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Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyards
September 8, 2016 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Founder Jim Bernau Nominated for



We are proud to announce that Willamette Valley Vineyards Founder Jim Bernau is a finalist for "Person of the Year" in the prestigious Wine Star Awards from Wine Enthusiast. In addition, the Willamette Valley has also been nominated as "Wine Region of the Year".

Wine Enthusiast Magazine was founded in 1988 and with 800,000 readers is regarded as the world’s largest periodical devoted exclusively to wine and spirits. They created the Wine Star Awards to honor individuals and companies that have made outstanding achievements in the wine and beverage world.

We are honored to have our Founder and our region recognized for excellence and be included among our industry's leaders and innovators.

Winners will be announced in the December "Best of the Year" issue of Wine Enthusiast Magazine.

Watch Jim's 30-year quest video which highlights the journey in creating estate-grown wines.

"Person of the Year" in the prestigious Wine Star Awards from Wine Enthusiast. In addition, the Willamette Valley has also been nominated as "Wine Region of the Year".

Time Posted: Sep 8, 2016 at 5:05 PM
Willamette Valley Vineyards
September 7, 2016 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Jim Bernau Receives 2016 OSU College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame Award


Watch Founder Jim Bernau speak about Oregon's wine industry and Oregon State University here.

We are so proud to share the exciting news that our Founder Jim Bernau has been honored with the 2016 Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame Award. Oregon Wine Research Institute (OWRI) details the recognition below:

Jim Bernau, founding owner of Willamette Valley Vineyards in Turner, OR, received the 2016 Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences Hall of Fame Award, which pays tribute to individuals who have made outstanding contributions in agriculture. He joins Dai Crisp (2015) and David Adelsheim (2013) as wine industry recipients of this honor.   

Jim is an advocate of research and education efforts at OSU, supporting the Oregon Wine Research Institute and the OSU Fermentation Sciences program. Along with a team of industry representatives, his efforts to increase legislative funding enhanced OWRI research in four OSU departments, provided resources to hire an enology faculty research assistant and a research vineyard manager, and a new faculty position in OSU Applied Economics. These resources allow OWRI to better serve the wine industry.

Jim's lobbying efforts extend to the early 1980's with the start of the Oregon Wine Advisory Board (now the Oregon Wine Board) and the establishment of a grape tax to fund the organization. The OWB provides funding opportunities for viticulture and enology research though a granting process. He also supported legislative initiatives aimed at the building of wineries in farm zones, direct wine to consumer sales, and wine tasting in stores. OWB Executive Director Tom Danowski states, "Jim's generous spirit has lifted our industry through his gifts to iSalud! and Oregon State University. He has been an effective spokesperson for our industry in Salem and Washington, D.C."

Jim's contributions to OSU extend past his legislative efforts. When Jim was president of the Nor'Wester Brewing Company of Portland, he made a personal donation to OSU's food science department to establish the first professorship for fermentation science in the nation. Along with the donation, Bernau worked with OSU to establish a pilot brewery equipped with tanks and equipment, used to educate students on the mechanisms behind beer brewing and production. 

Jim demonstrates his efforts in sustainability by his commitment to Oregon Low Input Viticulture and Enology. In the organization's beginning, Jim served on the LIVE board  of directors, and he has dedicated a significant amount of time ensuring all vineyards under his control at Willamette Valley Vineyards are LIVE certified.  

Mark Chien stated, "I met with Jim to interview him he had just returned from meeting with the governor, who wanted an update on the Oregon wine industry. The fact that she called Jim for the information speaks volumes of his role and importance to the state government and the Oregon wine community.  The Oregon Wine Research Institute believes Jim deserves this honor."

Time Posted: Sep 7, 2016 at 9:44 AM
Willamette Valley Vineyards
August 17, 2016 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Veraison in the Vineyard

Early Muscat compared with Pommard Pinot Noir clusters at Tualatin Estate Vineyard

Veraison at Quail Run Vineyard in Southern Oregon results in Griffin Creek wines

Pinot Noir at Elton Vineyard in the Eola Hills

There is a sweet smell of sugar in the air in our three estate-owned vineyards. The grapes are slowly changing colors and sugars are increasing.

