GIVING THANKS FOR WINE
Enjoy the holiday at one - or all - of these intimate Stafford wineries
BY PATTY MAMULA
With a total of five wineries now open in the Stafford region near West Linn, it’s easy to plan an intimate wine tasting afternoon at these unique family-owned tasting rooms.
Twill Cellars (21775 S.W. Ribera Lane, West Linn) features a 2.7-acre vineyard planted half-and-half with pinot noir and chardonnay. Owners Darrel and Molly Roby planted the grapes on their property in 2000. The couple also purchases syrah, pinot noir and chardonnay grapes for blends and for single-vineyard designates.
“We focus on these three varietals,” said Molly. “We usually make about 350 cases off our own vineyard.”
Although they have been producing wine since 2004, the Robys didn’t open a tasting room until 2012 when they converted Darrell’s shop into a cozy tasting space with a view of their vineyards.
Winemaker Chris Dickson oversees both the estate grapes and the purchased fruit. Wine is produced in a shared facility at August Cellars where Dickson makes all the decisions about the wine production. Alex Fortson assists Chris with winemaking and in the vineyard, as well as working in the tasting room and in sales.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen it get busier at Thanksgiving time,” said Molly. “We have enough wineries around here now to draw some crowds.”
Twill will be open for Thanksgiving on Friday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. “We’ll have a nice selection of wines for tasting and small snacks. Our rosé is always popular at holidays,” said Molly. A basic tasting fee of $15 is waived with the purchase of two bottles.
Oswego Hills Winery (off Stafford Road at 450 Rosemont Road) opened in 2003. Gleaming white buildings highlighted with process blue trim mark the picturesque estate, situated on 36-plus acres of rolling hills.
Formerly a horse boarding facility, the estate’s numerous buildings have been restored by owner Jerry Marshall — including the house where he and his wife live and the house where one of his daughters and her family live. “The buildings were from the World War II era and in bad repair,” said Marshall. Directly behind the tasting room / production facility sits a sunlit event center, surrounded by windows overlooking the vineyard.
“This is a family operation with our three daughters and their husbands and children,” said Marshall, a former American airlines pilot.
The 20-acre vineyard was planted over a period of 20 years with pinot noir, pinot gris and Marechal Foch. A small 1.5-acre plot of sauvignon blanc was added a few years back. Marshall also buys grapes from Horse Heaven Hills and Rattlesnake Hills in Washington. “I like their fruit. The flavor is so precise,” he said. Son-in-law Derek Lawrence, a pharmacist at Emmanuel Hospital, makes all their wines. “We produce 16 different wines. Our variety has become our signature,” said Marshall.
“We’re authentic winemakers and don’t
recipe our wines,” he said. “The majority of our winemaking is by hand.” All the winery’s tanks — except for one from JV Northwest — came from the old Weinhard Brewery in downtown Portland.
Today, Oswego Hills makes between 2,000 and 3,000 cases a year, depending on the grapes, selling most of it at the tasting room.
When Marshall bought the property in 1996 he wasn’t sure what he wanted to do with it, but his passion was building. Simultaneously, he began visiting wineries in the Willamette Valley to pass the time with his aging uncle. In the process, he met many Oregon wine pioneers. He determined that a winery on the cusp of an urban area could work. From the number of people visiting every weekend, it seems Marshall was right.
For Thanksgiving, Oswego Hills will be open Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Tasting options include five wines for $10 or five wines and a glass for $15. Visitors can also choose to taste all the wines for $25, with food and a $10 credit. Small bites will be available and charcuterie platters for purchase.
Tumwater Vineyard and Barrel House Tasting Room (375 S.W. Barrel House Way, West Linn, just off Pete’s Mountain Road) is the newest of the Stafford wineries. Manager Pascale King said, “We officially opened in 2017. Now in our third year, we’re very happy with the way our business is growing.”
Developers Gordon Root and Rick Waible originally planned to build 45 houses on the acreage, but encountered land-use restrictions. Instead, they settled on six luxury homes overlooking a 45-acre vineyard. At this point, there are 23 planted acres with all pinot noir and one block of chardonnay.
