There’s something particularly amazing about a vineyard that produces top tier wines, paying close attention to the storied processes that make their product truly outstanding, while also operating in an environmentally-friendly manner. This is true for the innovative Willamette Valley winery, Stoller Family Estate. Tucked deep into Oregon’s Dundee Hills, just outside of Portland, Stoller is a fantastically stellar operation.
As the world’s first LEED-Gold certified winery, the property’s owner, Bill Stoller, is one forward-thinking wine producer. Having been raised on the land and leaving it to pursue business, these hills have always had a special meaning. Having founded and co-founded several businesses in the area and outside the area over the years, Bill decided it was time to return to his roots and turn his beloved family property into a sustainable and successful operation that could be passed down to his grandchildren and beyond. Stoller’s sustainable vineyard is a certified Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) and Salmon Safe. They collect winter runoff into a water reservoir with a total capacity of nearly 10 million gallons, which they eventually use to establish new and young vines, as well as to irrigate during exceptionally dry seasons.
Consulting the world’s best viticulturists and approaching the property holistically to create a self-contained operation that would not only produce an incredible product, but remain entirely friendly to the area, Bill unveiled what has become a loved part of the community. His wines have made it on to the wine lists of several well-respected eateries across the country. Melissa Burr is the property’s wine maker and she does a beautiful job. You can tour the facilities which are impressive – learning all about the harvesting, juicing, fermenting and bottling. If you’re lucky, you might even get a visit to the barrel rooms where you can taste aging vintages directly from the barrel to compare and contrast.
The “green” tasting room is open, light and airy. The metal, wood and glass structure was constructed from salvaged materials, including wood from a recent forest fire that would have otherwise gone to waste. Look out for miles onto the vineyard’s property, sip earthy and fruity blends and sample my favorite, the delicious “Helen’s Pinot Noir”. That particular variety is outstanding.
Stoller truly offers a special experience. The staff is friendly and down-to-earth. If you’re local, you might want to join their wine club or, if a visitor, stay on-property in one of their beautiful cabins. That is an experience that isn’t offered by every vineyard in the area. Stoller is simply a “must” if you’re in Portland.