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Christine Collier
April 26, 2019 | Christine Collier

Mason Bee Boxes

This spring our team installed mason bee boxes at four locations including our Tualatin Estate Vineyard, Elton Vineyard, Bernau Estate Vineyard and Estate Vineyard in Turner. Led by our Viticulturist Clay Wesson, this project has turned into an exciting new addition to our sustainability programs.

With collaboration from local bee experts and winery volunteers, our team was able to work together to design and implement this exciting new project!

Mason Bee Box in Elton Gardon

What are mason bees?

Mason bees are native to the Pacific Northwest and are known best for their productive pollinating and gentle nature. Mason bees flock to various plants including fruit and nut trees, spring berry blooms and flowers. Like many other native bee populations, mason bees are feeling the impact of environmental decline and decreasing habitat, so they are in need of a safe and sustainable environment to thrive.

What is the purpose of the Bee Boxes?

The pre-built bee boxes give the bees a safe space to build their home and nest. Mason bees are categorized as hole-nesting bees, which means they build their nests in pre-made holes found in their environment. Mason bees are also categorized as solitary bees, as they do not live in a hive as honeybees or many other common species do (Honeybee Conservancy).

Though the boxes can be placed in the vineyard at any time, the bees themselves are placed in the boxes in late March to early April, or when the temperature outside has consistently reached 55 degrees. The bees are placed in the box while they are in cocoons and as the temperature warms, will begin to emerge and build their homes.

Photo collage of installing bee boxes at Estate and Elton VIneyard

The bees build their homes in the smaller pre-made nesting boxes placed in each larger box. The nesting boxes contain a grid of channels perfect for the bees to nest and lay their eggs. Once the bees are settled, they begin to pollinate the surrounding area.

As the weather gets cooler and the bees are finished pollinating spring flowers and fruit blooms, they settle back into their cocoons for fall and winter and wait for the process to start all over again in the spring.

What is the benefit of having mason bees at the vineyard?

Placing the mason bee boxes at our vineyards provides the bees with a safe environment to nest and pollinate. With 40% of the insect population down and biodiversity declining due to agriculture and development, providing safe nesting places for these bees will help them thrive and replenish their population.

The bees don’t provide any specific benefits to the vines in our vineyard, as those are self-pollinating plants, but rather benefit the environment as a whole. This project is just beginning and our team hopes to learn more about the bees and provide them with a thriving habitat for years to come.

Team who installed the bee boxes standing next to completed box

Time Posted: Apr 26, 2019 at 9:00 AM Permalink to Mason Bee Boxes Permalink
Christine Collier
August 9, 2018 | Christine Collier

2016 Estate Pinot Noir is Certified Vegan!

We're excited to share that our 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is now Certified Vegan! According to, there are only seven other wineries in the country besides Willamette Valley Vineyards that have gone through the rigorous steps to carry Certified Vegan products.
“Staying true to the Oregon wine industry's leadership in truth-in-labeling practices, we want to be as transparent as possible with the production methods of our wines," explained Winery Director Christine Clair. "Oregon has enacted the strictest regulations of any state with regards to declaration of grape origin and varietal to ensure the integrity and quality of Oregon wine. It is in our winery's culture and values to extend this to our production methods,” Clair continued. “Consumers are increasingly inquisitive about the source of their food and beverage, so we wanted to make it easy for them to make an informed decision that fits their dietary and lifestyle goals.”
In addition to being Certified Vegan, the 2016 Estate Pinot Noir was made using sustainable practices. All of our Estate vineyards are L.I.V.E (Low Input Viticulture & Enology) and Salmon-Safe certified; our corks are Forest Stewardship Council® certified, and the Estate is 100% wind and solar powered.
The 2016 vintage has already won several accolades, including a rating of 90 points by Wine Enthusiast.