Tumwater offers several estate-grown wines — two chardonnays and the new white pinot noir, currently receiving great reviews. King said,
“Our new white pinot is pressed right away and has a minimum amount of contact with the skins. After sitting in oak barrels for about eight months, it’s filtered and retains a light pinkish hue.” The winery produces five additional pinots, some created with grapes from specific vineyards and labeled as such, others made from grapes grown in a distinctive Willamette Valley AVA. King said,” Eventually we’ll have all estate-grown wines here.” The 2018 pinots from the estate are “massive with super big fruit” and will be released in the spring. Tumwater’s very contemporary tasting room — with its plentiful outdoor seating and a large floor-to-ceiling fireplace — invites conversation and lingering. For Thanksgiving, the winery will be open Friday to Sunday from noon to 5:30 p.m. with music on Sunday. Tasting will include a flight of five wines and a Riedel glass with the Tumwater logo for $20. Other November events include a cookie decorating class on November 21 and a gift show November 15 from 4 to 9 p.m., November 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and November 17 from noon to 5:30 p.m.
Campbell Lane Winery (27411 Campbell Lane in West Linn) boasts the oldest vines in the Stafford area and the youngest tasting room. Leigh Campbell and his wife Ceille purchased the 100-acre property, with a significant south-facing slope, in 1996.
Leigh worked as a doctor and aspired to farming. He planted pinot gris vines on hand-cleared property, all initially hand-watered. Over the years the vineyard was expanded — recently pinot noir and chardonnay vines were added.
After Leigh and his wife moved to Charbonneau, Leigh’s daughter Tracy Campbell Parks and her husband, Andy, moved into the family home in 2013. For years, the Campbell grapes had been sold to Adelsheim, but the Parks decided to keep some and established Campbell Lane Winery. Their unique label features a die-cut area, exposing the Campbell Crest on the inside of the bottle. The winery bottles pinot gris, pinot noir and rosé.
The 2018 pinot noir, made from estate grown grapes, will be released Thanksgiving weekend along with a pinot noir reserve that Leigh personally selected from seven barrels. It’s a blend of Pommard, Wadenswil, 667 and 777 clones.
This will be the first full year for the tasting room, which is located in the Campbell home and features a picturesque outdoor area with fire pits and stunning view of Mt. Hood from the upper deck.
For Thanksgiving, the tasting room will be open Friday through Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Six flights for $15 will be offered.
A craft class for making Christmas/ holiday cards will be offered every day. Pre-registration is required. On Friday, visitors can burn off some turkey calories with a vineyard walk at 11:30 a.m. or a barrel-rolling contest at 2 p.m. Samples of TMK Creamery Cheese from Canby and Pitch Dark Chocolate will be available with tastings.
Saturday guests are encouraged to wear fan attire for the Oregon Civil War football game. Enjoy the game, cheering on your favorite team while enjoying hot soup and bread and tasting wine.
Sunday activities will be more sedate with board games like cribbage and chess — or whatever you choose to bring — and popcorn to nibble on while tasting. Test your knowledge of wine with trivia at 2:30 p.m.
Pete’s Mountain Vineyard and Winery (a mile further down at 28101 Pete’s Mountain Road) will be open on Friday after Thanksgiving from noon to 5 p.m., serving small bites to accompany tasting.
Passionate artisans share the desire to slow down, observe the world, and create delicious wines.
BY VALERIE ESTELLE ROGERS
A drive through Oregon Wine Country started it all. Martin — he prefers the affectionate “Marty” — and his wife, Julie Doerschlag, were driving through Oregon wine country on a discovery trip several years ago when Julie noticed a unique edifice. She pointed to the then-unoccupied Madsen Grain Elevator and told Marty, “This looks like a project just waiting for you.” One conversation and a handshake later, local wine patriarch Ken Wright signed over the tower and the journey of Flâneur began. With a career spent in architectural design, Marty was the perfect man to restore the 125-year-old iconic center-of-town building. The painstaking restoration and the launch of a world-class winery has become Marty’s second career.
“During my first moment tasting Flâneur wines in the cellar — even before working here — I fell head over heels,” said Kellie Campbell, tasting room manager. “In their youth, the wines tasted outstanding. But the winemaker’s vision and passion for the wines’ potential was flooring, and I could taste this in each sip.” Kellie has the WSET wine certification pins to back up her expertise — her insights are not alone as the buzz swarming this fresh young winery gets louder with each passing month. Featured in venerable publications like Wine Spectator, Wine Enthusiast, The Washington Post and several notable northwest periodicals, Flâneur has become an integral part of the Willamette Valley wine industry in the six years since Marty and Julie purchased the landmark property.
