Traditional sparklings from untraditional regions: Part 3

Traditional method luxury brand Lytle-Barnett sparkling wine is produced in Oregon's Willamette Valley.

My latest in The Drinks Business:

In this third and final series on traditional method sparkling wines produced in untraditional US wine regions, db takes a deep dive into Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

by L.M. Archer

Traditional sparklings from untraditional regions, Part 3

Most consumers recognise Oregon’s Willamette Valley for its world class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. But this west coast region proves perfect for making traditional method wines, too.

Many in the trade credit legendary sparkling winemaker Rollin Soles for jumpstarting Oregon’s burgeoning bubbles scene. In 1987, Soles founded Argyle Winery in Dundee specifically to produce world-class sparkling wines in the Willamette Valley.

He discovered that the region shares a cool climate similar to Champagne. It also features high-elevation vineyards suitable for growing Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Over time, Argyle garnered a head-spinning array of awards across red, white, and sparkling categories.

Soles left Argyle in 2013 to focus on ROCO Winery, and his own RMS Brut, with partner and wife Corby Stonebraker-Soles. “Heck, I’m still ‘discovering’ fascinating vineyard locations for my RMS Brut, meaning it’ll only get better!” says Soles.

However, the story of Oregon sparkling wine does not end there. Soles’ protegé, Andrew Davis, also left Argyle at around the same time in 2013. During Davis’ 10-year tenure at the winery, he had encountered many Willamette Valley winemakers eager to make their own house bubbles.

Unfortunately, unlike still wine, sparkling wine requires specialised machinery, bottles, and corks to produce. Sparkling wine also requires more ageing time in bottle to develop its desired complexity. READ MORE HERE.

Read Part One and Part Two of our series on traditional method sparklings from untraditional regions here.


I’m pleased to share my final series in The Drinks Business on traditional method sparkling wines from untraditional US wine regions.

Read more of my work here.

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