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Wine Advocate Scores - 2010 Pinot Noirs

Date: Tue, Apr 16, 2013 Winery Blogs

The Wine Advocate is giving us plenty of reasons to celebrate with their review of our 2010 Pinot noirs! Four of our wines were rated with 90 points or higher:

92 Points for 2010 Hannah Vineyard Pinot Noir
From the top of the hill that is otherwise occupied by Tualatin Estate Vineyard, planted with a wide rang of selections in a soil littered with marble-like pisolites (calcium carbonate accretions), the WVV 2010 Pinot Noir Hannah turned my head with its scents of rose petal and hibiscus; red currant and red raspberry; citrus oils and cardamom. Silken in texture; subtly glycerin-rich; yet buoyant (at barely 13% alcohol) and infectiously juicy, this finishes with brightly sustained berry fruit and penetrating, zesty piquancy. Too bad there are but 167 cases of this beauty, which I suspect will be worth following for a decade.

92 Points for 2010 Yamhill-Carlton AVA Series Pinot Noir
Representing a mere 145-case lot in which only a single barrel was new, the WVV 2010 Pinot Noir Luminous Hills comes from a mixed sedimentary and volcanic soil site that happens to have once (well before becoming a vineyard) belonged to Steve Jobs. Blueberry and elderberry; smoked meat; bittersweet floral perfume; and a marine breeze combination of salinity and alkalinity serve for an attractive and fascinating nose. Exuberantly juicy and silken-textured, this offers counterpoint by way of fruit pit piquancy and tart crunch of berry seeds. Satisfyingly persistent and downright bracing, it ought to hold up well in bottle for at least 6-8 years.

91 Points for 2010 Elton Pinot Noir
The 2010 Pinot Noir Elton comes from an Eola-Amity Hills property planted beginning in the early 1980s by Dick and Betty O’Brien, who sold it to WVV in 2007 (using the proceeds to endow a professorship in viticulture at Oregon State). Red raspberry, cherry, and geranium in the nose reconvene on a firm but fine-grained, buoyant palate, hints of mushroom and white pepper adding to the fascination of the long, juicy finish. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this become even more complexly impressive in a few years and would expect it to hold well for the better part of a decade.

90 Points for 2010 Signature Cuvée Pinot Noir
Consisting of a selection of the best barrels in their cellar (and this year amounting to 691 cases), the WVV 2010 Pinot Noir Signature Selection delivers tart-edged cherry, red currant, and plum with accents of smoky black tea, orange rind, and fresh ginger in a pungent aromatic melange and a juicy, bright, downright frisky but by no means overly lean palate. There is a cyanic glow from pit fruit intensity in the finish, where in addition a low-toned suggestion of roasted red meats adds savory depth. Thirteen months in nearly half new barrels has not resulted in any overt oakiness. This should be well worth following for the better part of a decade.

​Reviewed and published in the August 2012 issue by David Schidknecht.

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Jim Bernau Advocates for Fermentation Science Funding

Date: Fri, Apr 5, 2013 Winery Blogs

Founder & Winegrower, Jim Bernau
Oregon State University's Fermentation Science program was started in 1996 with an endowment from our Founder, Jim Bernau.Jim saw a need for an educated workforce for the Oregon wine industry and approached the school and asked what it would take.His financial gift established a program, one of just a handful in the nation, addressing the use of microorganisms as processing agents in the production of wine and beer, as well as a variety of other fermented foods such as cheese, yogurt, soy sauce, bread and vegetables.

Reported in today's Statesman Journal article, "Effort Brewing to Consolidate Fermentation Sciences at OSU," a new piece of legislation, Senate Bill 816,would expand upon Jim's initial vision by setting aside $2.5 million for research and promotion of Oregon's wineries, distilleries, microbreweries, bread and cheese-making.

Jim spoke on behalf of the Oregon Winegrowers Association to the Senate stating, "The is a much broader effort and has a much greater effect than the effort we first began in 1995. We have a long list of identifiable research needs that will save or generate millions."

Oregon has more than 450 wineries and 850 vineyards with a collective economic impact topping $2 billion. We look forward to growing our industry with the help of this legislation!

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Video: Jim's 30 Year Quest

Date: Fri, Feb 15, 2013 Winery Blogs

Jim Bernau - Estate Pinot Noir
Our highly anticipated 2010 Estate Pinot Noir is set to be released in mid-March!To celebrate, we've captured our Founder, Jim Bernau, on video sharing a few key storiesabout his 30 year questto grow all of our barrel-aged Pinot noir as"Estate-grown". The 2010 vintage of our Estate Pinot marks the first time we will be able to do that.