After a nine-year stint at Beaux Freres, winemaker Grant Coulter has proven an excellent fit at Flâneur. Grant brings passion, skill and his own fame to the winery — Grant earned the No. 3 spot on Wine Spectator’s 2016 list with his 2014 Beaux Freres Pinot Noir. Popular in the Willamette Valley, Flâneur subscribes to organic, sustainable and dry farming methods, producing wines from grapes nurtured by nature and not by manipulation. Fittingly, Grant is at home at Flâneur, exploring freedoms and continuing to hone his already impressive talent.
Valuing local relationships and grateful for the community of Carlton’s warm embrace, Flâneur is giving back by supporting Yamhill Carlton Together Cares Cuvée for a Cause, benefiting youth and families of the area. Select winemakers produce specially crafted 1.5-liter bottles specifically for the purpose of raising funds for this local non-profit. Flâneur crafted 600 magnums which sell for 150.00 a bottle. As a result of this fundraiser, Yamhill Carlton Together Cares raises over $300,000 — an impressive feat for two small communities with a combined population under 3,500. (Yamhill is a neighboring town located less than four miles away.) In addition to the charity magnums, Flâneur offers four pinot noirs, two chardonnays and, newly released, bubbles from the winery’s 44 acres of vines. Currently, the wines are distributed in 15 states and can be shipped to most states — if you’re looking for quintessential Oregon crafted pinot noir with hints of earth, expressive aromas and dark fruit flavors, look no further than Flâneur.
You can sample the seductive tastes of Flâneur in two locations.
After five years of work to complete seismic upgrades, mandatory reinforcements and to meet code requirements, the 125-year-old Madsen Grain Elevator is officially open and ready for your visit. On October 17, 2019, the last traces of the temporary location were transfered to the new space next door. The 110-foot-tall historic Madsen grain elevator — the beautiful new home of Flâneur — is located in the heart of charming downtown Carlton. It’s impossible to miss the landmark structure because it’s massive, the tallest building for miles around. Casual tastings for walk-ins are always available or you may reserve a classic or enhanced tasting, if you prefer. For those seeking a more intimate experience with a view, reserve a private tasting at the Blue Barn at the La Belle Promenade Vineyard. Oenophiles will love sipping wine in the restored 100-year-old barn perched in the picturesque Chehalem mountain range, just a 15-minute drive from Carlton. The barn — and as
much of the new tasting room as possible — were refurbished using reclaimed wood from the renovations done to the granary itself. Even the cheese boards are cut of repurposed wood panels from the interior of the granary shaft.
While visiting the new tasting room, don’t forget to look underfoot. On the patio, stamped stones from the streets of Burgundy, France, are scattered among terra cotta pavers. The secrets those tiles could tell and the stories being written now by the shoes treading over them... my what a tale! Speaking of stories, Flâneur boasts a fun connection to a famous celebrity but you can discover that when you visit. Just ask about the Bacon Bar.
So, what is a flâneur? According to one French definition, a flâneur is a professional lounger. A flâneur is one who enjoys life, slowing to see it, taking careful steps and sauntering as though walking a turtle. Because life should be enjoyed and savored, not corrupted by urgency, a flâneur can be found on the Flâneur Wines label. Beautifully drawn by Julie, the use of the turtle theme is seen throughout the winery, inspiring guests to be mindful connoisseurs of life.
“We consider ourselves to be flâneurs at our core,” said Marty. “We’re passionate artisans joined together by the desire to slow down, observe the world and create delicious wines.”
Flâneur Wines is open seven days a week from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit flaneurwines.com for more information.
WINE FOR THE REST OF US
Bo’s Wine Depot showcases great, inexpensive wines from around the world
BY ANTHONY ST. CLAIR
Schlock or snobbery.
When it comes to buying wine in Oregon, says Bo’s Wine Depot founder Boris “Bo” Wiedenfeld-Needham, consumers have often faced those two extremes. Instead of overwhelming racks with no guidance, or dusty overpriced bottles in intimidating specialty shops, in 2015 Boris created what he considers a new wine-buying experience for Oregonians. With an original location in Eugene and a new store in Springfield, Bo’s Wine Depot welcomes the wine buyer with a brightly-lit, approachable space, a select inventory of quality wines at a variety of prices, and helpful experts who can guide any customer to the right bottle, whether it’s for a collection or to take to a party.
“I wanted to introduce Oregonians to many of the great inexpensive wines from around the world that I knew, many of them from Europe,” says Boris. “And I wanted to take the stigma out of the whole concept of wine shops, that you’d have to be expert or rich — or both — to shop at one. I want people to be able to walk into one of my stores and not feel intimidated, no matter their wine knowledge.”
