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Willamette Valley Vineyards
December 20, 2023 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Mo’s Seafood & Chowder Festival Returns to Willamette Valley Vineyards

Mo’s Seafood & Chowder Festival is making a triumphant return to Willamette Valley Vineyards this January.

Willamette hasn’t hosted the classic event since 2020, and wine enthusiasts and crab lovers alike have felt its absence. 

“With the three-year hiatus, we’ve missed out on people visiting from out of town who would come annually,” Estate General Manager Spence Fogarty said. “For many local Club Members, this has been one of the most sought-after events we host. It's a staple in January.”

Fresh crab pairs perfectly with Willamette's Pinot Gris.

The festival returns to our Estate in the Salem Hills on January 26th-28th. Seafood and wine will take center stage as attendees delight in delicious chowder bowls and other fresh seafood paired with our classic Oregon wines, including the 2022 Pinot Gris. 

Tickets are available for purchase online. Admission is $40 per person or $30 for Club Members and Owners. Tickets include a glass of wine, a $15 wine credit, a Riedel glass to take home, live music and access to the event. A variety of Mo’s seafood and sides will be available for purchase.

“We created this event many years ago as a partnership with another local Oregon brand,” Spence said. “The event brings the amazing offerings of the coast to the Willamette Valley for us to share that story with our customers and guests.”

Mo’s North Coast Regional Manager Billie Jo Edmonds said her heart was filled with joy when she learned the event was coming back in 2024.

“My favorite part is the interaction we get with everyone,” Billie Jo said. “We bring in such a diverse group of individuals who make the event so fun.”

The Seafood and Chowder Festival is Mo's biggest event of the year.

What to expect

This year’s festival is the 24th iteration of the event. As usual, Louie, the giant inflatable crab, will tower over the Estate and be a great photo-op for attendees. This family-friendly event has something for everyone.

“If you’ve never been, you don’t know what you're missing,” Billie Jo said.

Mo’s will prepare food for purchase like shrimp skewers, clam chowder, oyster shooters and a crab dinner. Guests who purchase a case of wine will receive a whole crab to enjoy at the festival too.

With the Oregon crab season opening just last week, the seafood should be particularly tasty this year.

“It looks like it's going to be a really good season,” Billie Jo said. “I’m expecting big, fat, juicy crabs this year.”

Louie the inflatable crab is a great place for kids and adults alike to take photos.

The festival is the perfect opportunity to celebrate the bounty that Oregon provides from both the ocean and the land as it highlights wonderful seafood and wine pairings. While Pinot Gris is at the forefront, many of our wines — both white and red — can complement fresh seafood.

Although the pandemic put a hold on the popular event, Spence said it’s expected to return with a full crowd.

“We look forward to celebrating this event for many years to come,” he said.

Time Posted: Dec 20, 2023 at 8:30 AM Permalink to Mo’s Seafood & Chowder Festival Returns to Willamette Valley Vineyards Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
December 4, 2023 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Help Willamette Valley Vineyards Combat Hunger this Holiday Season

Give back to your community this holiday season when you join Willamette Valley Vineyards in collecting items for local food banks through the annual Willamette Cares Food Share program. In return, you’ll earn a card for a two-for-one seasonal wine tasting to gift to a friend.

Willamette Cares Food Share is part of a region-wide effort to combat hunger. Support our neighbors in need by donating non-perishable food items at the Estate in the Salem Hills, Tualatin Estate Vineyard, McMinnville Tasting Room, or our Vancouver, Lake Oswego and Happy Valley Tasting Room & Restaurant locations. Donations can also be made at Willamette Wineworks in Folsom, California.

Look for the collection barrels at participating tasting rooms through December 31st. Donations will be distributed to local food banks to help support families in need after the holidays. 

The Turner Fire District will also have two metal barrels in our Estate Tasting Room for their toy drive. 