Watch the video now andlearn about Jim's quest!

Willamette Valley Vineyards
2010 Estate Pinot Noir

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2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Date: Mon, Jan 14, 2013 Winery Blogs

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is one of the largest and most respected competitions for American wines in the world. On Friday, January 11th they released their 2013 results! 8 northwest wines received top awards, including our Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Gris (Gold) and our 2011 Riesling (Double Gold).

This is a great article from Andy Perdue:
Great Northwest Wine

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Wine & Spirits Magazine Gives Our Whole Cluster Pinot Noir 90 Points

Date: Tue, Sep 11, 2012 Winery Blogs

In the September 2012 issue of Wine & Spirits magazine our 2011 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir was recognized with a 90 point score and a "Best Buy" rating. This is the second vintage in a row of this unique wine to receive this score.

The vision of our Whole Cluster Pinot Noir is to capture pure, fresh-picked Pinot noir flavors. We gently place whole, uncrushed Pinot noir clusters in a stainless steel tank, evacuate the oxygen, add yeast, seal the tank, and wait. An anaerobic (carbonic) fermentation ensues, with thousands of micro-fermentations inside each individual berry. We press the juice once ideal fruit character is expressed yet before stem tannins are absorbed.

The resulting wine is fresh and juicy, with low levels of tannin, bright acidity, and a gorgeous nose of a summer fruit salad. Because of its unique structure, this is our most versatile food-wine, pairing with everything from pizza andbarbecueto Thai and sushi.

Click here to order our 90pt Whole Cluster Pinot Noir from our online store. Try it with some of your favorite comfort foods or even chilled!

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Book Signing with Rex Pickett at Willamette Valley Vineyards

Date: Mon, Aug 6, 2012 Winery Blogs

We will host Rex Pickett, award winning author of "Sideways" and "Vertical" on Thursday, August 16th from 1:00 to 4:00pm in our Estate Tasting Room.

"Sideways is arguably the most influential wine-themed movie in American history." stated Wine Enthusiast magazine's Steve Heimoff in a late 2010 article.

Rex Pickett has written film scripts, TV scripts, novels, numerous magazine articles, written and directed two feature films, and now has a critically-acclaimed smash hit play currently running based off his book, "Sideways." He has conducted writing seminars and workshops and this year will be the keynote speaker at the North American Wine Bloggers Conference held in Portland, Oregon on August 17th-19th, 2012. He is currently the wine columnist for Town & Country Magazine and is writing a pilot for HBO titled "The Nose."

During the book signing, we will provide passed hors d’oeuvres and a complimentary Pinot noir tasting flight of our most limited wines, including our 94 point 2008 O'Brien Pinot Noir. There is no cost and no RSVP needed for the event. There will also be a limited number of "Sideways" and "Vertical" books for sale.For questions, please call the winery at 503-588-9463.

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WVV- Giving a "Hoot" About Owls!

Date: Wed, Jun 27, 2012 Winery Blogs

Little did I know, last February, where a simple email would lead. The email was from Jan Green, HR Director at Willamette Valley Vineyards, and asked whether or not I would be interested in building a couple of barn owl nesting boxes for the vineyard. My wife Erica and I both started volunteering at WVV shortly after we moved to Salem in 2008. In addition to serving in the Tasting Room and at various events, we had done several special projects for Jan- but this was a unique opportunity to combine my two favorite hobbies; wine and woodworking.
Joe removing an owl from it's holding box

I built the first four owl nesting boxes based on plans provided by Louise Shimmel of the Cascades Raptor Center. At the end of March, Randy Hillyer, the facilities maintenance manager at WVV, and I had installed the first of them in the trees at the West edge of the vineyard with the rest following over the next couple of weeks. Shortly thereafter we installed three Kestrel nesting boxes at the vineyard as well. In April Randy and I had a chance to visit the Raptor Centerin Eugene and learn more about the birds that they are caring for and about barn owls in particular. We also visited one of the vineyards where the Raptor Center had previously released barn owls and were further educated on their success.

