University of Pinot 2021

2021 University of Pinot Courses

Our guests consistently ask for a wide variety of informative seminars and tastings. We are pleased to offer eight different virtual courses as a part of the 2021 Virtual IPNC program. After collecting guest preferences, you will be assigned to two courses. The wine that you receive will accompany your course choices. All classes are pre-recorded so that you may follow and taste along at your leisure. You will receive a link to your classes when your wine package ships in early June.

Registration is now open!

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AGING PINOT NOIR

The process of aging Pinot Noir is still largely a mystery, but our panel will fill you in on their strategies for crafting a wine that will go the distance. Acidity, fruit, alcohol, and oak must all be in balance for a wine to age well. Finding that perfect equilibrium is quite a challenge. Four of Oregon’s most respected winemakers will walk you through the process while you taste four examples from the outstanding 2014 vintage.
JAMIE GOODE, WINEANORAK.COM (United Kingdom)
Moderator

Jamie Goode is a UK-based wine writer, lecturer, wine judge and book author. With a PhD in plant biology, he worked as a science editor, before starting wineanorak.com in 1999, which became a popular wine website. Since 2005 he’s been the wine columnist for UK national newspaper The Sunday Express, and has written regularly for a range of publications, including The World of Fine Wine, Meininger’s Wine Business International, Noble Rot, Wine & Spirits, Vine Pair and Drinks International. He is active as a speaker/lecturer and also a wine judge, and is one of the co-chairs for the International Wine Challenge. Goode’s books include The Science of Wine, Authentic Wine, I taste Red and Flawless. He’s also prolific on Twitter (@jamiegoode) and Instagram (@drjamiegoode).

GINA HENNEN, ADELSHEIM VINEYARD (Newberg, OR)
Panelist

Gina spent many years honing her craft with Adelsheim as part of the winemaking team before taking the lead as head winemaker in 2018. Known for her ability to execute and armed with the knowledge that everything the winemaking team does touches every aspect of Adelsheim, she focuses on setting a high bar, yet still enjoying the winemaking process, reveling in the fact that every wine produced is unique and will never be replicated.  Gina serves on the board of IPNC, and is a member of both the Oregon Wine Board’s Education committee and Research committee.

JASON LETT, THE EYRIE VINEYARDS (McMinnville, OR)
Panelist

Jason Lett is the second-generation president, winemaker, vineyard manager, (and self-proclaimed curator) of The Eyrie Vineyards. As the son of vanguard producers David and Diana Lett, Jason has had almost 50 years of experience with Oregon vineyards and winemaking, and has worked in Europe and New Zealand as well. He, and before him his father, has created a legacy of famously age-worthy vintages of Chardonnay going back to 1970. He combines hands-on experience with a background in research ecology. Jason often takes part in seminars on Oregon wine both here and internationally, and has a recurring role offering the introductory address at Oregon Pinot Camp. When he’s not participating in panels or making wine, Jason and his wife tend a small farm of their own with livestock, including goats, sheep, chickens, and three growing children.

JIM PROSSER, J.K. CARRIERE (Sherwood, OR)
Panelist

More than two decades in, Jim Prosser has moved like a glacier across the landscape of the northern Willamette Valley. More quiet and ever forward, he has forged Pinot noirs worth cracking. From the cellar and tractor of eight wineries around the globe all the way to the cellar and tractor of one: J.K. Carriere winery and St. Dolores Estate. His mythology is without parallel. Yes, there are no parallels, no straight lines that can be drawn on him. Widely reviled by glossy magazines and held in only minor contempt by his peers, he is held exclusively in their hearts and in their cellars. A producer of vibrant, acid-driven Pinot noir, Chardonnay and Sparkling wines meant for a table and built to age, he more believes in center punching the farming and cellar, than bluster and noise. He is on the board of the Chehalem Mountain Winegrowers, the dry-farming Deep Roots Coalition and the Quiet Producers Alliance. He prefers the number 26, his favorite color is green and his porn name would be Spot Wallace.

CLARE CARVER, BIG TABLE FARM (Gaston, OR)
Panelist

In addition to partnering with Brian Marcy to market the wine and manage their 70 acres at big table farm, Clare is also a painter and wine label designer. Her fine art speaks for itself and her labels have received multiple awards, including America’s top ten wine labels (S.F.  Chronicle). Clare’s first passion is her painting, but she finds great joy in working with her team of draft horses.

