Switzerland, a distinction no other Oregon producer can claim. Stangeland also produces small lots of Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, and Tempranillo all form the Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
Gary Mortensen joined Stoller in March 2012 to oversee the winery, vineyard and business operations. Mortensen has 25 years of operations, business development and sales and marketing experience in the information technology and wine industries. He most recently served as President of FonWallet, a unified mobile payment and transaction facilitator. Prior posts include Vice President of Operations for Sokol Blosser Winery and Senior Vice President of Business Development for Qsent. Mortensen is also an award-winning documentary filmmaker whose films “This is War: Memories of Iraq” and “Shepherds of Helmand” are featured on the Discovery Channel.
A love of the land drew Carl Thoma to establish Van Duzer Vineyards on its panoramic knoll in the Willamette Valley. He came to know agriculture as a youngster on his family’s cattle ranch and graduated with a degree in agriculture economics from Oklahoma State University. While earning an MBA from Stanford, he became intrigued by the fledgling California wine industry. Thoma honed his eye for potential as a venture capitalist in Chicago where he has managed a succession of private equity funds. He began building a portfolio of premier California vineyards during the 1990s but gradually settled on the Willamette Valley as the site for a family estate winery.
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.
Winderlea Vineyard & Winery is a boutique winery specializing in the limited production of Pinot noir and Chardonnay from Oregon. Transplanted Bostonians, Bill Sweat and Donna Morris founded Winderlea in 2006 with the purchase of the renowned Goldschmidt Vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The earliest plantings on Winderlea's 20 acre estate vineyard date back to 1974. In 2006 the vineyard earned its LIVE and Salmon Safe certifications, in 2008 they started to farm organically and in 2009 they began employing biodynamic practices. In addition to their estate wines, Winderlea makes wines with fruit from some of their neighbors in the legendary Dundee Hills including the Maresh, Ana, Juliard and Murto Vineyards. In 2010 they started to purchase fruit from outside of the Dundee Hills from the likes of the Shea, Meredith Mitchell and Crawford-Beck vineyards rounding out an impressive portfolio of wines. Winderlea is committed to continuing the traditions of responsible stewardship of the land and the highest quality artisan winemaking.