Randy Hillyer and Joe Perez
In June 2011, Louise delivered the first 4 owls to WVV and Randy and I placed them in the nesting boxes. We covered the opening of the boxes with a small piece of cloth taped over the opening and a long string hanging down. This allowed the baby owls time to settle down after trauma of travel and being handled. At sunset Jan, Erica and I went back out to the vineyard and pulled the cloth coverings down. We were thrilled to see one of the young owls staring back at us from the last box we opened.

Last summer I built another dozen owl boxes and we installed them at the Tualatin Estate Vineyard and Elton Vineyard as well, with help from WVV’s vineyard manager, Efren Loeza. I also donated two of them to the raptor center. We released a total of 20 barn owls and 4 kestrels at the various vineyards in 2011. On one marathon day in August we released 8 owls and 3 kestrels in a single day.

Getting ready to place the owl in the nesting box
The owls are transported in cardboard boxes similar to what one would use to transport a cat or small dog. One of the critical steps in placing the owls is getting them out of the cardboard box and ready to go into the nesting boxes. The first couple of times that we released owls at WVV, Louise delivered the owls and handled this step herself. With the later releases, she trained Randy and me to handle this step ourselves. One of us would drive down to Eugene to pick up the owls (or Kestrels) at the Raptor Centerand then meet back at the vineyard. Wearing heavy welder’s gloves, the trick is to reach into the box and let the owl grab onto the glove. Even though the owls are only a few months old, they are very strong and their talons are very sharp. Then reaching in with the other hand, try to get a grip around both legs and both wing tips in one hand. It usually takes both of us to get the grip right, but holding a live owl in your hand is a truly unique and thrilling experience.

Welcome home!
We received the first 4 owls of this 2012 year last Thursday and released them into the Willamette Valley Vineyard that evening. We are hoping for a few more over the next few weeks and plan to release the next group at the Elton Vineyard.

Joe Perez
Shareholder/ Volunteer

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Celebrate Oregon Wine Month! By Mickey Bellman

Date: Mon, Apr 30, 2012 Winery Blogs

When not working in the Tasting Room, Mickey is a
forester , enjoys freelance writing and tending to
his Christmas tree farm. He's been learning about and
tastingwine for over three decades and loves to share his
experiences with all of our Tasting Room guests.

May is Oregon Wine Month and also heralds the start of our 8th annual “Why I Love Oregon Pinot Noir” Contest at Willamette Valley Vineyards!

The terroir of Oregon’s Willamette Valley is ideal for the creation of superb Pinot noir. The varied soils and cool climate nourish the vines to produce a unique flavor in the Pinot noir wine that is recognized and acclaimed around the world.

In just four decades Oregon’s wine industry has vaulted to the forefront, and in January, Governor John Kitzhaber and the State of Oregon proclaimed May as Oregon’s official wine month. To help celebrate, Willamette Valley Vineyards is once again sponsoring a contest to discover “Why I Love Oregon Pinot Noir.” If you are a writer or poet, tell us in 100 words or less what infatuates you about Pinot noir. If you are a musician or singer, express yourself in song and send it to us on a CD or MP3 file. If your talent lends itself to video, send us a DVD or MPEG file to illustrate your passion. All entries will be carefully considered but we must receive your entries by June 30, 2012.

It's always been so hard to choose just one winner so this year we have added a 2nd and 3rd place prize. The grand prize winner of the contest will win an Oregon Wine Country experience for two which includes airfare, lodging, rental car, meals and will participate in some fun Oregon activities like deep sea fishing, a hot air balloon ride or possibly a day of hiking Multnomah Falls. It's widely known that Pinot noir and salmon are an amazing pair so we decided the 2nd and 3rd place winners should receive a fresh Northwest Copper River Salmon dinner for six delivered right to their door, including recipes, wine and more.

Oregon is Pinot noir country. Come stay, sip and enjoy the delicate flavors of Willamette Valley wine. Linger over a glass of Pinot Noir while the sun sets beyond the crest of the Coast Range. Then consider why you love Oregon Pinot noir and either mail it to us at Willamette Valley Vineyards or upload your entry online at www.wvv.com/contest. There may be only one contest winner, but everyone wins when they are enjoying a glass of fine Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir!
Mickey BellmanFounding Shareholder, Willamette Valley Vineyards

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Willamette Valley Vineyards Partners with Cirque Du Soleil

Date: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 Winery Blogs

We're partnering with Cirque Du Soleil to celebrate the April 5th opening of their latest acrobatic achievement, “OVO” in Portland. We'll be giving away tickets throughour Facebook fan page and also offering a Pinot Noir, food and show special to Wine Club Members.

