The International Pinot Noir Celebration’s 31st anniversary took place this year and we marked the occasion with a dinner at Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. We were honored to have my long-time college friend for over 30 years and wine industry peer, Byron Kosgue join us for dinner that night and decided to call our dinner “Aging Gracefully” — just like our wines; The next batch of which are just around the corner. Vintage 2017 marks a huge milestone in my life in the wine industry. This year we celebrate 20 years of winemaking at Penner-Ash, and my 30th harvest in the Willamette Valley. As we are all fond of saying, “where has the time gone?” As I reflect on my many vintages in Oregon, I am often asked how the most recent vintage compares to all the others in years past. Each vintage in Oregon is unique, and 2017 appears to be no different. The Spring was very wet and cool which had us concerned early on. Ironically, the set was perfect. The clusters are all uniform and the crop is prolific. In my 30 years in Oregon, we’ve not seen such a beautiful and bountiful set – which presents another challenge as we make our crop estimates — how much do we keep as the growing season still has some time yet before it reveals itself? And, as most Oregon winemakers will tell you, it’s really the last few weeks that make or break a vintage. Keep your fingers crossed that we can all celebrate the 2017 vintage!
Ron and I have raised our kids successfully to adulthood, built a winery and raised it successfully into a thriving business. We’ve accomplished a lot. We are proud of who our children have become as young adults, and are still amazed by how quickly our business grew and honored by how widely recognized our wines are in the marketplace. However, the best part of this journey has been how many wonderful and engaging people we have met along the way. Together we are all aging gracefully. So now what? I love being creative. With our recent transition and the sale of the winery to Jackson Family Wines, I have more time and the ability to pursue new projects. This vintage we will embark on creating a Chardonnay for Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. Kate, our Associate Winemaker, and I have been looking at new vineyard sites, tasting barrel samples of our neighbors’ wines and discussing Chardonnay styles. We are excited to be working with 5 new (and we think up and coming) Chardonnay vineyards this vintage. Stay tuned, you’ll be the first to hear about any new developments! With that in mind, we have decided we should celebrate and finally open that big bottle I’ve been hiding for the last 20 years (and maybe taste some fermenting Chardonnay). Please join us in celebrating our 20th harvest this November 3rd, 2017.
To a great vintage and great wines