ANDERSON VALLEY

The lovely Anderson Valley is home to some of California’s most celebrated Pinot Noir wines. Join panelists as they present their examples and talk about what is special about the terroir in the Anderson Valley, and how it is reflected in the wine you’ll be tasting. Finish with a glass of Roederer Estate NV Brut Rose from 100% Anderson Valley fruit.
JERRY MURRAY, PROJECT M WINES (McMinnville, OR)
Moderator

Jerry Murray’s muses, Riesling and Pinot Noir, have led him on a global adventure which includes Germany’s Mosel Valley, the Marlborough and Martinborough regions of New Zealand, and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. It was through multiple winemaking roles in Oregon that he finessed and sharpened his ideas on growing and making Pinot Noir. As a self-proclaimed student of the grape, he traveled to California’s Anderson Valley in 2013 to test as Winemaker for Domaine Anderson. Inspired by the beauty and potential of the renowned Willamette Valley vineyards, he returned in 2016 to launch PROJECT M Wines. Through his company, élevage consulting, Jerry helps wineries clarify and pursue their ambitions.

RYAN HODGINS, FEL (Yountville, CA)
Panelist

Raised in the Pacific Northwest, Ryan Hodgins attended Oberlin College in Ohio, where he often had conversations with his plant biology professor about winegrowing. Though he explored a few careers upon graduation, his interest in wine was piqued, and he soon relocated to California and enrolled in the master’s program at U.C. Davis and graduated with a degree in Viticulture & Enology.

DARRIN LOW, DOMAINE ANDERSON (Philo, CA)
Panelist

A native of California wine country, Darrin’s fascination for wine began at an early age, growing up in Healdsburg and working in his parents’ wine shop. This early exposure to the world of wine led Darrin to major in Enology and Viticulture at UC Santa Cruz, during which he studied abroad at l‘Institut d’OEnologie in Bordeaux, France. After graduation, he followed his passion for pinot noir to Oregon’s Willamette Valley, before returning home to make wine at J, Grgich Hills and Flowers. An advocate for organic farming methods and biodynamic philosophy, Darrin is inspired to carry on his efforts at Domaine Anderson, the Louis Roederer family’s newest estate property in the Anderson Valley.

ARNAUD WEYRICH, ROEDERER ESTATE (Philo, CA)
Panelist

Arnaud Weyrich began his career at Roederer Estate as an intern after he graduated in 1993 from the prestigious Montpellier school, ​“Ecole Supérieure d’Oenologie” with a Master of Science in Viticulture and Enology. He happily returned to Roederer in 2000. As assistant winemaker, he supervised all winemaking operations while respecting the 200-year-old traditional winemaking techniques so important to the house style of Champagne Louis Roederer. With a strong and diverse background in all winemaking techniques, Arnaud then moved to Reims where he was the Chief Technical Officer in charge of Development for Champagne Louis Roederer for over a year. When the opportunity arose in 2002, Arnaud moved his family back to Roederer Estate and has since managed the winery in all aspects, from the vineyard to the day-to-day business.

VAN WILLIAMSON, WITCHING STICK WINES (Philo, CA)
Panelist

In 2010, Van started Witching Stick Wines.  It started with a rough harvest in a cold year with grapes that were not sweet enough after 10 inches of rain to make the contract.  Van knew he could do something with the wine and created a most unusual Zinfandel that many mistook in blind tastings for a northern Italian red.  Along the way, Van purchased some Pinot noir grapes and was given the chance for some Durell Chardonnay.  The tasting room opened in October of 2014.

CHARDONNAY AT IPNC: HIGH ON ACID

Acidity is all the rage in Chardonnay these days. As the public desire for big, buttery Chardonnay diminishes, winegrowers around the world are realizing that ample acid is crucial to Chardonnay’s structure, balance, and age-ability. Taste along with four cutting-edge Chardonnay producers and hear why and how they value acidity so highly. This is an advance course.
DR. JORDI BALLESTER, INSTITUT UNIVERSITAIRE DE LA VIGNE ET DU VIN (Burgundy, FRANCE)
Moderator

Born in Valencia (Spain), Dr. Jordi Ballester graduated as a Master of Science & Engineering: Food Technology in 2000 from the Universitat Politècnica de València. In 2004, he received a PhD from the Université de Bourgogne (France). His PhD research aimed to characterize the aromatic typicality of Chardonnay using GC-O, GC-MS and sensory analysis. After one year teaching sensory analysis in the Université de Bourgogne, he took a one-year post-doc at the Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute in Ontario (Canada) where he studied ice-wine aroma.

