In 1983 Jim Bernau had a dream of building a dream in the Willamette Valley. After clearing away an old pioneer plum orchard in the Salem Hills he founded founded Willamette Valley Vineyards. Unable to afford drip irrigation, he watered his grape vines by hand using 17 lengths of 75′ garden hose to get the grapelings through their first summer. Today, the Estate vineyard has a total of fifty acres of vines including Pinot Noir Dijon Clone Chardonnay Pommard Wadenswil and Pinot Gris.
Since the winery’s founding in 1983, stewardship of the land has been a key principle in Willamette Valley Vineyards’ winemaking. Willamette Valley Vineyards holds many certifications and practice environmentally sustainable farming. In 1999 they helped found the Low Input Viticulture and Enology Program (LIVE). Currently, Willamette Valley Vineyards holds the Salmon-Safe certification, Whereas, all-natural corks are certified through the Rainforest Alliance to Forest Stewardship Council. In addition, they use bio-diesel to run all farm equipment offers bottle and cork recycling at all Tasting Room locations. Furthermore, Willamette Valley Vineyards has a partnership with Cascades Raptor Center. This partnerships works to place rehabilitated barn owls and kestrels into the vineyard for natural pest protection. Additionally, the Estate Winery exclusively on wind and solar energy.
Growth through Partnerships
Willamette Valley Vineyards has collaboratively grown its estate vineyards through partnerships with Oregon wine industry pioneer Bill Fuller of Tualatin Vineyards (established in 1973), O’Briens for Elton Vineyard (established in 1983) and Loeza Vineyard (planted in 2015). The winery sources all of its barrel-aged Pinot Noir from its estate-grown vineyards and meticulously farms by hand nearly 500 acres in the valley.
Jim’s vision of organizing wine enthusiasts to help build a world class winery in Oregon. As a result, the winery being named “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine. Among the winery’s unique distinctions is that it’s owned by more than 16000 wine enthusiasts (NASDAQ: WVVI & WVVIP).
Learn more about the unique story of Willamette Valley Vineyards during their complimentary daily tour at 2pm. See sweeping views of the beautiful vineyard and enjoy food and wine pairings in their Tasting Room. The Tasting Room is open daily from 11 am – 6 pm and 11 am – 8 pm on Fridays. Find more information at wvv.com.