Brand New Winery, Brand

NW Wine Co.’s new facility is filled with towering tanks and other equipment.

By Karl Klooster

A brand new building looms large on open land just north of Highway 99W at the eastern edge of Dundee. The “NW” logo prominently displayed on the side facing the highway announces that this is the new home of NW Wine Company.

The adjacent 35 acres is currently being prepared for vineyard planting, heralding a structure surrounded by flourishing vines within the next few years. On the edge of the eastern side of the property stands a residential structure, striking in its modern style.

The substantial winemaking facility — 44,000 square feet overall — was built by Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu, who also own Soléna and Grand Cru Estates. In addition to the winery, the couple has launched their Hyland Estates label with a nearby tasting room.

Inside the new winery, energy efficiency can be found throughout, including 50K-watt solar panels and hi-tech freezer insulation. Water treatment employs a sophisticated technique called phyto-remediation.

Solids are recovered and spread over the adjacent 17 acres of fields now being prepared for planting. Reclaimed water is stored for fire suppression. Laurent indicated that their system far exceeds DEQ requirements.

The receiving and initial processing area can accommodate five different arrivals at once during harvest. Their new Delta de-stemmer is capable of processing 25 tons per hour. Total capacity of the winery is half a million gallons.

Laurent projects that the new facility will process some 2,000 tons during the 2011 harvest. Estimating approximately 64 cases per ton, that translates to almost 130,000 cases in its first year of operation.

Although at this early point, it is only conjecture — based on 2010 figures — that would put them solidly in the number two spot behind only King Estate.

This year, eight full-time winery employees and nine interns (countries include France, Switzerland and Greece) will process grapes from virtually every AVA in the Yamhill Valley and beyond. The team is managed by Robert Moshier.

Most will go into approximately 30 controlled brands — wines pre-sold to specific customers for their own in-house use, such as restaurants, or for sale to retailers, as with wholesale distributors.

Another 17 or 18 special lots will be crafted separately for custom crush clients. Everything from vine to bottle is under direct control of NW Wine Company and its contracted vineyard managers. The IVIS tagging system keeps track of each lot through the entire process.

Meanwhile, a former private residence has been strikingly remodeled into the Hyland Estates tasting room about 75 yards east of the winery. Manager Eric Baldwin offers tastes of the label’s Pinot Noir, Riesling and Gewürztraminer, daily, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The wines from decades’ old Hyland vines are exquisite, but an extra bonus is the handsome house.

Next time you’re creeping through Dundee during the inevitable backup, take a detour onto Niedeberger Road and drop by. It will be well worth the visit.

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