In 2006 he came back to Burgundy where he works as associate professor in sensory science and wine tasting for Master students at the Institut Universitaire de la Vigne et du Vin (Université de Bourgogne). In addition, Dr. Ballester is a researcher at de Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l’Alimentation. Most of his research centers on cognitive aspects of wine description and categorization. He has participated in several international projects on different topics of wine sensory science. For instance, a project on wine minerality with New-Zealand, another on wine expertise and description with South Africa and also on wine quality with Spain. His current research focus on white wine redox sensory aspects and their link with wine composition. He is coauthor of more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and one book.

RAJAT PARR, EVENING LAND VINEYARDS (Dundee, OR)
Panelist

Co-founder of Domaine de la Côte, Rajat is a three-time James Beard Award winner and is regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on wine. A trained chef, Rajat grew up in Calcutta, India, before journeying to the United States where he graduated from the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park. Concomitant with a star-struck career in the hospitality industry, Rajat became more and more interested in wine, crafting some of his own bottlings in both Burgundy and in the US. During this period, he became closer to Santa Barbara County winemaker Sashi Moorman, as they found mutual interest in pushing the boundaries of California wine, every vintage seeing how much earlier they could harvest to achieve more balanced alcohols, racier acidity, and purer flavors. In 2011, Rajat and Sashi launched Sandhi, producing Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select vineyards in the Sta. Rita Hills.  In 2013, they released wines from his new estate vineyard, Domaine de la Côte, located on the westernmost edge of the Sta. Rita Hills. Most recently, in early 2014, Rajat and Sashi took over the historic and acclaimed Seven Springs Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon. In 2018, they launched the Raj Parr Wine Club, a label of unique and esoteric wines and styles sold directly to members.

THOMAS SAVRE, LINGUA FRANCA (Salem, OR)
Panelist

A native of France, Thomas Savre is among the most accomplished and energetic young winemakers in Oregon.  He joined Lingua Franca in May 2015 from his prior position at Evening Land, where he worked closely with Dominique Lafon to create Pinot noir and Chardonnay from Seven Springs Vineyard, directly adjacent to the LS Vineyard. At the Jules Guyot Institute, University of Burgundy, from 2008 through 2012, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Wine Science, and two Masters degrees, one in Viticulture Practices and the other in Enology and Winemaking. As the winemaker at Lingua Franca, Thomas crafts elegant wines that speak to the place from which they come and which have earned early, yet significant, accolades.

VANESSA WONG, PEAY VINEYARDS (Cloverdale, CA)
Panelist

Vanessa Wong joined Nick and Andy for their first vintage in 2001. She is a graduate of U.C. Davis Viticulture & Enology with experience in France and Australia, as well as in the Napa Valley and Sonoma. A native of San Francisco, Wong was initiated into the wine business by working in wine retail and catering. This early exposure to the world of wine and its distinctive yet universal appeal sparked her fascination with winemaking. This led her to pursue a degree in viticulture and enology. She served as enologist at Franciscan Oakville Estates before going to Peter Michael Winery where she made wine from the 1996 to the 2000 vintage first as assistant winemaker, then later as winemaker. Together with Andy and Nick Peay, Vanessa shares the vision of farming grapes on the Sonoma Coast and making wines that are expressive of its unique climate and soil in their pursuit of creating world-class, single-vineyard wines.

PINOT NOIR OF NEW ZEALAND

Join globetrotting wine lover extraordinaire Elaine Brown, as she leads you through a tasting of leading Pinot Noir wines from some of New Zealand’s most accomplished producers. From Kumeu in the north to Central Otago in the south, enjoy this adventure through New Zealand as you taste and hear from our four winemakers.
ELAINE CHUKAN BROWN (Sonoma, CA)
Moderator

Elaine Chukan Brown serves as the American Specialist at JancisRobinson.com, a contributing writer with Wine & Spirits Magazine, and a speaker at events worldwide. Her work has been featured in World of Fine Wine, Decanter, RobbReport, MensHealth.com, GuildSomm.com, Wine Business Monthly, San Francisco Magazine, Alquimie and Noble Rot, among others. She has been a celebrated guest speaker and led seminars about wine, writing, and inspiration around the world. Such speaking engagements have included The Women in Wine Leadership Symposium, Pinot Noir NZ, Texsom, ProWein, the UC Davis Viticulture & Enology Program, and the International Pinot Noir Celebration, as well as the Summer Literary Seminar, and the Association of Writers Program. She is a celebrated speaker, leading seminars in wine highly regarded by Masters of Wine, Master Sommeliers, winemakers, wine trade, and consumers alike.