Crop estimations have been completed and the yields are similar to the 2009 vintage, which resulted in concentrated wines of the highest quality.

The vineyard team is busy preparing for another early harvest. We are expecting to begin harvesting around the first week in September. The start date will all depend on the weather conditions over the next few weeks.

The vineyard team will begin pre-harvest sampling this week. We sample clusters from the vineyard to test for Brix (sugar), and TA/pH (acids). We will track this data over the course of veraison to assist the Winemaker in choosing the perfect harvest date.

With an increase of sugar in the grapes, there is a change in ecological activity in the vineyard. Birds, deer, insects and diseases are now our main focus until harvest. We use sustainable and eco-friendly methods to deter any pests from the grapes along with promoting beneficial habitats.

While the team awaits the harvest call; there is a lot to prepare -- tractors need fine tuning and we need to welcome the nearly 100 pickers that will help us harvest premium winegrapes.

We look forward to celebrating the 2016 harvest!

Time Posted: Aug 17, 2016 at 9:19 PM
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Named Best Vineyard/Tasting Room Experience by Sunset Magazine!



Willamette Valley Vineyards has won the Sunset Travel Award for “Best Vineyard/Tasting Room Experience” from Sunset Magazine.

This is the first time an Oregon winery has been selected for this prestigious award, and we are extremely proud and honored at the recognition. 

About our winery, Sunset says “With behind-the-scenes tours, wine and food pairings, and three suites for overnight guests, Willamette Valley Vineyards is an all-in-one weekend destination. A shaded courtyard with vineyard views and music performances takes the experience up a notch.”

Sunset, founded to promote travel in the West, introduced the Sunset Travel Awards to honor excellence and innovation in the tourism industry across the 13 Western states, British Columbia, and Alberta. The awards recognize achievement in lodging, dining, cultural tourism, outdoor adventure, and other categories.

“Sunset is the travel authority in the West—our 2016 Travel Award winners represent the best of the best.” states Irene Edwards, Editor-in-Chief of Sunset Magazine

Come visit us at our Estate Tasting Room to experience a world-class wine experience including wine tasting, food pairings and winery tours.

Time Posted: Jul 21, 2016 at 4:21 PM
Ashley Lindsay - Viticulturist

Spring in the Vineyard


Bud break at Elton Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills AVA

A lady beetle at our Estate Vineyard in the Salem Hills



Spring is here and the vines have woken up from a winter rest.  During the rainy winter season, we saw record-breaking precipitation numbers from a strong El Nino event. From October 2015 to March 2016, the Willamette Valley recorded 39.58 inches of rainfall (1) and in December alone we recorded over 15 inches of rain! Very few days dipped below freezing and it was a warm El Nino winter.

After a mild Oregon winter, the vineyard staff is eager to begin the growing season early, yet again this year. For the 3rd year in a row, bud break is being reported throughout the Willamette Valley starting in late March and continuing thru April. Now that the vines are starting to grow, we pay very close attention to the weather forecast for frost or hail events.

As the winter rains have slowed down it has cleared the way for a few warm and sunny days. As soon as the ground was dry enough to work, the vineyard staff began preparing the vines for the growing season. We still have rain occurring weekly, so many of the vineyard activities are done in short windows of opportunity when Mother Nature allows us the chance. Its hectic and busy time of year trying to prepare our existing vineyards for the coming year and prepare prime agriculture land for over 100 acres of new plantings.

Our experienced vineyard staff has pruned all the vines with excellent care, mulched last year’s canes to return organic matter back into the soil, and tilled alternate rows of cover crop to achieve the perfect balance of nutrition and vigor.  We have also begun soil sampling, weed, pest and insect scouting. Some insects like the lady beetle shown below are helpful additions to our Certified Sustainable vineyard program. This little lady bug is munching on mites that overwinter in the bark. 

If the current weather trends continue as forecasted we should be expecting another gorgeous Oregon vintage!

Time Posted: Apr 11, 2016 at 11:35 AM
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Sunset Travel Awards Finalist!


