Name an Oregon winemaker you secretly admire and explain why.
Jonathan Scott Oberlander of J. Scott Wines. He’s been a winemaker for many, many years, originally with Silvan Ridge Winery; now he has his own. He produces many wonderful award-winning wines that are fruit-forward with soft finishes and complex flavors…
Corrie Gelardi, Gelardi Vineyard, Eugene
Jason Lett. He had an enormous amount of pressure and expectations on him stepping into his father’s shoes. I think he has managed to keep a great sense of continuity at Eyrie, while improving things in many ways to continue to evolve and keep the winery traditional and cutting-edge at the same time. The wines are delicious, and his creative approach to certifying the older wines in the Eyrie library is brilliant, showing tremendous dedication to quality, as well.
Marcus Goodfellow, Matello Wines, McMinnville
John Thomas. No person I know can intuit like John. He knows each and every vine in his four-acre vineyard and picks each when it’s perfectly ready. After that, the wine just makes itself. There is no better, more unique Pinot Noir in Oregon (in my opinion). And we’re talkin’ 25 years of consistency!
Sandy Thompson, Mt. Tabor Fine Wines, Portland
Doug Tunnell (Brick House), because he is uncompromising.
Clare Carver, Big Table Farm, Gaston
When I first met Robert Brittan (Brittan Vineyards), all I knew about him was that he was this “bigwig” winemaker from California. As an Oregon native vineyard guy and small-time winemaker myself, my default opinion took over, and I instantly put him in the “difficult to work with” folder and wrote him off. Over the years getting to work with him, I discovered my initial impressions couldn’t have been more wrong.
Robert and his team are a great group, and I enjoy working with them. I appreciate his honesty and genuineness as a person and as an industry professional. The more time that goes by, I find that, despite his credentials, he is incredibly humble. He always seems to be able to encourage me in my efforts as a young winemaker; probably without even knowing it. Even though he is from California, I feel his winemaking style matches our area, and he fits in here.
Travis Cook, Copper Belt Wines, McMinnville