“The Willamette Cares Food Share started in 2014 as a way for the wine industry to come together on a philanthropic project,” said Emily Nelson, Associate Director for the Willamette Valley Wineries Association. “We knew that many wineries were already engaged in supporting their local food banks, so we wanted to unify the efforts and help promote at the regional level.” 

What to donate

This year, guests who donate six or more items will receive a two-for-one-tasting flight certificate to gift to a friend.

Examples of most-needed items include:

  • Non-perishable food items for food baskets. Please check the expiration dates.
  • New personal care & toiletry products.
  • Laundry and kitchen cleaning supplies.
  • Blankets and towels.
  • New toys for children ages 1 month to 13 years old (especially 10- to 13-year-olds).
  • School supplies.
  • Direct cash or check donations can be made to Turner Fire Volunteer Association at 7605 3rd St. SE, Turner, OR 97392.

Community impact

Supporting charitable organizations not only allows us to support the community but also gives our guests and Owners a chance to make a difference too, Estate General Manager Spence Fogarty said.

“We find that we have a lot of members and guests who want to help out,” he said, adding that guests often feel a sense of pride knowing they can help those in need through their favorite winery. 

“Supporting the community has always been a defining element in the Willamette Valley wine region,” Emily said.

To find out more about the program click here.

Time Posted: Dec 4, 2023 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Help Willamette Valley Vineyards Combat Hunger this Holiday Season Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
November 30, 2023 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Willamette Valley Vineyard “Elves” help tidy up local wine aisles

This December, some Willamette Valley Vineyard volunteers are getting in the holiday spirit by acting as “elves” in the community.

Volunteers team up with members of Willamette’s National Sales Department and visit local stores to stock shelves and displays, tidy up the wine aisle, dust bottles, fill wines in the cold box and more. The program started as a way to support our community partners by providing them with some extra hands during a busy time of year.

Industry Relations Manager Suzanne Shultz said a little help can go a long way during the holidays. She added that many clients have expressed their gratitude for the annual outing.

“We get a lot of responses,” Suzanne said. “There’s a lot of confusion and shock, and they ask if we’re really there just to help them. It’s terrific and a great act of goodwill.”

The volunteers don’t just tidy up our winery’s bottles — they clean up the entire wine section and help customers pick out bottles, too. 

Willamette Owners Aurora and Gary Clabaugh said acting as elves is a great way to connect with the community.

Aurora Clabaugh first volunteered as an "elf" in 2022 with her husband Gary.

Gary Clabaugh said making connections is the best part of volunteering.

“It’s a way to volunteer, get out there and meet people,” Gary said. “We can share our experiences with others too.”

Owners looking to volunteer next year can apply through Oregon Wine Enthusiasts or email for more information. The elves usually go out on the days before Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Eve. 

“It’s nice to try to spread some Christmas cheer and have fun,” Aurora said. She added that it’s great meeting other owners, too. 

The yearly tradition is one way Willamette Valley Vineyards aims to positively impact the community.

“It’s about supporting those who are supporting us throughout the year,” Suzanne said. “It’s not much, but it’s a little something we can do to say thank you.”

Time Posted: Nov 30, 2023 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Willamette Valley Vineyard “Elves” help tidy up local wine aisles Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
November 21, 2023 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Fall harvest includes “harvesting” mason bee cocoons to support our native bees

One of the unique ways Willamette Valley Vineyards practices sustainable vineyard stewardship is through our mason bee program. These insects play a crucial role in encouraging biodiversity and maintaining a healthy bee population.

This November, Randy Hillyer, Facilities Coordinator at the winery, and Stephen Paisley, Willamette’s “Bee Guy,” cleaned the mason bee boxes before storing them for the winter. This process included removing nearly 11,000 cocoons from 240 wooden trays and placing the cocoons in a refrigerator so the bees remain dormant until the spring.