MICHAEL BRAJKOVICH, MW, KUMEU RIVER (Kumeu, NEW ZEALAND)
Panelist

Michael graduated with a Degree in Oenology (Wine Science) from Roseworthy Agricultural College in South Australia as dux of his year, and returned to the family winery in Kumeu as winemaker. He has travelled extensively through the world’s wine areas, including spending the 1983 vintage in France. Kumeu River’s Chardonnay wines in particular have enjoyed critical acclaim and success in international markets. The purchase of a Limestone-based vineyard in Hawke’s Bay in 2017 is an exciting new development, featuring Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc. In 1989 Michael became New Zealand’s first member of the Institute of Masters of Wine. He has many years’ experience judging at wine competitions in Australia and New Zealand, serving as Chair of Judges at the Air NZ Wine Awards 2012-2016, and at the Royal Adelaide Wine Show 2015-2017.

NADINE CROSS, PEREGRINE (Queenstown, NEW ZEALAND)
Panelist

Winemaker at Peregrine since 2010, Nadine brings experience from France, California and Marlborough to the unique climate of Central Otago. Lured into winemaking by the combination of environment, travel, food and wine, it’s a job she loves doing everyday – in one of the most beautiful wine regions in the world. For Nadine, winemaking is about learning: being observant and quality focused, in order to let the land and environment speak through the wine, while helping lead a top-flight wine-making team.

WILCO LAM, DRY RIVER WINES (Martinborough, South Wairarapa, NEW ZEALAND)
Panelist

Wilco Lam grew up in the Netherlands and started his wine journey taking trips into France as a child with his family, chasing domaines his parents wanted to discover in the 80’s. With the seed planted, wine led him across the world, down to Australia and eventually, in 2003, New Zealand to pursue a life in winegrowing. After completing his winemaking degree at Lincoln University in Canterbury, Wilco was truly on his way. His eye was quickly set on Martinborough, being part of an intimate and dedicated winegrowing region producing intricate and individual wines. Initially he focussed on viticulture learning the waxing in and waxing out of practical winegrowing. He finally made the jump into the winery and began the journey on how to follow the wines right through to the bottle. Wilco joined Dry River Wines in 2009 as vineyard and winery assistant and has been the chief winemaker at Dry River Wines since 2015.

OAK IN PINOT NOIR

One of the biggest challenges in making Pinot Noir is finding the right balance of oak in the wine. Winemakers rely on their knowledge of cooperages, forests, and even a barrel-bound oak tree’s specific location in a forest to build just the right oak program for their wines. Learn the secrets of how winemakers put together the perfect blend of barrels to carefully frame the wine they have crafted. This is an advanced course.
RAY ISLE, FOOD & WINE | TRAVEL + LEISURE (New York, NY)
Moderator

Ray Isle is the Executive Wine Editor of Food & Wine and the Wine & Spirits editor for Travel + Leisure. He oversees all wine coverage for Food & Wine and writes the monthly “Bottle Service” column, plus contributes regular print and online features about wine, spirits, and wine-related travel to both brands. His articles about wine, beer, food and spirits have appeared in a wide range of national publications, he has been nominated three times for a James Beard Award, has twice won the IACP Award for Narrative Beverage Writing, and has won a NATJA Gold award for his travel writing. He speaks regularly on wine at live events and is a frequent guest on national media, having appeared on programs such as NBC’s Today, CNBC’s On the Money & Squawk Box, NPR’s All Things Considered, and American Public Media’s Splendid Table, among others. Follow his wine exploits on twitter @islewine and on Instagram @rayisle.

KATE AYRES, PENNER-ASH WINE CELLARS (Newberg, OR)
Panelist

As winemaker for Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, Kate Ayres works in tandem with founding winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash to craft wines of uncompromising quality. Growing up on the north coast of Oregon, Kate’s younger years were spent fishing, crabbing, and gathering mushrooms. Her interest in science led her to the University of California, Davis where she majored in viticulture and enology. Between 2009-2011, Kate worked harvests across the world in New Zealand, Portugal, and Australia. In 2011, Kate returned to the U.S. and took a job with The Hess Collection Winery as associate winemaker. She remained there until 2016 when she traded in Cabernet Sauvignon for Pinot Noir and joined Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. She quickly rose to her current role of winemaker in the spring of 2018.

