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Interviews with NW Wine People
Avalon on Northwest Wine

Rick Mafit
Mystic Winery
"Gettin' Purple
with Rick Mafit"

by Alison Ruch
He loves working with the grapes
(as he calls it, “gettin’ purple,”). “It’s more difficult here because people aren’t expecting to find good Zinfandel, Cabernet or Merlot.” (Mafit does all three, as well as a Syrah, a Barbera and a Pinot noir.) “Every weekend I’m in my tasting room people are totally surprised. . . .

 

 

Mike Wade
Fielding Hills Winery

"Spring of 1999 we planted our grapes and when summer came I arranged to buy a few grapes from a neighboring Mattawa vineyard to do a final winemaking experiment before taking the bigger plunge and going commercial. "

Temperance Hill Vineyard
Manager Dai Crisp on
Grape Vines and Great Wines

By Alison Ruch
Some of Oregon’s most distinguished winemakers are sourcing fruit from Temperance Hill Vineyard, a gorgeous and expansive site located in the Eola Hills. These wineries include Adelsheim, Belle Vallée, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Evesham Wood, J.K. Carriere, Mystic, Panther Creek, R. Stuart & Co., and St. Innocent. Vineyard Manager Dai Crisp uses Temperance Hill grapes for his own delicious Lumos wines. So, what constitutes an excellent vineyard site? In a word: terroir.

Joe Wright
Belle Vallee Cellars
The Education and Overnight Success
of Pinot noir Specialist Joe Wright

By Alison Ruch

Chris Camarda
Andrew Will Winery

Top producer of big reds changes winemaking to focus on vineyard specific blends. Instead, he plans to "zone in" on the types of blends he prefers, such as his Sorella (Italian for sister) and his Champoux Vineyard Red Wine.

Craig Broadley
Broadley Vineyards

The Broadleys live in Monroe, OR, not exactly the heart of wine-making ( or anything else, except perhaps Christmas tree farming).

Harry
Peterson-Nedry
Chehalem Winery
"I like this new crop of people-they make it their job to reinvent themselves and come in with fresh ideas. The younger people will come in and take the lead. It is how it should be.

 

 

Charlie Hoppes
"Fidelitas Wines Rising
to the Cream of the Crop and the Top"

by Christina Kelly
Charlie Hoppes has something that can’t be taught in the wine industry—a gut instinct that nudges him when grapes are ready to pick, alerts him when he reaches the “ah-ha” point of blending wines and intuitively informs him what a wine will taste like a year or two down the road in the bottle.


Tim Narby
Nota Bene

“First Release of Wines
From Another Boeing Guy”

September 2004
By Christina Kelly
Avalon Editor/Writer
Lots of new winemakers want public attention, but one of the newest Washington winemakers actually demands it in his label, “Nota Bene.”


Trey Busch
Basel Cellars

August 2004
b y Christina Kelly

Trey Busch is like many young winemakers lured to the Walla Walla Valley to help pioneer the wine industry’s growing reputation for luscious Merlot, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon and silky Syrah.

Richard Funk
Saviah Cellars

by Shannon Borg
Funk has his pick of some of the best grapes in Washington state, and after four vintages, is well on his way to creating the kind of wine he’s dreamed of making.

Bob Andrake
Andrake Cellars
by Shannon Borg
Obsessed with quality, Bob Andrake wants to make “the biggest, baddest mother on the block.”

 

Kristina Mielke
Arbor Crest Winery

Kristina Mielke was 12-years-old when her parents, Harold and Marcia Mielke along with Harold’s brother David Mielke started a winery in Spokane, WA in 1982, pulling out cherry trees from the family’s cherry farm to plant grapes.

Bob Betz
Betz Family Winery
“There is something to be said about knowing every barrel—it’s one of the few advantages small wineries have,” Betz said recently. “I know, by tasting, what is occurring in every barrel, and which ones will be my problem children. ”

Ben Smith
Cadence Winery
In five short years, Ben Smith and Gaye McNutt put Cadence Winery on the lips of wine lovers everywhere, and created a high demand for the tiny Seattle winery.

