Oregon Pinot Noir Doctors
John O. Bergström, M.D.: Bergström Wines
Medical School: Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine
Residency: Oregon Health & Science University Hospital
Board Certification: Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Bergström grew up in a small agricultural and logging village in northern Sweden and as a young teenager
immigrated to Oregon where he ultimately became a physician and surgeon. He wanted to start a business
that would become a legacy for his children and pay tribute to his Swedish agricultural upbringing. After
moving the family to Dundee from Portland where he practiced, he planted the Bergström Vineyard on a 13-acre, south facing slope. In 1999, Dr. Bergström’s son, Josh, returned to Oregon after a postgraduate program
in viticulture and enology in Burgundy and founded the Bergström label with his father.
In 2001, Kendall Bergström and her husband Paul de Lancellotti joined the business. A new winery was built at
the top of Calkins Lane in the Chehalem Mountains and the de Lancellotti Estate Vineyard was planted.
Bergström Wines now farms five estate vineyards totaling 84 acres, all of which are biodynamically farmed
(Bergstöm, de Lancellotti, Le Pré Du Col, Winery Block and Gregory Ranch). Pinot Noir is also sourced from
Shea and Temperance Hill vineyards. Production is 9,000 cases annually of Pinot Noir (nine bottlings) and
Josh Bergström is currently general manager, winemaker and vineyard manager, and his wife Caroline
manages the sales team. Visit the website at www.bergstromwines.com.
2010 Bergström Cumberland Reserve Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $42. The winery’s flagship
blend. Primarily sourced from de Lancellotti, Shea and Bergström vineyards.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Aromas of black cherries, spiced dark berry jam, and mocha java. Fresh and juicy, modest
in weight, featuring a core of dark red and black cherries and berries with a noticeable topcoat of oak. About
the same the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Decent.
2010 Bergström Bergström Vineyard Dundee Hills AVA Oregon Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $80. Yields were
less than 0.9 tons per acre in this vintage. This 13-acre site was planted in 1999 and is certified Biodynamic®.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Very shy fruit on the nose with primarily oak-driven aromas. Bright
cherry core wrapped in supple tannins finishing with flourish of oak. Juicy and vivid with a good cut of citrus
peel acidity in the background. The charming fruit is somewhat buried in oak at present. About the same the
following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
Joe Campbell, M.D., D.C.: Elk Cove Vineyards
Undergraduate: Harvard University (Magna Cum Laude in History of Science)
Medical School: Stanford University 1967
Dr. Campbell told me that he and his spouse Pat became interested in wine while he was at Stanford
University and on weekends they visited tasting rooms nearby and in the Santa Cruz Mountains. After medical
school, he practiced for two years on a Sioux Indian Reservation in South Dakota. In 1971, they visited
Oregon. Pat had grown up on orchards in the Hood River so she was familiar with farm life. He started
working in internal medicine in Portland and emergency medicine on the Oregon Coast, earning enough to buy
property in the Willamette Valley.
He founded Elk Cove Vineyards in 1974 in Gaston (Yamhill-Carlton AVA) which today is one of Oregon’s oldest
wine producers. He planted his first ten acres of Coury selection Pinot Noir and Chardonnay (later grafted over
to Pinot Gris), began making wine in an old barn, and released his first wine in 1977. This was the first
commercial wine produced in the Yamhill-Carlton District. Single vineyard Pinot Noir has been offered since
1979. A new winery was built on the property in 1981 and vineyard properties were gradually added over the
years. Today, the winery farms over 220 acres of vineyards on four separate sites in the Willamette Valley
(Estate, Windhill, Mount Richmond and Five Mountain). Another 150 acres of vines are scheduled to be
planted over the next several years.
Dr. Campbell made wine for over twenty years while still practicing medicine. He has five offspring, with Adam
Godlee Campbell now the winemaker and his youngest daughter managing the winery photography and
website. He recalls that in the early years of the winery his two oldest sons worked in the vineyards when they
were ten years old, something that wouldn’t be allowed today. Dr. Campbell made wine with his son Adam in
1997 and 1998, and in 1999 Adam took over the winemaking duties. He still works at age 73 years as a family
practitioner in Portland (Pearl Health Center) and in emergency medicine on the Oregon Coast. He has
volunteered with Medical Teams International following disasters in New Orleans, Sri Lanka and Sol Sudan and
supports a small medical clinic in Arequipa, Peru.