BEN CASTEEL, BETHEL HEIGHTS VINEYARD (Salem, OR)
Panelist

Ben is the oldest son of Terry Casteel and Marilyn Webb, co-founders of Bethel Heights Vineyard. Ben spent his summers working for his uncle Ted in the vineyard alongside his brother and cousins, but left for college with a different career path in mind. A declared English major entering the University of Oregon, it was always Ben’s intention to complete his undergraduate studies, pursue a doctorate in English Literature and secure a University teaching position thereafter. A trip to Burgundy to work the 1999 harvest at Domaine de Perdrix changed everything. Ben’s father called him in the Summer of 2004 to discuss the future of Bethel Heights after his retirement, and six months later Ben accepted the position of Winemaker at Bethel Heights in January of 2005. Ben strives to continue the model established by his father and family in crafting wines that reflect vintage and terroir at Bethel Heights Vineyard. It is a vision born of thoughtful experimentation, patience, and restraint, and one that he believes can only reach fulfillment at the small winery level. The closer the winegrower’s hands are to their wines and vines, the clearer the voice of the place and time will be expressed in the cask and bottle. It is with this vision and passion that Ben hopes to carry Bethel Heights on into the future.

MICHAEL DAVIES, REX HILL (Newberg, OR)

A New Zealander by birth, Michael came to work his first Oregon harvest in 1999 with a handful of vintages across the hemispheres and a post-graduate diploma in Enology & Viticulture from Lincoln University. Over the next 5 years he cut his teeth on cool-climate winemaking & viticulture as Assistant Winemaker and Vineyard Manager at Chehalem. Then after a gap year working vintages in New Zealand & Burgundy and starting their own label, Matzinger Davies Wine Co. (with his wife Anna), he joined the AtoZ Wineworks & REX HILL team as Winemaker in 2006. Now as Executive Winemaker, Michael has helped oversee the significant increase in case production of all the AtoZ wines always striving to achieve the best quality as well as re-focusing the REX HILL brand of ultra-premium terroir-driven Pinot Noir & Chardonnay to even greater heights. Michael is also a keen contributor to various Boards & Committees that work to promote the Oregon industry. 

KATIE SANTORA, CHEHALEM WINERY (Newberg, OR)
Panelist

Katie Santora joined Chehalem in 2012 as assistant winemaker. In her nine-year tenure, Katie has facilitated every aspect of the winemaking process. Her expert knowledge of our vineyard sites and house style made her the perfect candidate to assume the role of winemaker in 2018. In her current position, Katie considers herself a conductor as she empowers her team, ensuring everyone feels happy and productive. Winemaking allows Katie to be in tune with the grapes as they progress through the season, allowing her to have a deeper understanding of the vintage, and the world at large. Originally from Utah, Katie became interested in wine while attending UC Davis where she graduated with a degree in enology and viticulture.

PINOT NOIR: THE CHAMELEON

Pinot Noir as a still red wine is very well-known throughout the wine world. Nonetheless, the versatility of Pinot Noir is frequently understated. Pinot Noir finds its way into rosé, sparkling, and even a white wine, resulting from no skin contact. Take a look at all these versions of Pinot, and the myriad foods they pair with, in this interactive course led by two of IPNC’s favorite sommeliers.
DAWN SMITH, LANGLEY KITCHEN (Langley, WA)
Moderator

As a professionally trained chef, Dawn’s passion for wine emerged as a direct result of her experiences in the kitchen. The daughter of a chef mother, Dawn grew up in the restaurant business. While working as an instructor at a culinary college, she was given the opportunity to take wine classes and one class just led to another, and then another… Dawn has earned certifications from the International Sommelier Guild, the Wine & Spirit Education Trust, and is an Advanced Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers. After a sixteen-year career working and managing wine programs in fine dining restaurants, the pandemic afforded an opportunity to return to her cooking roots. She joined the team at the newly opened, Langley Kitchen on Whidbey Island where she cooks and oversees a small but thoughtful retail wine program.

KRISTEN YOUNG, RINGSIDE STEAKHOUSE (Portland, OR)
Moderator

Kristen Young is the Wine Director at RingSide SteakHouse in Portland. Kristen’s love of hospitality started long ago, hanging coats & making cocktails for her grandparents’ friends at holiday parties. She holds an Advanced Sommelier Certification from The Court of Master Sommeliers and The International Sommelier Guild, as well as a Bachelor’s in Business Administration from The University of Toledo.Kristen has had the opportunity to work alongside several of the Pacific Northwest’s best chefs, restaurateurs, and sommeliers, deepening her love of all things food & wine. In addition to RingSide, her experience includes 5+ years as a Sommelier at Bastille Café & Bar and Michael Mina’s RN74, both in Seattle,WA. Kristen’s many accolades and awards include: ‘Sommelier of the Year’ 2011 by the Washington State Wine Commission, and the 2016 winner of the Cochon 555 food & wine pairing challenge. Kristen is also proud to participate as part of the Sommelier team for numerous organizations including Taste Washington, The Willamette Valley’s Barrel Auction and as a long-time Captain of the International Pinot Noir Celebration.