Mason Bee Cocoons in Trays during the 2023 cleaning
Mason Bee Cocoons

Cleaning the bee box cocoons and trays is crucial to maintaining mason bee populations. Removing pests, mold, pollen, wasps and other materials from the trays ensures the bees have a clean, safe place to live and lay eggs. Washing the cocoons gives the bees a better chance of thriving in the spring.

Stephen and Randy will return the bees to their bee houses in late March or early April. Until then, the bees are hibernating inside their cocoons. As the temperature warms, the bees will emerge and get busy pollinating nearby plants and flowers.

Bees at the vineyard 

Stephen Paisley, Willamette Valley Vineyards
Stephen Paisley, Willamette Valley Vineyards "Bee Guy" 

Randy Hillyer, Willamette Valley Vineyards Facilities Coordinator
Randy Hillyer, Willamette Valley Vineyards Facilities Coordinator

Since 2019, Stephen and Randy have been working on managing the mason bees and helping bolster pollinator populations.

Willamette first introduced mason bees at four locations in 2019, including Tualatin Estate Vineyard, Elton Vineyard, Bernau Estate Vineyard at Domaine Willamette in the Dundee Hills and the Estate Vineyard in the Salem Hills.

Stephen, a self-described “mason bee enthusiast,” brought the idea to Willamette Valley Vineyards after encountering mason bees for the first time about eight years ago at Jackson Bottom Wetlands in Hillsboro. He was fascinated by the insects.

“What’s really cool about mason bees is they’re native to the valley,” Stephen said, adding that it might surprise some that honey bees are not native pollinators.

About mason bees

Mason bees come in a blueish color and sort of resemble a large fly, Stephen said. This type of bee is known for its efficient and productive pollinating abilities. Unlike honey bees, mason bees are solitary — they don’t live in a hive. They are classified as hole-nesting bees because they build their nests in natural holes they find in their environment or, in this case, man-made holes. 

Mason Bee Cocoons
Mason Bee Cocoons

Like other bee species, mason bee populations are declining. Stephen’s idea to reintroduce mason bees into the vineyards is an effort to support healthy populations of native pollinators. 

Benefitting the environment

Our vines are self-pollinating, so the bees don’t directly impact our crop. However, bees are a crucial part of our everyday lives.

Mason bees are extremely efficient pollinators, making them a key component to farms and gardens everywhere.

“If we lost the pollinators, we’d lose half of our food,” Paisley said.

This spring, wine enthusiasts can take a close-up look at the mason bees in our vineyards when the boxes return and the bees emerge from their cocoons to help the surrounding environment flourish.

Time Posted: Nov 21, 2023 at 12:30 PM Permalink to Fall harvest includes “harvesting” mason bee cocoons to support our native bees Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
November 3, 2023 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Cow Horn Burial at Bernau Estate Vineyard

Vineyard stewards, staff and Owner volunteers gathered at Domaine Willamette today to bury a cache of cow horns filled with manure.

The biodynamic tradition will transform the manure into a nutrient-rich matter that will enrich the vineyard. 

In the spring, the team will unearth the horns and mix the resulting matter with rainwater by hand. 

Willamette’s biodynamic consultant Jim Fullmer, prepped the team to fill the horns by hand with manure he brought from his biodynamic farm.

Director of Winemaking & Vineyards, Terry Culton
Terry Culton
Director of Winemaking & Vineyards

Cow Horns
Cow Horns burried at Bernau Estate Vineyards

The manure “will go from something you don’t want to put in your face to something you’ll want to smash your face into,” he said. Indeed, by spring the manure will be a rich, dark, earthy matter that smells sweet and is alive with nutrients.

Come spring, the resulting mixture will be sprayed on the ground beneath the vines at Bernau Estate Vineyard. The cow horns buried today will provide the vineyard with several sprays throughout next year’s growing season.

"These biodynamic preparations represent the culmination of a 25-year effort to produce Demeter-certified Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills AVA," said Founder and CEO Jim Bernau, "and they mark just the beginning of our journey here.”