Patio at the Estate Tasting Room


We are honored to be a finalist for the 2016 Sunset Travel Awards recognizing a tasting room or vineyard tour that illuminates viticulture and enology, has fun doing so, and offers guests a chance to sample excellent wines. Thank you Sunset Magazine!

courtesy of Sunset Magazine

Visit our Estate Tasting Room to learn about the incredible story of our winery and the Oregon wine industry as you take in the sweeping vineyard views. The setting is warm and relaxing with cozy fireplaces and seating areas, reclaimed wood floors made from pallets from the Port of Portland, and an expansive patio and courtyard. We offer Daily and Reserve Tasting Flights, a Food Pairings Menu to enjoy with your favorite wines, and a complimentary Daily Tour or Private Tour and Tasting experience. Open Daily 11 am - 6 pm. For more information visit our website.

Time Posted: Mar 28, 2016 at 10:56 AM
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Founder Jim Bernau Honored at Classic Wines Auction

Founder Jim Bernau accepts the ORVI Award  for his achievements in building the Oregon wine industry.


Our Founder, Jim Bernau, was honored as the recipient of the ORVI Award at the Classic Wines Auction on March 5, 2016.

Each year since 2002, the ORVI Award has been awarded to individuals who have demonstrated significant achievements in building the Oregon wine industry and establishing its worldwide reputation. The ORVI award is presented to individuals that have not only elevated the status of Oregon wines, but have also provided generous support to the Classic Wines Auction. These individuals are leaders in the Oregon wine industry and are recognized and respected for their professionalism and philanthropy.

The Classic Wines Auction has been working in partnership with local charities to raise funds for children and families since 1982. Consistently recognized as one of the top ten charity wine auctions in the country by Wine Spectator Magazine, the Classic Wines Auction has raised over $35 million for Portland area charities since its inception.

Jim is honored to be included among the distinguished past ORVI Award recipients.

Time Posted: Mar 7, 2016 at 11:21 PM
Willamette Valley Vineyards
January 20, 2016 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Mo's Crab & Chowder Festival

Every day at Willamette Valley Vineyards we celebrate Oregon's abundant resources which brings us fine wines, locally sourced food and skilled artisans. In January we celebrate the Oregon coast's bounty with our 19th annual event, Mo's Crab & Chowder Festival on Friday, January 29th (6 pm - 9 pm), Saturday (11 am - 6 pm) and Sunday (11 am - 6 pm). Mo's Restaurant will bring their famous steaming clam chowder bowls, fresh Oregon Dungeness crab and other seafood selections to our Estate Tasting Room. We love pairing our Pinot Gris with these dishes, and are offering a whole-cooked crab with the purchase of a case. "Buy a case, get a crab!"

For the event, we are transforming our Crush Pad to host the festivities and inviting The Flextones to play rock & roll music for dancing. Admission  is $15 and includes wine tasting. Admission for Wine Club Members, Shareholders and their guests is $10. Menu items from Mo's will be available for purchase at an additional cost. We hope you join us for this celebration!

Our Winery Chef, DJ MacIntyre likes to pair Dungeness Crab with our 2014 Griffin Creek Viognier. Here are his tips on how to serve it at home-

Dungeness Crab with Butter Sauce

4 oz. whipping cream   
1 cup butter, salted
1 cup butter, unsalted
4 whole Dungeness crab

The peak of the Oregon Dungeness crab season is typically December through April and fresh ‘whole-cooked’ crab is readily available. When purchasing ‘whole-cooked’ Dungeness crab, request removal of the gills and viscera. Give your crab a thorough rinse under cold water. 

To make the butter sauce, place cream into a sauce pot and bring to a slow boil and let it reduce by 25%.  Slowly add the butter to the cream until it is all dissolved. If the sauce is too thick at this point you may slowly stir in some warm water to thin the sauce to a proper consistency. Transfer to a serving dish and hold warm. Butter sauce should be made on a per use basis. It will break if refrigerated.
Serve with nutcrackers, seafood forks and lots of napkins.

Time Posted: Jan 20, 2016 at 10:18 AM
Founded in 1983 by Oregon native Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir,
Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine


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