Four years after opening his first shop, Boris is now ready to add a third Eugene/Springfield location—and bring the Bo’s Wine Depot experience to more parts of Oregon, beginning with franchises in the Portland area.
Boris’s love for wine began in his native Germany. Born near Düsseldorf, Boris saw wine as a fun, regular part of everyday life. From his father’s wine cellar to humble wine markets set up in barns, the point of wine was never pretentiousness, but enjoyment.
Starting with a small glass of wine with dinner at age 13, Boris began learning about wine, a passion he continued stoking after moving to the U.S. in 1987. Prior to opening the first 1,500-square-foot Bo’s location in 2016, Boris studied enology (winemaking) at the University of California, Davis; worked in wine distribution; and also served as the general manager for Eugene’s Sundance Wine Cellars. His combined experiences helped him understand the business side of the wine industry—and it showed him that beyond the big distributors were amazing but unknown wines.
Today Boris co-owns Bo’s Wine Depot with his wife, Karen Wiedenfeld-Needham. Eugene store manager Buzz Kawders is another longtime industry veteran, whose experience also includes making sparkling wine for Domaine Meriwether in Veneta.
Everything about Bo’s Wine Depot, says Boris, is designed to reflect approachability and affordability. Prices range from under $10 to over $100, with an average bottle price of around $12.
“Traditional fine wine stores, which tend to be a little arrogant and pricy, cater to collectors and intimidate the hell out of people who are new to wine,” he explains. “I want wine shopping to be fun and non-intimidating. I want folks with 10 bucks in their pocket to feel just as welcome as the collector looking for a grand cru Burgundy.”
Earlier this year, trade magazine Beverage Dynamics named Bo’s Wine Depot one of its 2019 Top 100 Retailers — the only company in Oregon to earn the distinction, and one of only two in the Northwest. “Operating in a control state such as Oregon takes creativity,” says Boris. “Our customers have shown us our concept is one that was long overdue.”
In addition to wines from around the world, the shop offers a regular Bo’s Gris, a pinot gris made by Mark Nichols, owner of Eugene’s Oregon Wine Lab. Boris plans to continue developing more custom wines.
Boris also believes customers need to more of a wine’s story than what a label might tell. Small signs help customers understand more about each wine and guide their choice.
After proving the concept with the original Eugene store, Boris opened a second shop in neighboring Springfield earlier this year.
“Springfield is the up-and-coming place in our little metro area,” explains Boris. “If you look at most of the cool new restaurants, coffee shops, breweries, distilleries, etc., they’re not going into downtown Eugene, they’re going into Springfield. Main Street Springfield is starting to look like what I hope one day Eugene will look like.”
In addition to everyday wine shopping, Bo’s Wine Depot customers can also subscribe to one of three wine wlubs: The Dark Side, The Explorer or The Collector’s Club.
“Customers get 12 bottles of fun, everyday
drinkers from around the world every other month,” says Boris, “together with tasting notes and stories about the people who made the wine, and why we chose it.”
Dark Side wines feature hearty reds (and the “occasional hearty rosé”), such as cabernet, zinfandel, merlot, red blends, Nebbiolo or grenache. The shop’s most popular club, The Explorer, explores diverse, lesser-known styles from around the world, from Gascogne blanc and bobal rosé, to Montepulciano and Rhône reds. Collector’s Club members enjoy rare and limited releases, small allocations and one-time buys, all personally selected by Boris, such as barolo, Oregon pinot noir, and Cháteauneuf-du-Pape.
With two locations up and running, plus regular events and wine clubs, Boris could let himself focus on management, but instead he’s taking a step back to look at the future of Bo’s Wine Depot.
“I am removing myself more and more from the day-to-day operations of the stores,” says Boris, “to focus more on strategic planning, finances and, of course, tasting and buying the wines.”
Boris plans to open a third location in 2020, most likely in north Eugene. After that, Boris will focus on crafting a franchise model for Bo’s Wine Depot, then begin working with wine lovers throughout the state to help them start their own Bo’s Wine Depots.
In the next five years Boris hopes to see the franchises take off in Oregon. “I hope that I will have improved the lives of our employees and franchisees, and enabled them to pursue something that is fulfilling to them and enables them to be successful,” says Boris. “I would love to get the kind of brand-awareness where people might drive somewhere and say, ‘oh look, there’s a Bo’s. Let’s stop and grab some wine on our way home.’”
Bo’s Wine Depot
541.603.3768 • bosdepot.com
Eugene: 364 E. 40th Ave. (in the Edgewood Shopping Center)
Springfield: 1879 Pioneer Parkway E.