The 2023 vintage of Pinot Noir from Bernau Estate Vineyard will be the winery's first official biodynamically-certified grown and biodynamically-certified made wine. Grapes harvested at Bernau Estate this fall were fermented separately from the winery’s other wines to preserve their biodynamic qualities.

Founder & CEO, Jim Bernau, Vineyard Manager, Efren Loeza & Director of Winemaking & Vineyards Terry Culton
Founder & CEO, Jim Bernau (left), Vineyard Manager, Efren Loeza (center) & Director of Winemaking & Vineyards Terry Culton (right)

Biodynamic farming uses a holistic, ecological and ethical approach in all types of agriculture. It involves managing a farm by treating it like a living organism. 

Using biodynamics in the day-to-day operation of a farm, such as a vineyard, encourages a farming system that is minimally dependent on outside materials that can be created to meet the land's needs. These outside materials include chemicals, pesticides and other harmful sprays. The farm's biodiversity is organized in a way that the waste of one part becomes the energy for another, thus increasing the farm's capacity for self-renewal and sustainability.

“It does make good wine,” Fullmer said.

Time Posted: Nov 3, 2023 at 3:47 PM Permalink to Cow Horn Burial at Bernau Estate Vineyard Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
October 18, 2022 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Harvest 2022 at Willamette Valley Vineyards

With pickers gathering clusters in the vineyards and bins of fruit making their way to our Salem Hills production facility, Willamette Valley Vineyards is bringing in the biggest vintage in the company’s history.

Not only is the fruit plentiful, the quality of the fruit is indicating an excellent vintage for 2022.

Oregon Wine Enthusiasts gathered around several bins of Pinot Noir grapes at Bernau Estate Vineyards for the first pick of the 2022 harvest. These Pinot Noir grapes will eventually make sparkling wines to be sold at Domaine Willamette.
Oregon Wine Enthusiasts gathered around several bins of Pinot Noir grapes at Bernau Estate Vineyards for the first pick of the 2022 harvest. These Pinot Noir grapes will eventually make sparkling wines to be sold at Domaine Willamette.

“The grapes are looking and tasting amazing and I am really excited for the quality of wine we will produce,” said Assistant Winemaker Brandon Shelby.

Harvest is an exciting time every year, but this year we are delighted with the results. Following a late frost in April and a cool spring, our vineyards experienced ideal growing conditions this summer and vineyard crews began harvesting fruit in late September. 

Harvest started with early picks of Pinot Noir at our Bernau Estate Vineyard in Oregon's Dundee Hills. The first pick was dedicated to sparkling wines. These wine grapes have higher acidity levels that give our sparkling wines the structure to age for years and the ability to remain bright after secondary fermentation.

Bernau Estate Vineyard’s lower elevation at 280 to 300 feet off the valley floor allows for the fruit to ripen earlier than higher elevation sites such as Elton Vineyard, Tualatin Estate Vineyard, Loeza Vineyard and finally the Estate in the Salem Hills, where the grapes will ripen towards the end of the growing season. 

The Estate Vineyard is traditionally one of the last sites to be harvested due to the cooler weather in the Salem Hills as well as the vineyard’s ability to let the fruit hang a bit longer for sugar and flavor development.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Viticulturist, Clay Wesson cutting a bunch of grapes at the Beanau Estate Vineyards
Viticulturist, Clay Wesson

Flowering took place in the vineyard in mid-July, a signal to the vineyard crew that the 2022 harvest would take place later than previous vintages. Healthy vine development continued through the summer and a warm, first half of October gave the vineyard crew great weather for picking. The warmer dry weather also allowed for planting cover crops, which help preserve overall vine health and sustain future yields.

“It was a nervous start to the year due to the freeze in April that burned some primary buds,” said Clay Wesson, Willamette’s Viticulturist. “As the year progressed and the warmer weather came in, new shoots grew around the damaged buds, allowing for the growth necessary for the grapes to develop. This is turning out to be a great vintage.” 