OVO features a colorful ecosystem teeming with life, where insects work, play and flutter in a non-stop riot of energy and movement. “Overhead and on-the-ground, OVO is a whimsical infestation” says Chicago Now Radio.

Keep an eye on our Facebook fan page each week in March. We’ve got some fun bug and wine related questions and photo contest opportunities to win tickets to the show. We’ll be giving away over 20 tickets!
For more information on the Facebook promotion and special Wine Club “OVO” event please call the winery at 503-588-9463 or email info@wvv.com.We can be found on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/WillametteVV.

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A Warm Summer Memory for a Cool Winter Day

Date: Tue, Dec 13, 2011 Winery Blogs

I am truly amazed by the fact that so many people visit us from all over the country, the point of their travels being to see Oregon's beautiful wine country! We live in a small world, which makes what I do when I meet people very special and exciting.

Beth Bering
Winery Ambassador
A particularlymemorableexperience that I had recently was when I met one of my customers in person for the first time. Her name is Barbara, she's fromTennessee, and her very favorite WVV wine is our 2010 Whole Cluster Pinot Noir. I contacted Barbara for the first timein July and she welcomed my call graciously, even from her desk at work. I introduced myself and explained how I can help her as her personalWinery Ambassador. She remembered Willamette Valley Vineyardsand was delighted about the idea of orderingher Whole Cluster Pinot Noir, however, she did not have her credit card with her at that moment. Barbara even wentso far as to place me on hold as she called her credit card company to obtain her credit card number, however, this particular company hasstrictsecurity policies and would not provide her with her own number over the phone. Barbara ensured me that she would call me back that same day when she got home from work to place her order. As I talked more with Barbara, I learned that she would be visiting Oregon during August for a class reunion. I told her that I would love the opportunity to host her for a complimentary tour and tasting at the Estate when she visited Oregon. She loved that idea and accepted my invitation.
At the end of the day Barbara did call me back (as she promised) to place her order, and we further discussed her upcoming visit.When I finally met Barbara and her friend in person, it happened to be a beautiful day in mid August, perfect for our scheduled tour. I set them up for a tasting outside on the deck so they could enjoy thegorgeousview and took several pictures of the two of them. They had a great experience tasting the wines together and Barbara even joined our wine club. As I talked with Barbara and her friend during the tour, I learned that she at one time lived in Kirkland, Washington in the early nineties.Interestingly enough, I also lived in Kirkland, Washington during that same time period that she lived there. Which makes my point... we do live in a small world!


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Face to Face

Date: Wed, Nov 16, 2011 Winery Blogs

Caitlin Rich, Lead Winery Ambassador

During the three years I have been at the winery, I have had the pleasure of working with many of Willamette Valley Vineyards' customers and wine lovers outside of the state of Oregon. It is wonderful hearing stories from those that love our wine that are all across the United States, stories of how our wines were shared at the most recent family gathering, how a glass of WVV Pinot Noir was enjoyed while sitting outside during the summer months (while it is likely still raining here in Oregon), or stories of how our wine simply made a summer dinner that much better.

Over the years I’ve built friendships with many WVV wine lovers that I have never even met face to face. Many of our conversations are over the phone catching up on what we’ve been up to that season, what wines we’re enjoying and/or releasing at the winery, and what the weather is like where they are compared to Oregon. I can tell you right now, Oregon weather is not typically favored during those conversations.

Caitlin with The Peters Visiting from Colorado

There is absolutely nothing better than the moment you finally get to meet someone face to face that you’ve spoken with over the phone numerous times. This past summer I was able to spend time with customers, and more importantly friends, from Nevada, Texas, Colorado, California, Ohio, Arizona, South Carolina, and more, many of whom came out to visit Oregon and the winery! It was those moments, sitting outside on the patio, wandering around the winery, or having lunch together, that make up my favorite memories from this past summer at Willamette Valley Vineyards. Now, when calling with wine specials or just simply to say hello from all the way over here in Oregon, I will get to put a face to a voice.

Caitlin Rich
Lead Winery Ambassador

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Governors' Gold Awards - Oh What a Night!

Date: Thu, Nov 10, 2011 Winery Blogs

The night of the Governer’s Gold Awards, Portland’s beautiful Convention center was aglow with the smiling faces of the participants of Oregon’s Special Olympics. Participants, citizens, and Governors, of past and present, from the great State of Oregon were there on hand to honor the recipients of the 2011 Governors Gold Awards. 