CLAIRE JARREAU, BROOKS WINERY (Salem, OR)
Panelist

Claire Jarreau is the Associate Winemaker at Brooks Winery located in Oregon’s Eola-Amity Hills where she oversees winemaking operations and vineyard sources. Brooks is a biodynamic vineyard and winery renowned for its commitment to crafting site-driven Pinot Noir, Riesling, and aromatic white wines. Claire joined the Brooks team in 2014 after formative stints in Austria’s Wachau region, the Swartland in the Western Cape of South Africa, the Waipara Valley in New Zealand, and Oregon’s Willamette Valley. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry with a concentration in Enology and Viticulture from Appalachian State University. Claire’s professional interests lie in low-intervention winemaking, regenerative farming, all things Riesling, and increasing the varietal and clonal diversity grown in Oregon.

NATE KLOSTERMANN, ARGYLE WINERY (Dundee, OR)
Panelist

After being mentored by renowned Oregon wine pioneer and Argyle founder Rollin Solles, Nate Klostermann was selected as Rollin’s handpicked successor, and in 2013, he became the second winemaker in Argyle’s storied three-decade history. Building on Rollin’s grower-first foundation for Argyle, Nate has emerged as one of Oregon’s most gifted young winemakers, recognized for making elegant and complex sparkling wines, along with vibrant and impeccably balanced Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Riesling. “With Rollin as my mentor, I knew that I could learn more on the job than I ever could in a classroom,” says Nate. “Making great sparkling wine is unlike anything else—it’s the ultimate challenge for a winemaker. My time with Rollin was like eight years of one-on-one graduate school learning from a master.” Encouraged by Rollin to gain international experience, Nate also traveled to Australia, where he worked harvests at Knappstein Winery in Clare Valley, and Petaluma Winery, a renowned sparkling wine producer in Adelaide Hills.

ROB STUART, R. STUART & CO. (McMinnville, OR)
Panelist

After making wine for other people for more than twenty years, Rob Stuart and his partners founded R. Stuart & Co. Winery in 2001. With a degree in biochemistry from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in New York, Rob started his winemaking journey on the bottling line at Hans Kornell in Napa, California. From there he went on to work in the cellar at Valley View Vineyards in Southern Oregon, and then to Staton Hills in Yakima, Washington where he made wine for ten years. Rob returned to Oregon in 1994 when he became the winemaker at Erath Vineyards, his home away from home until he started his current adventure. Now he makes the wines he loves: Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and sparkling wine. Life is good.

RACHEL ZASADNI, DOMAINE SERENE (Dayton, OR)
Panelist

Rachel Zasadni recently celebrated her 10-year anniversary with Domaine Serene Winery.  Her passion and dedication moved her up the ranks to Winemaker, overseeing production of 275 planted acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, within the Dundee Hills, Eola Amity Hills, and Yamhill Carlton AVAs.  Rachel has been an integral part of the winemaking team and at the forefront of award-winning Chardonnays and the creation of Domaine Serene’s Sparkling wine program.  She is originally from Cleveland Ohio and studied Biochemistry at Ohio State University, before moving out west and dedicating her life to fermentation.  With 13 years in the wine industry, she is fascinated by the sensory aspect of winemaking, mixing both science and art to create an expression of the land.  Working in the Willamette Valley has been such a rewarding experience for her as each vintage provides its own unique personality to the wines. 

SANTA CRUZ

Located just south of San Francisco, the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA has long been producing some of California’s most exciting cool-climate wines. The very different terrains within the appellation create distinct microclimates depending on the elevation, type of soil, sun exposure, or the presence of fog and proximity to the ocean. Learn about these engaging wines from the winemakers who crafted them.
TED GLENNON, VOCAL VINEYARDS (Santa Cruz, CA)
Moderator

Ted Glennon is the Wine Director and Sommelier Liaison for Pebble Beach Food & Wine and Los Angeles Food & Wine which are two of the most prestigious wine festivals in America: a national stage for fine wine brands. He organizes 4 days of tastings, seminars, lunches, dinners, and late night events: curating over 300 producers. Pebble Beach Food and Wine attracts over eight thousand fine wine consumers as attendees. As the Sommelier Liaison, Ted is responsible for organizing a team of over 100 sommeliers each year from across the continent. These Men and Women represent the best and brightest of America’s wine service, and Ted always keeps an eye on new talent – the team is ever changing. Additionally, Ted produces his own wine under the label Vocal Vineyards which is a collection of small single vineyard wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains and Monterey Bay region (going on its 8th vintage in 2020!). To promote the wines for 4 years sessions of “Vinyl and Vino” Ted’s pop up tasting room party: popular wine bars where he DJ’s for the night.