Brandon is celebrating his 19th harvest at Willamette this year. He said harvest appeals to him in almost all aspects, including receiving grapes for the sparkling wine program, watching fermentation and pressing off our Pinot Noir before laying it to rest in the barrel.

“Still, it’s always an amazing feeling when we finally get the last of the grapes in the door for the vintage,” he said.


Time Posted: Oct 18, 2022 at 10:02 AM Permalink to Harvest 2022 at Willamette Valley Vineyards Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Orphaned Owls Find a Safe Home in Our Estate Vineyards

Showing dark eyes peeking from buff-colored faces, four orphaned juvenile owls recently found new homes in our vineyards as part of an 11-year partnership with Cascades Raptor Center of Eugene, Oregon.

The birds represented the 66th, 67th, 68th and 69th orphaned juvenile owls that Cascades Raptor Center has released in our vineyards to help further the center's work to protect and rehabilitate bird populations that are at risk of going extinct.

The owls took up residence in nesting boxes at Willamette Valley Vineyards in the Salem Hills and at Domaine Willamette, our new sparkling winery that is opening soon at Bernau Estate Vineyard in the Dundee Hills.

A juvenile owl seen through the opening of an nesting owl box located at the Estate Vineyards in the Salem Hills
A juvenile owl as seen through the opening of a nesting owl box.

The center rehabilitates owls found on farms and other locations. Once the birds are able to fly and feed themselves, the center finds locations where they can be released. At our vineyards, the birds are released into nesting boxes, or "condos," where they have a safe place to live and find food that sustains them. The boxes are partitioned so that two birds can keep each other company in a single box.

Rehabilitated barn owls and kestrels provide the vines with natural protection from gophers and voles, the primary pests in our vineyards and the birds' main source of nutrition. The birds help create a balanced ecosystem by controlling the pest populations.

Facilities Coordinator Randy Hillyer approaching an owl nesting box.
Facilities Coordinator Randy Hillyer approaching an owl nesting box. 

Joe Perez, a Founding Owner at Willamette and one of our long-standing American Wine Society and Oregon Wine Enthusiast members, volunteered in 2011 to build nesting boxes for barn owls and kestrels at our Estate Vineyards. This year, we moved one of his boxes to Domaine Willamette to begin the practice of releasing birds at Bernau Estate.

Through the years, Joe has maintained the annual tradition of placing barn owls into the nesting boxes. Over a decade later, these birds are now a regular part of our vineyard management and stewardship efforts.

Joe Perez, one of Willamette Valley Vineyards founding Owners holding an Owl at the Estate Vineyard in the Salem Hills.
Joe Perez, one of Willamette Valley Vineyards' founding Owners, holds an orphaned juvenile owl at the Estate Vineyard. 

"Not many people can say they’ve handled 96 owls in their lifetime," he said when asked about his ongoing commitment to releasing barn owls and kestrels. "It’s something that I find a great passion in.”

Establishing partnerships with organizations such as Willamette Valley Vineyards is a practical way to help the birds, as well as highlight their importance in sustainability efforts, said Julie Collins, deputy director at Cascades Raptor Center.

“Having partnerships with businesses like Willamette has many positive results for us," she said. "We are provided safe, appropriate habitats to release the birds while building lasting connections. The birds then play a critical role in the Earth's ecological balance."

Since the winery's founding in 1983, stewardship of the land has been a key principle in our winemaking and farming practices. Founder and CEO Jim Bernau believes Pinot Noir made with consideration for the environment, employees and community simply tastes better.

“Having partnerships with businesses like Willamette has many positive results for us," she said. "We are provided safe, appropriate habitats to release the birds while building lasting connections. The birds then play a critical role in the Earth's ecological balance."

Since the winery's founding in 1983, stewardship of the land has been a key principle in our winemaking and farming practices. Founder and CEO Jim Bernau believes Pinot Noir made with consideration for the environment, employees and community simply tastes better.