When asked about his winemaking training, Dr. Campbell told me he had no mentor. He spent a harvest in
Burgundy and read everything he could get his hands on. “I attribute my success to hard physical work
growing up and a background in chemistry that made the chemistry of winemaking simple.” He was quoted in
a Stanford University publication (Bench & Bedside) as saying, “There’s a lot of science in winemaking. Of
course, there’s nothing more complex than the human body. But I do think the complexity of wine is attractive
to many physicians.”
Elk Cove Vineyards was the fifteenth largest producer in Oregon in 2011 (43,800 cases) and was the
Northwest Palate Magazine 2007 Northwest Winery of the Year. The winery focuses on Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris
and Pinot Blanc. Visit the website at www.elkcove.com.
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.5% alc., pH 3.55, 7,227 cases, $29.
A blend from several vineyards including Pommard and Dijon clones. Vine age 9 to 37 years, yield
1.6 tons per acre.
Medium reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of fresh, dark red cherries,
raspberries and strawberries leap from the glass. The rich flavors echo the nose, with a well-balanced
backbone of acidity and tannin, and a strong, firm finish. A showy wine with surprising
richness for this vintage and the low alcohol level. One of Oregon’s consistently solid value-priced
Pinot Noirs. Produced in quantity and widely available. Good (+).
2010 Elk Cove Vineyards Mount Richmond Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., $48. Vineyard was planted in 1996 with cuttings from
Roosevelt Vineyard. Willakenzie soils.
Moderately dark reddish-purple
color in the glass. Great nose! Lovely aromas of black cherry fill the
glass like fresh cherries just off the tree. Aromas of spice and candied
cinnamon apple add interest. A cherry bombast on the palate that is flat
out delicious. A sensational wine that is moderately rich but strikingly
flavorful and composed in a seamless fashion with modest fine-grain tannins
and complimentary oak in the background. Plenty of Pinot singing in this great
Mauricio Collada, Jr., M.D.: Cubanisimo Vineyards
Undergraduate: University of Miami
Medical School: University of South Florida College of Medicine 1977
Residency: University of South Carolina Medical Center, General Surgery and Medical Center Louisiana New
Orleans LSU, Neurosurgery
Board Certification: Neurosurgery
Born in Havana, Cuba in the 1950s, Dr. Collada came to the United States with his family in 1962, a few years
after Fidel Castro’s communist revolution. He developed an interest in wine while attending college and began
making wine at home from mangoes and bananas. His passion for wine continued through medical school.
He moved to Salem, Oregon, in 1983 to begin his neurosurgical practice, and developed a special interest in
In 1986, Dr. Collada bought a 21-acre parcel in the Eola-Amity Hills, and five years later planted 8 acres of
Pommard Pinot Noir on a southeast facing hillside. In 2001, he planted two more acres of Pinot Noir (115 and
777) and in 2007, two acres of Pinot Gris. Initially, he sold grapes to King Estate, Evesham Wood and Erath
and through his dealings with Erath got to know the winemaker at Erath, Rob Stuart, who was a mentor. In
2003, he started holding back 50% of his production to produce his own wines under the Cubanisimo
Vineyards label. Cubanisimo means “very Cuban.” When his winery contracts expired in 2005, he began to
keep all of his production and constructed a wine tasting facility.
Cubanisimo wines are currently produced at Rob Stuart’s winery in McMinnville, with plans to move wine
production to the estate in the future. Currently Dr. Collada produces 800 cases of estate Pinot Noir and 1,000
cases of Pinot Noir that blend estate grapes with grapes sourced from other vineyards. Production also
includes 150 cases of Rosado de Pinot Noir from estate fruit and a small amount of Pinot Gris. His spouse,
Debra, is a nurse who participates in harvest, bottling, manages the tasting room and distribution, and
coordinates events. Visit the website at www.cubanisimovineyards.com.
2010 Cubanisimo Rumba Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., $21, screwcap.
Light reddish color in
the glass. Aromas of red fruits and briar lead to crisp red cherry flavor with oak-driven notes of spice and tar.
A very delicate wine with prominent tannins that dominate the demure fruit. A summer sipper that would
benefit from ice. Decent.