RYAN ALFARO, ALFARO FAMILY VINEYARDS (Watsonville, CA)
Panelist

Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery first came into existence in 1997 when Richard and Mary Kay Alfaro, founders of restaurant and wholesale baking company, Alfaro’s Micro Bakery, purchased an aging 75 acre apple farm in Corralitos, California. They transformed the property into 56 acres of planted vines consisting of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot, Malbec and Gruner Veltliner. Youngest son, Ryan Alfaro grew up on his parents’ vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Being immersed in the family business his entire life, it was no surprise he developed a passion for wine. Upon finishing his undergrad studies at UCLA, Ryan decided to further his education at University of Auckland, New Zealand, completing a Post-Grad in Wine Science. He was privileged to work under renowned winemaker Adam Tolmach for a vintage before returning home to become head-winemaker at Alfaro Family Vineyards. 

JOHN BENEDETTI, SANTE ARCANGELI (Aromas, CA)
Panelist

John Benedetti grew up fermenting things.  John’s Great Grandfather, Sante Arcangeli, founded Pescadero’s historic Arcangeli Grocery Company, a bakery famous for making artisan breads.  Growing up in the bakery, which had his father’s eclectic wine cellar underneath, taught John a deep appreciation for fine food and drink. At the age of 19 John began brewing craft beer.  The hobby went haywire over time, and led John to co-found Sante Adairius Rustic Ales in 2010, which, for a brief time, coexisted with the fledgling Sante Arcangeli winery and has been listed for several years in Beer Advocate’s list of the top 10 breweries in the world. John made his first Pinot Noir in 2008, and in 2010 found Split Rail Vineyard, a nearly forgotten site growing budwood from the early days of Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir.  He left the brewery in 2012 to focus on producing nuanced, cool climate Pinot Noir from the Santa Cruz Mountains.

TOMMY FOGARTY, THOMAS FOGARTY WINERY (Woodside, CA)
Panelist

Tom Fogarty, Jr (aka “Tommy”) was 10 years old when the planting began at Fogarty’s Northern Estate, and he worked in the planting of Langley Hill Vineyard before his 11th birthday.  Having spent a large portion of his life at the cellar and the vineyards, he earned a Wine Marketing Degree from Sonoma State University in 1993 and a BS in Business Management at Saint Mary’s in 1996.  Tommy was only peripherally involved in the winery’s day-to-day operations between 1997 and 2009 but then returned full-time to manage the business in 2010.  Today he lives at the Rapley Trail Vineyard with his wife Lily and sons Henry and Jimmy.  Lily handles all the photography and for the winery and Henry is very fond of vineyard work.  Jimmy prefers video games and grilled cheese.

JEFFREY PATTERESON, MOUNT EDEN VINEYARDS (Saratoga, CA)
Panelist

Mount Eden Vineyards is a historic wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley, in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation. Founded in 1945, it is recognized as one of the original “boutique” California winery properties, focusing on small lots of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California.  Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced world-class wines for over a half-century. Since 1981 Jeffrey Patterson has guided the winemaking and grape growing at Mount Eden.  His emphasis is on wine growing rather than winemaking; and an obsession with gentleness and naturalness in the handling of the grapes and wines is his ongoing passion.

THE WILLAMETTE VALLEY’S NEW AVAS

Moderator and noted climatologist Greg Jones will lead you through a conversation and tasting of Pinot Noirs from Oregon’s newest AVAs: Van Duzer Corridor, Laurelwood District, Tualatin Hills, and the Lower Long Tom. Learn from the winemakers what makes the terroir from these microclimates stand out in unique ways, as well as how these new regions came to be established.
GREG JONES, EVENSTAD CENTER FOR WINE EDUCATION (McMinnville, OR)

