Building a Dream
In 1983, with the encouragement from winemakers making their move from California, Oregon native and Founder Jim Bernau cleared away an old pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills, hidden underneath scotch broom and blackberry vines. Unable to afford drip irrigation, he watered them by hand using 17 lengths of 75’ garden hose. His dream was to make Pinot Noir that would be a classic,
elegant representation of the Willamette Valley growing region. A combination of determination and extraordinary people has brought Willamette Valley Vineyards from a bold idea to one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title
“One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast.
Stewardship of the Land
All of our vineyards are certified LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon-Safe. Each year we release rehabilitated owl and kestrels from the Cascade Raptor Center for natural pest management and support native bee populations with custom-made mason bee boxes installed at our vineyards. We pioneered the use of Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council® Certifed corks in our bottles. To reduce our carbon footprint and promote energy independence, all company tractors and delivery vehicles run on biodiesel.
Additionally, our Estate Vineyard is wind and solar powered, which has the same environmental impact as not driving 739,488 miles each year.
A Sense of Place
Our terroir is unique with ancient volcanic, glacial and sedimentary flood soils on slopes where orientation, elevation and grade create ideal growing conditions. Our approach is to grow, by hand, the highest quality fruit using careful canopy management and to achieve wines that are truly expressive of the varietal and the place where they are grown.