2011 Cubanisimo Estate Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
12.8% alc., $30.
Light reddish-purple color in the
glass. Aromas and flavors of cherries, raspberries, savory herbs and spice underpinned with notes of tarry
oak. Balanced tannins and lively acidity make for refreshing drinking. Good.
Michael Dragutsky, M.D. & David Sloas, M.D.: Cornerstone/Stepping Stone
Medical School: Texas A&M College of Medicine 1982
Residency: Baptist Memorial Hospital Memphis TN, Internal Medicine 1985
Fellowship: University of Tennessee, Gastroenterology 1987
Board Certification: Gastroenterology
Shortly after beginning medical practice, several of Dr. Dragutsky’s medical colleagues who were active in local
wine groups invited Dr. Dragutsky to participate in some of their wine events. His first truly memorable wine
was a bottle of 1982 Dom Perignon which he tasted at a New Year’s Celebration.
Dr. Sloas was a fellow gastroenterologist who Dr. Dragutsky was sharing call with in 1991 when Dr. Sloas had
lunch with noted vintner Randy Dunn in Napa. Dunn mentioned that he was going to have 5 extra tons of
grapes that year. Dr. Sloas called Dr. Dragutsky immediately and they bought Dunn’s overage of Howell
Mountain juice. Dr. Dragutsky was just learning the basics of wine at the time, so he had to make a quick study
of both wine and the wine business. Joined by Managing Partner Craig Camp, winemaker Jeff Keene and a
group of Memphis-based partners led by Hal Lewis and John Carrier, Cornerstone/Stepping Stone Cellars was
founded. Today, the winery produces Cabernet Sauvignon Cabernet Franc, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc from
the Napa Valley under the Stepping Stone and Cornerstone labels.
Craig Camp enlisted noted Oregon winemaker Tony Rynders to produce Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley
beginning with the 2008 vintage under the Cornerstone Cellars label and Drs. Sloas and Dragutsky and their
investor partners joined in founding the new Oregon winery. Cornerstone now produces both Pinot Noir and
Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley. Dr. Dragutsky is pictured below on right with winemaker Jeff Keene.
Current production in Napa and Oregon totals over 10,000 cases. Visit the website at
Dr. Dragutsky practices gastroenterology full time in Memphis, TN and is one of the founding members of
Gastro One, currently the twelfth largest gastroenterology group in the United States. He is also owner of
Phoenix Unequaled Home Entertainment, a nationally recognized residential systems integration company. He
spends at least 15 hours a week interacting with Craig Camp and staff in Napa, managing the financials, and
promoting Cornerstone Cellars.
I asked Dr. Dragutsky why he thought physicians were attracted to wine and the wine business. He said the
following. “Medicine is a very socially interactive profession where personal interactions between the physician
are of utmost importance. Likewise, wine is the epitome of a social experience. It is this commonality which I
believe attracts physicians to wine. In addition, both fields require in depth knowledge and are intellectually
challenging. It also confirms the adage that physicians are drawn to bad investments!”
2010 Cornerstone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 498 cases, $50.
Sourced from all six Williamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority (68%) from
the Yamhill-Carlton District. Aged 15 months in 62% new French oak.
reddish-purple color in the glass. Pleasant aromas of black cherries and dark
berry compote with a hint of smoky oak. Not as expressive as it will be with
more bottle age, yet showing enticing flavors of dark cherries and raspberries
pulled into line with fine acidity and tannin. Finishes dry with a flourish of
cherries. Nicely composed and balanced and a worthy cellar candidate. Very
2010 Stepping Stone Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., 137 cases, $30. The painting on the label is
“Color of Life” by Oregon artist Janet Ekholm. Sourced from all six Willamette Valley sub-AVAs with the majority
from Yamhill-Carlton and Eola-Amity Hills. Aged 13 months in 35% new French oak.
color in the glass. Demure aromas of black cherries and toasty oak. Mid weight core of dark cherry fruit
becoming more vibrant over time in the glass. Soft in the mouth with mild tannins and some length on the
earthy, fruit-driven finish. A straightforward, accessible wine showing a tad more oak than I prefer but otherwise
solid. Good. Reviewed November 24, 2012.
