Our first ever Oregon winemaker is the perfect Naked story.
We are very proud to announce that Angels are investing over a million bucks in our first ever Oregon winemaker: Scott Kelley!
He’s a Pinot pro who has spent over 24 years making some of the country’s most famous Pinot Noir brands (Estancia, Robert Mondavi Private Selection, and more).
And while he looks back fondly on his years working on those big, famous brands, he always yearned to have more control over the winemaking… he wanted to get away from the marketing guys and gals who were always trying to make a mark on the brand, and never really put the wine first… and away from the bean counters who rarely saw the benefit of investing more into the grapes and winemaking, the two things that mattered most to Scott.
So Scott wanted to go out on his own, launch an independent range of wines. And he turned his gaze to Oregon, a land of opportunity that could make amazing Pinot Noir and a whole range of other wines too.
I’ve already written about the amazing diversity and quality of Oregon wine country, and this is a subject Scott has been passionate about for decades.
Even as a young kid, he would go fly fishing on the Umpqua River with his dad, and he knew it was a place he’d revisit one day.
This is an amazing state that is on the verge of becoming the next big thing and thanks to Angel funding, Scott is going to be central to making Oregon a world-famous wine region.
Of course: Willamette, dammit!
There’s one famous region in Oregon that’s already getting some of that International acclaim, the Willamette Valley. The few people who are smart enough to see that Oregon is the next big thing are very very focused on Willamette wines.
And Scott’s using some of his funding to make some extraordinary Willamette wines – the quality is so great, he’d be crazy not to!
But he’s also going deep in some less well-known regions that he thinks will blow your socks off.
As Tom Wark wrote, Oregon is the most dynamic wine region in the country, and there are some regions in southern Oregon that have completely captured our winemakers’ imaginations (a point mirrored in multiple comments on Tom’s post).
Despite the massive 12% growth in the number of wineries in Oregon wine country last year, less than 7% of the grapes come from Umpqua and we think the traditional wine industry is missing a trick here.
Umpqua? umm.. quoi?
We’re very excited to announce that our first Oregon Pinot Noir is going to be coming from the land of a hundred valleys, Umpqua Valley AVA!
If you have never heard of that region, it’s okay – we’re sure it will titillate your tastebuds or your money back. Our newest winemaker swears up and down by this incredible AVA, that stretches for 65 miles north to south along the Umpqua River, just south of Willamette.
It’s one of the most diverse wine growing areas in an already diverse state. The farther north you are in the area, the more you feel the cooler marine influence while the southernmost vineyards have warmer and slightly more arid growing seasons.
But beyond this, the complex topography of the Umpqua Valley formed by the dramatic collision of three different mount ranges (Klamath, Coast Range and the Cascades) mean the entire valley is riveted with a series of smaller mountain ranges and valleys, each with their own unique micro-climate, exposition and soil layers.
So without further ado, you can say hi to Scott Kelley on his winemaker page and get updates about the wines he’s working on. Another pro winemaker funded by Angels.
Read more about Scott Kelley and his project at GeekWire
I’ve only traveled through the Umpqua Valley once, while having spent lots of time in the Willamette Valley. However, I can tell you that in addition to on my blog post, I got numerous emails imploring me to consider the Umpqua and southern Oregon. So, I’m going to do just that and make a point of spending some time there. Good post.
Awesome. There are loads of amazing winemakers there alongside Scott, and they all deserve some more attention 🙂