Founder and CEO Jim Bernau holding an owl at the Estate Vineyard located in Turner, Oregon.
Founder and CEO Jim Bernau holding an owl at the Estate Vineyard located in Turner, Oregon.
Time Posted: Jul 26, 2022 at 3:29 PM Permalink to Orphaned Owls Find a Safe Home in Our Estate Vineyards Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Avoiding Heat Damage to Shipped Wines

The summer heat wave moving through the country earlier this year made one of Senior Winery Ambassador Duska Jensen’s customers nervous about receiving wine for an important family gathering in the southern United States. Duska helped the customer receive her shipment with special temperature-controlled shipping and avoided sending bottles damaged in the heat.

Warm temperatures, while welcome in the vineyard, are not always desirable when it comes to sending wine to customers. A wine that sits in temperatures above 90 degrees for an extended period can suffer damage if the cork expands due to the heat and starts to break free of the bottle because that exposes the wine to oxygen, Duska said.

“In extreme cases, the cork can pop out fully, creating a messy and wasted wine delivery for the
customer,” she added.

Instead, we encourage customers who are experiencing hot summer weather (or freezing temperatures in the winter) to call the winery and ask a Winery Ambassador about having their shipments sent with temperature control. Shipping this way provides consistent temperatures for the wine’s journey and lets our team and carrier know that the delivery needs to be handled with extra care.

Talking to a Winery Ambassador about temperature-controlled shipping is important because timing and location affect which shipping option is right for the customer.

Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery Ambassador, Duska
Willamette Valley Vineyards Senior Winery Ambassador, Duska Jensen

“Shipping with temperature control is tricky to track, so it will be ideal for you to have a point of
contact to communicate with in case you have questions about your shipment,” Duska said.
“Our Winery Ambassador team specializes in keeping you informed about new releases and
knowing your wine preferences so we can make sure you are aware of special offers, including
discounted temperature-controlled shipping.”

To start a conversation, simply call the Estate at (503) 588-9463 and ask to speak with a Winery Ambassador. Your Winery Ambassador is someone you can reach out to for wine recommendations, as well as help with shipping. You might ask for their thoughts on the best wines for summer sipping, what wine pairs well with BBQ ribs and which rosé wine – our Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir or Bernau Estate Brut Rosé – best suits your upcoming summer soirée.

Temperature-Controlled Shipping FAQ

Question: Will my wine arrive chilled?
Answer: Temperature-controlled shipping, also known as FedEx Cold Chain Shipping, does not mean that wines arrive cold. Instead, this shipping method provides consistent temperatures for the wines from the time they leave our winery until they reach the carrier’s hub. The last leg of the journey – from the carrier’s hub to your home – is not temperature controlled but lasts a short time.

A crucial step in the process is having someone over the age of 21 available to receive the shipment when it arrives to avoid delays. If you anticipate being at the office on the day of your wine delivery and not at home to receive and sign for the wine, then we recommend having the shipment delivered directly to your place of work if possible.

Three Bottles of wine wrapped in Willamette Valley Vineyards wrapping paper and boxed up being prepared to ship out.
Three bottles are wrapped and ready to be shipped.

Q: How much does it cost to ship with temperature control?
A: Temperature-controlled shipping can cost $35 to $50 and is dependent on your order.

Q: I live in Oregon. Should I choose temperature-controlled shipping?
A: We don’t typically recommend temperature-controlled shipping for our customers in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Nevada and northern California, as those shipments typically take just two days. Additionally, Oklahoma customers are unable to receive shipments via FedEx, but other carriers are available. Calling the winery and asking to speak to a Winery Ambassador will help you select the right shipping option for your situation.

Time Posted: Jun 24, 2022 at 12:52 PM Permalink to Avoiding Heat Damage to Shipped Wines Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Celebrating Women In Wine

In honor of National Women In Wine Day, we'd like to introduce you to three women who have been instrumental in building Domaine Willamette, home of our méthode traditionelle sparkling winery that opens later this year at Bernau Estate Vineyard in the Dundee Hills.