Victor Cruz
Canon de Sol
The 45-year-old Cruz sits in his small, white office, reminiscing about the decade-long talks between himself and childhood friend Charlie Hoppes. Those chats led to the opening of Ca ñon de Sol.

Christophe Baron
Cayuse Vineyards

 

Matt Huse
Five Star Cellars

The Walla Walla native graduated from a carpentry program at the local community college and started a career of “pounding nails for a living,” working for a general contractor.

Marie-Eve Gilla
Forgeron Cellars

In 1991, Marie-Eve Gilla came to the United States from France to work in an Oregon winery for a few months as an intern.
She did not plan to stay long, but 12 years later, Gilla is still in the Northwest, introducing wines from Forgeron, a new Walla Walla, WA winery.

Gilles Nicault
Forgeron

(at bottom of Woodward page)
"It was luck that I came to Washington," Nicault recalled. "I didn't really know there was so much wine made in the Northwest. Everyone hears about California, but you don't hear of the little wineries in Washington making such good wines."

Brett Isenhower
Isenhower Cellars
Brett's beginning course in winemaking began through volunteerism. He became a "cellar rat" to several local winemakers, who taught him basic cellar skills.

Scott Williams
Kiona Winery
"It does feel like we're an overnight success," said Scott Williams, winemaker and son of Kiona's founder. "We've gotten a lot of attention recently, after making wine for 20 years. We haven't changed much, but word of mouth slowly brought people to us.

Marty Clubb
L'Ecole No. 41

“You can’t raise babies on airplanes,” said Clubb. “I knew in December of 1988 that my wife wanted to return to Walla Walla. Having a family life was the motivating factor in our move.”

Gary Figgins
Leonetti Cellar

Interview by Bob Woehler

Devin Derby
Spring Valley Vineyards

In the land of Leonetti, L'Ecole and Woodward Canyon-all longtime fixtures in the Walla Walla Valley-no one really expected the winery newcomer to score so high out the gate.

 

   


Earl Jones
Abacela

Earl Jones passion for Spanish wine began in the 1960s when he purchased his first bottle of red wine, a Rioja, for about 88-cents.

Rolin Soles
Argyle Winery

by Ellen R. Shapiro
"How're y'all doin'?" I turned around and was greeted by a Texas size smile illuminating a well tanned, slender face with what I'd categorize as a handlebar moustache minus the handles. Steven and I exchanged the glance we've developed over many long road-trips to indicate that we had at the very least found our entertainment for the day -- whatever the deficiencies of the wine, this guy would clearly be the source of great storytelling material.


Brian O'Donnell
Belle Pente Vineyards & Winery

Brian and Jill O'Donnell's goal is straight forward: "We're trying to make the best limited production, family-domaine scale wines in Oregon," explains Brian. "We don't want to be big, we like being small. We're almost at our capacity, and now we're going to focus like crazy on quality. "

Josh Bergstrom
Bergstrom Winery

The Bergström family has a vision, and they are sticking to it. “Our goal from the very beginning,” says Josh Bergström, winemaker and vineyard manager, “has been to craft the greatest possible wines we could. We want to be leading the forefront of Pinot noir in Oregon and America! ”

Terry & Ted Casteel
Bethel Heights

"We missed teaching, and the winery turned out to be more work than we imagined. But it was absolutely worth it. It is the lifestyle we wanted."

Steve Doermer
Cristom Vineyards
"We set out to make great wines at Cristom, and we are succeeding, one harvest at a time. -"

Joe Dobbes
Dobbes Family Winery
It's all a little nail-biting," confesses Joe, "but what is so exciting about what I am doing now is that I have the chance to let the creative, entrepreneurial spirit inside me out-to work for myself-which has been a goal of mine as long as I've been in the business. "

Veronique Drouhin
Domaine Drouhin
"We use a very low percentage of new oak barrels by New World standards - generally less than 20%. We do not want the influence of the wood to dominate the wine or stand out in any way - we want to capture the essence of the fruit, without masking it or manipulating it. "

Adam Campbell
Elk Cove Vineyards
"I think the more you care about the wines in your cellar," he comments, "the better they become. "

Gino Cuneo
Cuneo Cellars

“We get great color and extraction from the Red Mountain (Washington) fruit,” Cuneo said. “We have to watch the tannins —we don’t want to bury the fruit.