What does it mean to be "Vegan Certified?"
To be approved for Vegan Certification, a product must meet several standards. In summary, it cannot contain meat, fish, fowl, animal by-products, eggs, milk, honey, insects, products from insects or sugar filtered with bone char. It may not contain or be sourced from leather, fur, silk, feathers, down, bone, horn, shell, wool, cashmere, shearling, angora, animal skin, suede or mohair. There are also strict regulations for zero involvement in animal testing for any ingredient or processing step and GMO’s are not allowed. Assurance that equipment coming into contact with animal products is thoroughly sanitized must also be approved. In terms of winemaking specifically, the product may not be filtered, defoamed or clarified with any animal products, such as egg whites, gelatin, fish or milk derived proteins. Finally, any fertilizers used during the grape growing process may not contain any animal products.
More about the 2016 Estate Pinot Noir
The 2016 Estate Pinot Noir expresses the terroir of our three vineyards — the original planting by Founder Jim Bernau in the Salem Hills, Tualatin Estate planted by Oregon wine pioneer Bill Fuller in the foothills of the Coastal Range and Elton planted by Dick and Betty O'Brien in the Eola-Amity Hills.
This wine exemplifies the "Oregon style" opening with aromas of raspberry, black currant, dried herbs and black pepper to create an elegant bouquet. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with a silky mouthfeel and flavors of cherry, blackberry, bergamot, anise and earth. Exceptionally balanced with velvety tannins, lively acidity and a lingering finish.
Purchase a bottle online, find it in stores or visit one of our tasting rooms.
Will you certify any other wines?
Yes! We are in the process of certifying additional wines, including our Estate Rosé, Whole Cluster Pinot Noir and Whole Cluster Rosé of Pinot Noir.


  Christine Clair
  Winery Director



Time Posted: Aug 9, 2018 at 11:00 AM Permalink to 2016 Estate Pinot Noir is Certified Vegan! Permalink
Christine Collier
April 24, 2018 | Christine Collier

Dancing with the Salem Stars - Supporting our Community

Over the years we have been dedicated to supporting our community by giving back to numerous non-profits and charities every year. This includes, but not limited to, donating tours and tastings as auction items for local non-profits and working with ¡Salud! to provide access to healthcare for Oregon's seasonal vineyard workers and their families.

Last month, I received an invitation to continue our support of the community by participating in Dancing with the Salem Stars, an annual fundraiser to raise money and awareness for the historic Elsinore Theatre. I must admit, I was a little apprehensive at first, but between my wonderful professional dance partner and the support from Willamette Valley Vineyards staff, family and friends, it became one of my most memorable experiences. On the night of the event, audience members voted for their favorite act and I was honored to be voted first place, winning the coveted Mirrorball Trophy.

Last Thursday, at our "Game of Clones" Pairings Wine Dinner, Lead Winery Ambassador Kacie Copeland unveiled a new display in our Estate Tasting Room prominently featuring the Mirrorball Trophy. Immediately following the unveiling, I surprised guests by performing the winning dance to the Game of Thrones theme song with Executive Director and Owner Mark Lowes of Corvallis-based Utah Ballroom Dance Company. Below you'll find pictures from this memorable event. 

I hope you will visit us soon to view the new display in person, and join us for an upcoming Pairings Wine Dinner.


Christine Clair
Winery Director



Time Posted: Apr 24, 2018 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Dancing with the Salem Stars - Supporting our Community Permalink Comments for Dancing with the Salem Stars - Supporting our Community Comments (1)
Christine Collier
January 26, 2017 | Christine Collier

Celebrate Oregon Crab Month

At Willamette Valley Vineyards we love to celebrate the bounty the Oregon brings us, especially in January during Oregon Crab Month. Our Pinot Gris, when matched with seafood, enhances the flavor of the dish. We believe it is the seafood wine.

We were honored when our Pinot Gris was recognized by Wine Enthusiast Magazine who named our 2015 vintage as Editor’s Choice and awarded it with a 90-point rating.

For our 20th straight year we are celebrating Oregon Crab Month with our Mo’s Crab & Chowder Festival, January 28th and 29th, at our Estate Tasting Room from 11 am - 6 pm. This tradition brings us the flavors of the Oregon Coast by offering Mo’s world-famous steaming chowder bowls, fresh Oregon coast Dungeness crab and other seafood selections which pairs perfectly with our Pinot Gris.

Mo's Crab and Chowder Festival
Friday, January 27th from 2 - 9 pm
Wine Club Members and Owners Kickoff Party
Wine Tasting | Live Music | Mo's Menu
$10 for Wine Club Members, Owners and their guests only
"Buy a case, get a crab!"

Saturday, January 28th from 11 am - 6 pm
Wine Tasting | Live Music | Mo's Menu | Owner's Lounge
$15, $10 for Wine Club Members, Owners and their guests
"Buy a case, get a crab!"

Sunday, January 29th from 11 am - 6 pm
Wine Tasting | Live Music | Mo's Menu | Owner's Lounge
$15, $10 for Wine Club Members, Owners and their guests
"Buy a case, get a crab!"

Enjoy this wonderful pairing at home, with our delicious recipe - Creamy Oregon Dungeness Crab Cakes. 

Time Posted: Jan 26, 2017 at 11:40 AM Permalink to Celebrate Oregon Crab Month 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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