Crystal Ashley

Willamette Valley Vineyards: You’ve been successful at moving up in the company. How did it happen?

Crystal Ashely: First, I am very fortunate to have an amazing mother. She has provided me with opportunity, support, tough love and a realistic outlook for success.

Coming from a background in athletics, I have enjoyed being rewarded for my performance within the company. It has been ingrained in me to do my absolute best and good things will happen. Willamette Valley Vineyards provided me with an environment to be successful.

Crystal Ashley started her career at Willamette in 2015 as a Winery Ambassador and she grew in the role until she became Winery Ambassador Manager. Crystal didn’t stop there, however. She was recently named General Manager of Domaine Willamette.

WVV: What are you looking forward to in your new position as General Manager of Domaine Willamette?

CA: It’s a dream come true. Domaine Willamette is going to be breathtaking, and I feel grateful that I get to see all the final stages and touches on the property. Getting ready to open a new winery comes with the help of so many amazing people, a vision and a lot of checklists ­— and I mean a lot of checklists!

Domaine Willamette will offer visitors unforgettable bubble experiences, beautiful wine, aspects of Biodynamics and so much opportunity and success for employees. Wine brings out the best in people and I get to be a part of it.

WVV: What can the wine industry do to build a more diverse, inclusive and successful industry?

CA: I think exposure and knowledge are very powerful. We need to keep spreading the word about the opportunities available. In my experience, the wine industry is very welcoming, but women may not know of the opportunities within the industry.

WVV: What advice do you have for women starting out in the wine industry?

CA: Believe in yourself! You are valuable and your ideas and opinions are valuable. Make sure you share them. Don't let opportunities pass you by. At Willamette, no idea goes unheard and that is the way it should be.

Jan Green Bernau

Jan Green Bernau first started working at Willamette as a consultant in 2008, helping to launch staff training and development tools. She eventually took the reins of our human resources department and has served in various positions since then. She is currently the Project and Staff Development Manager, overseeing construction at Domaine Willamette.

Willamette Valley Vineyards: Tell us about what it’s been like to build out our new winery.

Jan Bernau: It's a huge project and the most challenging of my career. It’s also been exciting to learn about Biodynamic farming, a primary focus at Domaine Willamette.

Covid-19 caused a lot of stress in the construction world, supply chain and work crew availability. Costs have gone up, scheduling takes longer and, in some cases, we've had to pivot to different finishes and materials to keep things on schedule.

WVV: Who are some leading women in your life and how have they influenced you and your career choices?

JB: My mother was one of the original "women's libbers" who fought for women's rights, walking door to door to encourage women to register to vote and making sure we volunteered in our community to make things better for women and children. And Robin Jaqua, a Jungian depth psychologist changed my life and inspired me to study Jungian Depth Psychology in Zurich, Switzerland.

WVV: What kinds of things do you think the wine industry can do to build a more diverse, inclusive and successful industry?

JB: Support legislation allowing more people to migrate here legally and safely. Encourage young girls in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) studies, agriculture and the wine industry.

WVV: What advice do you have for women starting out in the wine industry?

JB: Don't feel like you must do things like your male counterparts. It's OK to use your own wisdom, intuition, empathy and people skills to make a difference. 

Arial view of Domaine Willamette under construction.

Shawn Bradshaw

Willamette Valley Vineyards: Talk to us about Domaine Willamette. What are some of the challenges and what are you looking forward to when it opens later this year?

Shawn Bradshaw: I have a project management background and Domaine Willamette is one of the most exciting projects I’ve worked on. There are millions of moving parts and people to keep track of, which can be challenging, but we keep it moving along. Our success comes from the amount of progress made every single week.

Shawn Bradshaw started her career at Willamette in May 2021 as a project coordinator working on the Domaine Willamette build. She is new to the wine industry and says it’s been exciting and eye-opening to learn about the complexities of winemaking.