Russ Raney
Evesham Wood

“We don’t manipulate our winemaking methods to produce a ‘sameness’ in quality from year to year, or attempt to compete with the large producers by making our wines appeal to a larger audience. "

Sam Tannahill
& Cheryl Francis
Francis Tannahill Winery
Ask Sam and Cheryl Tannahill who makes the wine for their new Francis Tannahill label and they answer simultaneously—and with enthusiasm—“We do!” What other answer could there be when you combine two of Oregon’s finest Pinot noir winemakers in both marriage and winemaking?

Ken Wright
Ken Wright Cellars

Jimi Brooks
& Mo Momtazi
Maysara Estate

It took seven years for Mo Momtazi to find a chunk of land in the Willamette Valley that reminded him of his childhood, where his grandparents grew crops on lush farmland in Northern Iran. ------- Northern Iran?

Patricia Green
Patricia Green Cellars

“I was ready to change my life,” Green recalled. “I was burned out, fed up and tired with the wine business. I don’t think people understand how hard this work can be.”

Ron and
Lynn Penner Ash
Penner Ash Wine Cellars

There is a passion for winemaking that runs really deeply in me,” says Lyn Penner-Ash, “If I didn’t have Ron around stopping me, I would spend all my time here at the winery because I get so caught up in it all—I constantly want to try something new, or to taste some new blend—it’s just that I’m so excited about what ’s going on and what we can do!”

Scott & Annie Schull
Raptor Ridge Winery
"
Our foggy ridge is ideally suited to a naturally cool winemaking regime important in capturing delicate aromas and flavors. "

Dick Shea
Shea Vineyard
“We’re working with people who are pushing the envelope,” says owner Dick Shea, “discovering new things every vintage to make their wine better. You have to constantly be on top of things—you can never rest on your laurels. ”

Peter Rosback
Sineann
“Where the fruit comes from is a big deal to us,” Rosback explained. “We select farmers who not only have pride in their work, but take pride in the end product. Our producers have low yields, high elevations and are able to ripen the fruit reliably. ”

David O'Reilly
Owen Roe
If there is such a thing as the luck of the Irish, winemaker David O'Reilly has found a pot of gold underneath his Willamette Valley, Oregon rainbow.

Mark Vlossak
St Innocent

In the early years running St. Innocent was almost like a rollercoaster ride. Don Townshend
Townshend Cellar

Making wine was not on Don Townshend’s radar when he moved to a small farming community just north of Spokane in 1979.

Rick Small
Woodward Canyon

It was the days of one- and two-room schoolhouses, coon-skin hats and hula-hoops.

Kevin Mott
Woodward Canyon

The interview for the job took place on a bicycling trip. By the end of the ride, Rick Small, owner of Woodward Canyon Winery in Walla Walla, WA hired Kevin Mott to become the winery’s new winemaker.Chuck Reininger
Reininger Winery

by Andy Perdue
"I don't want to manage people. I want to manage wine," Chuck says. "When we get to the point where we can't hug every barrel, we've gotten too big."

Terry Flanagan
Ryan Patrick Vineyards

For Terry Flanagan, owner of Ryan Patrick Vineyards, growing grapes and producing wine was a dream just waiting to be realized.

Casey McClellan
Seven Hills Winery

Winemaker Casey McClellan is the fourth generation in his family to work in agriculture in Eastern Washington.

Doug McCrea
McCrea Cellars
One of the hottest wines coming from the Northwest is Syrah, and Doug McCrea, winemaker for McCrea Cellars, believes he played a large role in the growing popularity of the grape.

David O'Reilly
Owen Roe, O'Reilly's

If there is such a thing as the luck of the Irish, winemaker David O'Reilly has found a pot of gold underneath his Willamette Valley, Oregon rainbow.






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Paley's Place and Dusky Goose Pinot noir- new article
Wine Spectator rates Oregon's 2002 vintage 97 points


New section- under $20 Pinot noirs
New Section- $20-$30 Oregon Pinot noir

 

 

 

 


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