It was a foggy October morning as our two minivans full of Oregon wine obsessed New Orleanians made their way up into the Dundee Hills to the top of the ridge. Stomachs full from our French butter, cream and pastry ladden breakfast, all were ready for a some wine to kick off the day's events.
|The Tuscowallame Vineyard, Dundee Hills|
Nestled on the northeast side of the Chehalem Mountains, Raptor Ridge Winery awaits with views of the lush, green valley below and their beautiful Tuscowallame vineyard. Founded in 1995 by Scott Shull, Raptor Ridge Winery gets its name from the many families of raptors—red-tailed hawks, kestrels, sharp-shinned hawks and owls—that share the winery’s 27-acre estate.
|Kevin Wiles, our wonderful host|
Our host, assistant winemaker Kevin Wiles, meets us in the tasting room with platters of local cheeses and meats and indulges us with a lineup of 6 wines before we take our glasses and a few bottles to the winery below. Taking us through the facility and cellar below, Kevin is a wonderful guide. We talk about the process, the people, the raptors and the land that are all involved in making Raptor Ridge Winery what it is - a beautiful place with socially and environmentally conscious people making great wine.
|Early stages of fermentation, 2013 harvest|
|Katie looking at sugar levels through the refractometer.|
Besides Kevin and elegance of their wines, there are many things I like about Raptor Ridge. One is diversity; approximately nine different cuvées are made here, including Pinot gris, Grüner Veltliner, Rosé, Tempranillo, several distinct vineyard designates, and consistent blends of Willamette Valley Pinot noir and Reserve Pinot noir. Another is quality; they produce a total of 7,500 cases per vintage at the winery and the winemaking team regularly tastes through and segregates every barrel into these select cuvées. Uncompromised quality is the focus, not quantity. Another is their respect for the land and its human as well as nonhuman occupants - they serve as a release site for birds following rehabilitative treatment by local raptor rescue foundations plus a portion of the proceeds from every bottle the sell supports iSalud!, a non-profit healthcare program for vineyard workers and their families.
Join winemaker Kevin Wiles on Thursday for a tasting of 6 wines from Raptor Ridge, including a few from the exciting 2012 vintage, accompanied by a selection of Oregon cheeses and meats presented by Casey Foote of St. James Cheese. The lineup of wines is listed below and you can click here to reserve your seat. Raptor Ridge Tasting
2013 Raptor Ridge Rose
2013 Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris
2012 Raptor Ridge Grüner Veltliner
2012 Raptor Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
2011 Raptor Ridge Estate Pinot Noir
2012 Raptor Ridge Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir