Standing: Nate Klostermann, Shane Moore of Gran Moraine. Sitting: Scott Dwyer of Chemeketa Community College Wine Studies Program; Robin Hawley of Sokol Blosser; James Frey of Trisaetum; Rollin Soles of ROCO Winery; and Ksenija Kostic House of Argyle. Photo by Kathryn Elsesser
Standing: Nate Klostermann, Shane Moore of Gran Moraine. Sitting: Scott Dwyer of Chemeketa Community College Wine Studies Program; Robin Hawley of Sokol Blosser; James Frey of Trisaetum; Rollin Soles of ROCO Winery; and Ksenija Kostic House of Argyle.
Photo by Kathryn Elsesser

Bubbling Brew

Sparkling bewitches Oregon industry

By L.M. Archer

Sparkling wine demands time, toil and treasure. It’s also seductive as hell. Just ask Oregon winemakers. Already renowned for premium Pinot Noir, the state now threatens to outshine other wine regions in bubbles. Many ascribe this burgeoning fizz fame to a far-flung band of passionate winemakers as diverse as their respective terroirs and as complex as the sparkling they craft.

The use of The Radiant Sparkling Company’s equipment via its mobile unit makes sparkling wine a reality for a number of wineries in the Willamette Valley, including owner Andrew Davis’ own project, Lytle-Barnett, with Andy Lytle, Antony Beck and Pieter Ferreira.Photo by Kathryn Elsesser

Trailblazers

Willamette Valley winemakers represent a history of leading, not following. If you’ve tasted a bottle of this gnarly region’s bubbles, chances are one of two men had a hand in it: Rollin Soles or Andrew Davis. Many credit Soles of ROCO Winery for getting the ball rolling and Andrew Davis of The Radiant Sparkling Wine Company for advancing it down the field. Together, their respective legacies account for a major touchdown in Oregon méthode Champenoise or méthode traditionelle, the Old World method developed in Champagne.

Soles founded Argyle Winery in 1987 in Dundee with a specific intent: to produce world-class sparkling wine in the Willamette Valley. A pragmatic, handle-bar-mustachioed Texas Aggie, Soles blames luck for his eventual foray into bubbles.

“Setting oneself up to receive luck is important,” says Soles. “My luck was that my biochemistry professor [at Texas A&M] set me up to work in Switzerland one college summer vacation for his cousin, Hans Uli Kesslering, who grew Pinot Noir and was a pioneer in sustainable agriculture in the mid-’70s.” Soles credits this experience as the impetus to his future in wine. A side note: “Can’t get any tougher than ripening Pinot Noir in northern Switzerland,” he confirms. Read more here.

2 thoughts on “ My Latest Cover Story in Oregon Wine Press: Bubbling Brew – Sparkling bewitches Oregon industry ”

  1. How great is this!?! Wasn’t aware of the Radiant Sparkling Wine Company, nor that Sparkling wine production was where it’s at in Oregon. Nice article!

    1. Thanks, Lynn! Regrets I wasn’t able to segue up to Bordeaux last week while in Languedoc! I have to admit that Bordeaux is the only wine region in France I have not visited, except for Corsica…:-()

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