Greg Jones is the Director of the Evenstad Center for Wine Education, holds the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies, and is a professor and research climatologist in the Department of Environmental Studies at Linfield University. He specializes in the study of climate structure and suitability for viticulture, and how climate variability and change influence grapevine growth, wine production and quality. Greg holds a B.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia in Environmental Sciences with a concentration in the Atmospheric Sciences. His dissertation was on the climatology of viticulture in Bordeaux, France with a focus on the spatial differences in grapevine phenology, grape composition and yield, and the resulting wine quality. He conducts applied research for the grape and wine industry in Oregon and has given hundreds of international, national, and regional presentations on climate and wine-related research. He is the author of numerous book chapters, including being a contributing author to the 2008 Nobel Peace Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, and other reports and articles on wine economics, grapevine phenology, site assessment methods for viticulture, climatological assessments of viticultural potential, and climate change. He was named the Oregon Wine Press’s 2009 Wine Person of the Year, named to Decanter Magazine’s 2009 Power List representing the top 50 most influential people in the world of wine, has been in the top 100 most influential people in the US wine industry in 2012, 2013, and 2018 (intowine.com), and named in the Top 50 Wine Industry Leaders in Wine Business Monthly in 2016, 2017, 2018, and 2019. Recently he was bestowed with the Honorary Confrade with the Rank of Infanção (Nobleman) from the Confraria do Vinho do Porto for his work with the Portuguese wine industry.

MORGAN BECK, VAN DUZER VINEYARDS (Dallas, OR) – Van Duzer Corridor AVA
Panelist

Morgan’s winegrowing journey began with an Enology & Viticulture certificate program in Argentina, followed by apprentice experiences in Northern CA, Central Otago NZ, Casablanca Valley in Chile, and Oregon. She has worked in vineyard management in Sonoma/Napa, gaining experience in organic/BD viticulture, along with several ‘low manipulation’ winemakers in cellars throughout California and Oregon. Seeing the care and resulting quality and expression of the fruit from these experiences, Biodynamic practices have become a foundation of Morgan’s personal winegrowing approach.  Her journey led her back to Oregon in 2015 for the incredible opportunity at Johan Vineyards, a Biodynamic vineyard and winery in the Van Duzer Corridor AVA focused on making estate-grown wines from a diverse array of grape varieties.  It is her mission to farm a holistic system that will showcase its own identity through the wine it produces. The translation of place as well as sharing the story of the growing season is Morgan’s goal when guiding each wine from grape to bottle.

DIETER BOEHM, HIGH PASS WINERY (Junction City, OR) – Lower Long Tom AVA
Panelist

After years of growing Pinot Noir, Dieter believes in the centuries-old theory of terroir, which refers to how a region’s soil, microclimate, and exposure affect the wine that it nurtures. Pinot Noir, like no other grape variety, expresses the unique combination of characteristics inherent in where it is grown. Yes, we are in the Willamette Valley, but Dieter believes this area deserves its own recognition. For this reason, he petitioned for a sub-AVA, initially under the name Prairie Mountain (as proposed by the Prairie Mountain Wineries marketing group); however, this name was rejected by the TTB. A few months later, Dieter resubmitted the proposal as Lower Long Tom sub-AVA. This petition was accepted by the TTB on January 5, 2018. If approved, this becomes the eighth sub-AVA in the Willamette Valley.

RUDY MARCHESI, MONTINORE ESTATE (Forest Grove, OR) – Tualatin AVA
Panelist

Rudy Marchesi is President and Partner of Montinore Estate in the Tualatin Hills AVA. He has been in the wine industry for over 40 years, and has managed vineyards in the Willamette Valley since 1998. As a globally recognized leader in Biodynamic viticulture, Rudy has pursued sustainability and regenerative agricultural practices in his approach to vineyard management. In 2000, he started the conversion of the 240-acre vineyard at Montinore Estate from conventional farming to organic, and ultimately Biodynamic, achieving Demeter® certification in 2008.  He was named the 2018 Oregon Wine Industry ‘Person of the Year’ and in 2019 elected President of Demeter USA. Rudy and his wife Susan have four children and reside on their farm and home vineyard in Forest Grove.

LUISA PONZI, PONZI VINEYARDS (Sherwood, OR) – Laurelwood AVA
Panelist

After working and completing her post-graduate studies at the CFPPA in Beaune, France, second generation winemaker Luisa Ponzi returned to the Willamette Valley in 1993 to begin her career at Ponzi Vineyards. The Ponzi family has had the rare opportunity of farming the same land for fifty years. The 150 acres are situated on five sites located on the eastern slope of the Chehalem Mountains AVA. Luisa is a primary figure in the establishment of the Laurelwood District AVA, recognizing the importance of soil type and geology to winemaking in the region. Luisa consistently produces cellar-worthy cuvées with each vintage. With twenty-seven vintages under her belt, an eye for innovation, and a supreme understanding of winemaking, Luisa has paved the for world-class Oregon Chardonnay, Pinot noir, and Riesling.

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