The seed for Averæn was planted when we attended IPNC in the Willamette Valley in 2013 as a featured winery with Banshee Wines (our Sonoma winery). We were sitting around a campfire talking about the similarities between the cold and foggy Sonoma Coast and the various sub-appellations of the Willamette Valley. Cold winds that funnel from the Pacific Ocean through low-lying gaps in the coastal mountain ranges (Van Duzer Corridor in Oregon and Petaluma Wind Gap in Sonoma); a mix of marine sedimentary and volcanic influenced soils; micro-terroirs. The similarities were shocking. We saw the potential to make wine at the very highest level, from top vineyard sites, all at a cost that was 25% less than what we were experiencing in the Sonoma Coast. Oregon reminded us of where the Sonoma Coast was 10-15 years ago. Still finding its way in terms of consistency, but when done right, way over-delivering. The quality was there in a big way, but the prices were still so reasonable.
Over the next two years, we established ourselves in Oregon – developing relationships with growers, locking in grape contracts, and finding a great custom crush partner (with lots of small fermenters – a winemakers dream!). In 2016, we released our first wine – the only wine of the vintage – 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, sourced from eight vineyards across the appellation. It was an instant success nationally both in the press with 91 points out of the gate from Vinous as well as with fine wine retailers and restaurants.
Today we continue to dial in our vineyard sourcing, establishing long term contracts and relationships with a stable of top-notch growers. In addition to the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, which represents over 75% of our production, we have expanded to new varieties (Chardonnay and Riesling), added Rose to the mix, and elevated our game to include the Flood Line (“reserve”) range, and a limited selection of four-barrel single-vineyard wines.
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