Winery Ambassador Wende Bennette
This wonderful program helps raise money for Oregon’s Special Olympics, whose mission is to provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports. For children and adults with intellectual disabilities, this program provides continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy, and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills, and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes, and the community. Margaret Hunt, CEO of SOOR (Special Olympics of Oregon) brought me to tears and smiles with heartfelt stories of courage and perseverance from the athletes and their families. With close to 7,000 participants throughout the state, nearly 70,000 people with intellectual disabilities could benefit from participating in Special Olympics. Willamette Valley Vineyards filled glasses with exquisite 2008 South Block Pinot Noir,2008 Elton Vineyards Pinot Noir, 2008 Estate Pinot Noir, and 2009 Pinot Gris while the event opened up their Live Auction to raise funds for Oregon Special Olympics. Among the packages was a day with Governor Barbara Roberts touring Oregon’s Wine Country, with Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery being one of the destinations.

Governor Kitzhaber
Our Founder, Jim Bernau, received the Governors Gold Award last year and had this to say about the event... ”How lucky are we that we make a product that we can share to help raise money for programs like this. For these kids, just to participate in a sport or race builds confidence which in turn lifts the individual spirit with dignity and self-respect. ”We hope to continue supporting such an incredible cause and are looking forward to the 2011 Winter Games!!! For more information on Oregon Special Olympics and/or the Governors Gold awards please follow link to websites: http://www.governorsgoldawards.com/

Wende Bennette
Winery Ambassador

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Willamette Valley Vineyards Named Winery of the Year!

Date: Wed, Oct 19, 2011 Winery Blogs

This October, Wine & Spirits magazine held its 8th annual “Top 100 Wineries of the Year” awards, highlighting producers as the top performers in their respective regions, from legendary names in Napa Valley and Burgundy to newcomers in New Zealand and Spain. Willamette Valley Vineyards was among the recipients!

Wine & Spirits Editor, Joshua Greene says, "Each year, our panels and critics blind taste more than 10,000 wines, selecting the best for recommendation in the magazine. Our "Top 100 Wineries of the Year Award" highlight brands with a range of wines our critics have scored at the top of their categories. Willamette Valley Vineyards' performance makes it a great ambassador for wines of Oregon."

The “Winery of the Year” honor is a highlight for a year of recognition for Willamette Valley Vineyards. Earlier this year, the winery was recognized by Wine Press Northwest magazine as their “Oregon Winery of the Year.”

Click here to visit the Wine & Spirits website to view our award profile and leave a comment.

We’re absolutely honored.

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Grapestomp : Wende's Incredible Weekend!

Date: Thu, Oct 13, 2011 Winery Blogs

Greetings Grape Stompers,

Wow- what an incredible time we had! The weekend of Grapestomp proved to be one of the best I have ever experienced. 

The weekend started off on a high note with some unbelievable weather, sunshine and clear skies. The sunny weather was reflected in our guests attitudes, as we saw people dressed in bright costumes, hosted a large, giddy bridal party, and had an 80 year old Grandma (of the bride-to-be) stomp out the competition in her heat. Although she won her heat, the grand winner of the day went to "The Harlem Grape Trotters" with an impressive 201 ounces, sending these first-timers to the finals on Sunday.

After a good nights sleep, we came out on Sunday morning to get ready for another round of stomping and found the weather to be classic for Oregon; wet. Being native Oregonians, we rolled with the punches and moved the entire operation undercover in our Breezeway, protected from the dripping rain. I have to say that this move was a bit tight, but created a terrific energy that resonated all day. With bull horn in hand we approached the finals. Grapes were weighed out to ensure fairness and each Barrel cleaned and ready to go. Stompers were ready, swabbies were set, and the whistle was blown. Cheering from the crowd were family and friends of the teams, all hoping their favorites would win. At the end of each 3 minute heat we weighed out what was captured and got our winners. In the end, we sent Soraida Cross and Kristi Reed to the World Grape Stomp Competition in Santa Rosa, CA where they competed this last weekend. We received this tweet from Soraida after their California stomping,“The grape stomping was a blast, we lost our heat, memories priceless. Thanks for all the well wishes #SalemOR”.

I absolutely can't wait till next year!

-Wende Bennette

Founder, Jim Bernau swabbed for Mrs. Portland!
Winery Ambassador 
Me and the winners! Next stop, Santa Rosa, CA!

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