I’m most looking forward to our guests having options when they visit Domaine Willamette. They can stop in at the wine shop to have a quick taste, buy some wine and be on their way. Or they can continue up through the vineyards and have a seated tasting and a bite to eat while enjoying the beautiful views of the Willamette Valley. In the garden there is a massive pond and many pathways for guests to roam and enjoy their wine.

WVV: What has your experience been as a woman new to the wine industry?

SB: I have felt empowered to make critical decisions for Willamette. I see ways that the wine industry can create more spaces where everyone feels welcome to have a seat at the table.

At Willamette, our wine is not made for one type of person. That’s why we are focusing on creating an environment at Domaine Willamette where anyone can experience and enjoy our wine.

WVV: Do you have any advice for women starting careers in the wine world?

SB: Always know there is more to learn and so many opportunities to follow your passion. It’s important to stay curious and always be looking for new areas of professional growth. 

Artists rendering of Domaine Willamette, set to open late Summer 2022.

Time Posted: Mar 24, 2022 at 2:21 PM Permalink to Celebrating Women In Wine Permalink
Willamette Valley Vineyards
January 28, 2022 | Willamette Valley Vineyards

Pairing Wine and Chocolate

You love wine and you love chocolate.
But how do you pair one with the other?

We asked Winery Ambassador Veronica Ball to help us fine tune our pairing skills.


1. Look for local wines and regional food from the same areas.
The wines we make are sourced from fruit grown in the Willamette and Rogue valleys. Local chocolates from these areas may be studded with marionberries, herbs, hazelnuts, smoked sea salt or even rose petals.

2. Get to know your wine.
“It’s important to find balance in the wine,” she said. “This includes aroma, taste, texture and overall impressions of the sip.” Consider the wine's look, smell and taste. Note your own personal discovery and flavors you identify on the palate.

“Think about your overall impression of the wine. Does it wrap you up in a warm blanket and make you feel cozy? Or does the wine poke at your and feel slightly sharp and rough?”

The host of our upcoming Wine & Chocolate Virtual Tasting, Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery Ambassador, Veronica Ball
The host of our upcoming Wine & Chocolate Virtual Tasting, Willamette Valley Vineyards Winery Ambassador, Veronica Ball

3. Match “mirroring” flavors and try them.
“Mirroring flavors of the wine and food causes a perfect picture to form between the chocolate and wine, almost fusing the flavors together without one overpowering the other,” Veronica advised.
Consider a rich and spicy Cabernet Sauvignon paired with a bar of chili infused dark chocolate. Or white chocolate served with a chilled Rose.


Winery Ambassadors sample wine and chocolate at the Estate to find the best pairings.
Winery Ambassadors sample wine and chocolate at the Estate to find the best pairings.

4. Pair contrasting flavors and try those.
“A contrasting pairing is also fun because the food will make the wine possibly change and pop with new flavors, or the food will be elevated and change to contrast with the wine, but in a positive way,” Veronica said.

Perhaps that creamy milk chocolate will show off the brightness of a dry sparkling wine. Or a semi-sweet Riesling will deepen the flavors of a salty dark chocolate.

5. Some wines don’t need a pairing.
“Some wines do not need food in order to shine, but can simply be enjoyed on their own,” she suggested.  “We don’t want to mess with the star of the show.”

Our Recommendations

Find inspiration in our Wine & Chocolate Collection that pairs our classic Oregon wine with local artisan chocolates. This collection is available for a limited time.

Shop Wine & Chocolate Collection

Veronica will lead us in a complimentary virtual tasting of this collection on Wednesday, February 9th at 4 pm. Order your Wine & Chocolate Collection by February 1st to receive it in time for the tasting.

Reserve Your Tasting


Time Posted: Jan 28, 2022 at 10:59 AM Permalink to Pairing Wine and Chocolate Permalink
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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