• Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards

One of the longest serving estates in Oregon, Willamette Valley Vineyards was founded in 1983 by Oregon wine pioneer, Jim Bernau. Jim cleared away an old pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills to start his first vineyard. Over time Willamette Valley Vineyards has considerably increased their estate vineyards. Willamette Valley Vineyards sources all of its Pinot Noir from their nearly 500 acres of estate vineyards. Since the winery founding stewardship of the land has been a key principle in our winemaking. They practice environmentally sustainable farming and are part of the founding of the Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) program.

Willamette Valley Vineyards approach is to grow, by hand, the highest quality fruit using careful canopy management and yield balance, to achieve wines that are truly expressive of the varietal and the place where they are grown. They ferment and barrel each vineyard lot separately and display the best of these in our single vineyard designate bottlings. Their stylistic emphasis is on pure varietal fruit characters, with attention to depth, richness of mouthfeel and balance. The wines are truly a collaborative effort of the entire vineyard and winemaking staff.

Head winemaker Joe Ibrahim is originally from New York and started his wine journey in Vermont. He has held several high end wine positions prior to coming to Willamette Valley Vineyards, including working for Ste. Michelle Wine Estate in Washington State, as well as Gallo Family in California where he learned about brandy distillation as a Spirits Maker and sparkling wine production as the Senior Winemaker in charge of the sparkling wine program. He served as winemaker for Edna Valley prior to coming to Willamette Valley Vineyards and has crafted some really good new releases. One of the great value sparkling wines on the market, the 2015 Willamette Valley Vineyards Brut sparkling wine has loads of tension and astringency, with lovely citrus tones. The Willamette Valley Vineyards Estate Pinot Noir has really good freshness and complexity, its a killer value. 

The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, has two-thirds of the state’s wineries and vineyards and is home to more than 500 wineries. It is recognized as one of the premier Pinot Noir producing areas in the world. Buffered from Pacific storms on the west by the Coast Range, the valley follows the Willamette River north to south for more than a hundred miles from the Columbia River near Portland to just south of Eugene. To the east, the Cascade Range draws the boundary between the Willamette Valley’s misty, cool climate and the drier, more extreme climate of eastern Oregon. At its widest point, this long, broad valley spans sixty miles. Overall, the climate boasts a long, gentle growing season – warm summers with cool evenings; bursts of Indian summer into fall; mild winters followed by long springs. In ideal years the maritime climate provides the best conditions possible for growing the cool-climate grape variety for which Oregon is best known: Pinot Noir. In lesser years, fall weather can be tricky, causing winemakers to pull their hair. By this measure the Willamette Valley compares favorably with the Burgundy and Alsace regions of France. And, like it or not, the often finicky Willamette Valley climate is the promised land for Pinot Noir in America. Wineries also produce Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Riesling, Melon, Gewürztraminer, sparkling wine, Sauvignon Blanc and some Syrah, Cabernet, and Merlot among other lesser-known varieties.