A Winemaker's 30 Year Quest Helps Fulfill His Father's Vision
TURNER, Ore., Feb. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Over the past 30 years, Willamette Valley Vineyards Founder and native Oregonian, Jim Bernau, has been on a quest to naturally grow all of his barrel-aged Pinot noir. The 2010 vintage of the winery's Estate Pinot Noir is the fruition of that quest.
In 1961, the first winemaker to immigrate to Oregon, Richard Sommer, hired an Oregon attorney to do the legal work necessary to establish the first Oregon winery since Prohibition. The attorney's son was Jim Bernau.
Jim started dabbling with home winemaking when he was only 10 years old after his Dad brought home some of Richard's wine for dinner. "My brother and I used to ferment Concord grape juice in some of our first winemaking attempts," Jim laughs.
Years later in 1983, using a small tractor, Jim cleared away blackberry vines, scotch broom and remnants of an old plum orchard in the south Salem hills in Oregon. Jim believed that this particular site, on a west-southwest volcanic flow, was ideal for growing Pinot noir. "I didn't have a lot of money back then so I was ecstatic to find a sale on garden hoses at Fred Meyer," says Jim. "My neighbors knew I was dedicated when I watered over 1000 feet of vine rows by hand!"
"When I first started, I wasn't able to grow all of my own fruit," says Jim. "As the demand for my Pinot noir grew, I had to source from a number of different growers."
Please click on the video link below to see Jim finish the story in his own words.
About Willamette Valley Vineyards:
Willamette Valley Vineyards has been producing high quality, sustainably grown Pinot noir and other cool-climate varieties since 1983 – earning the distinction as "One of America's Great Pinot Noir Producers" by Wine Enthusiast Magazine and recognized by Wine & Spirits magazine as the 2011 Winery of the Year. Our mission is to create elegant, classic Oregon wines from the Willamette Valley Appellation while serving as stewards of the land. Founder Jim Bernau believes we are rewarded with wines that taste better when made from naturally grown wine grapes. Tending the vines by hand and using minimalist winemaking techniques in small-batch fermentations, we strive to capture the unique sense of place that comes from our soils.
We were the first to use natural cork in our bottles certified by the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council standards and offer 10 cents for any wine bottle returned to our tasting room for recycling. To reduce our carbon footprint, all company tractors and delivery vehicles run on biofuel – and we offer up to 50 gallons a month free to our employees for commuting to work. Willamette Valley Vineyards wines have been served at the White House, the James Beard House, and they are available at some of the finest restaurants and wine shops throughout the world.
Matt Boyington | 503-588-9463
SOURCE Willamette Valley Vineyards
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