My Latest Panel Discussion:
“Let’s Talk about…Willamette Valley Sparkling Wine”
Circle of Wine Writers
I’m thrilled to announce that I’ll be moderating a panel discussion on Thursday, 4 November 2021 at 4 pm BST for the Circle of Wine Writers on Willamette Valley sparkling wine.
Panelists include three of the Willamette Valley’s most respected sparkling wine producers: Rollin Soles of Roco Winery, Luisa Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards, and Kate Payne-Brown, winemaker at Stoller Family Estate.
The discussion will dive deep into the history – and diversity – of Willamette Valley traditional method, and why it has an advantage over most other sparkling winemaking regions beyond Champagne.
1. History of and reasons for choosing the Willamette Valley for sparkling production: Rollin Soles, winemaker/owner, ROCO Winery. Rollin founded the Oregon Sparkling wine movement in 1987 when he built Argyle Winery. Thirty-two years later he continues to make highly regarded still and sparkling wines at his own project, ROCO Winery.
2. Varieties, diversity of growing locations in the Valley, harvest criteria: Luisa Ponzi, winemaker, Ponzi Vineyards. Luisa has spent her life in the Oregon wine industry after studying in Burgundy. She and her sister Maria have grown Ponzi from 10,000 to 40,000 cases. Earlier this year the winery was sold to Bollinger, but Luisa remains in control.
3. Styles of traditional method wines produced, picking, processing, and dosage decisions: Kate Payne-Brown, winemaker, Stoller Family Estate. Kate long daydreamed of becoming a sparkling winemaker, realising her ambition after abandoning an intended career in optometry and moving to Australia for her master’s degree in oenology. More than 15 years later, she has chased vintages across the globe.
If you’re a Circle of Wine Writer member, I hope to seeing you on Thursday, 4 November 2021 at 4 pm BST for an authoritative view of an increasingly important wine region – many rank the Willamette Valley as the new world’s closest challenger to Europe’s finest sparkling wines.