Kristian Ferry, M.D.: Spencer Butte Vineyard/Abbelone Vineyards
Undergraduate: General and Molecular Biology, University of California at Irvine
Medical School: Medical College of Wisconsin 1994
Residency: Baylor University, General Surgery and University of Miami, Surgical Oncology
Board Certification: General Surgery
Dr. Ferry is the only Society of Surgical Oncology-trained physician in Oregon outside of Portland. A surgeon
at Oregon Medical Group in Eugene, he has received considerable praise for the Pinot Noir he crafts from the
5-acre Abbelone Vineyard located on the southeastern flank of Spencer Butte in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon
(south Willamette Valley). He and his spouse Angela first established the vineyard in 2002. The vineyard is
named in memory of Dr. Ferry’s mother and is planted to Pommard, 115 and 777 clones.
Dr. Ferry is a respected viticulturist and winemaker who actively works in his vineyard throughout the season,
performing eighty percent of the work himself. Come October, he crafts his Pinot Noir at Eugene Wine Cellars,
perfecting his technique from winemaker Greg Sothras. His first vintage was a 2009 Pinot Noir. In 2011, Dr.
Ferry added more acres of Pinot Noir and may include white varieties in the future. The website is currently
Dr. Ferry’s vineyard started out as a “fun diversion,” and a relief from the long hours he spends in hospitals
and operating rooms, but he keeps expanding, now slowly equipping the basement of his villa overlooking the
vineyard for winemaking. He attributes his interest in winegrowing and winemaking to an expression for his
Robert J. Gross, M.D.: Cooper Mountain Vineyards
Medical School: Emory University 1966
Residency: University of Washington 1977
Board Certification: Psychiatry, Obstetrics & Gynecology
Dr. Gross was at the University of Washington doing his residency when he and a group of fellow residents
started an amateur winemaking group. They rented some space in Pike Place Market before it was renovated
and while it was still economically plausible, and began ‘playing’ around. After residency, some of the
members of the group went to Eastern Washington to found a now shuttered winery called French Creek.
Dr. Gross was not interested in warm climate varieties and neither was his wife Corrine who grew up in Portland. They
went south to Oregon to find a suitable location to plant Pinot Noir, and found a 100-acre horse farm in the
Chehalem Mountains for sale where Corrine had grown up riding horses. In 1978, they bought the
property and planted vineyards which would become the location for Cooper Mountain Vineyards which was
established in 1987.
When I asked Dr. Gross “Why wine?”, he answered that he already had the organic chemistry background.
“Why the emphasis on organics and biodynamics?”, he said that it was for his health.
Dr. Gross still practices in Portland and continues to oversee the winery operations and production. Cooper
Mountain Vineyards has been a pioneer among Oregon wineries in practicing organic and biodynamic
viticulture. Organic certification by Oregon Tilth came in 1995 and Biodynamic® certification by Demeter®
followed in 1999. In 2002, Cooper Mountain Vineyards was the first winery in the United States to gain label
approval for a no sulfite added wine and carry the USDA Organic seal. The winery’s sulfite free Pinot Noir has
developed a cult following. In addition, there are reserve bottlings and single vineyard options. Pinot Gris,
Pinot Blanc and Chardonnay are also offered. The winemaker is Gilles De Domingo. Visit the website at
2009 Cooper Mountain Vineyard Mountain Terroir Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5% alc., pH 3.65, TA
0.57, 290 cases, $45. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Very
shy nose with delicate aromas of blackberry jam. Mid weight flavors of plum reduction sauce and blackberries
accented with tempered oak, balanced with firm tannins and finishing with notable power. Very tasty and offers
a sensual, velvety mouth feel to boot. Very good.
2010 Cooper Mountain Vineyard Mountain Terroir Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.0% alc., $50. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddishpurple
color in the glass. This wine shows a heavy oak topcoat that is currently
burying the luscious and markedly intense dark red fruit core. A middleweight
wine with restrained tannins and balancing acidity, that will benefit from more
time in bottle to fully integrate the oak. That said, this wine displays a
remarkably fleshy fruit profile. Good.
2011 Cooper Mountain Vineyards “Life” Willamette Valley Organic Wine
13.0% alc., $35. No sulfite added during winemaking. Certified organic by
Oregon Tilth. Biodynamic® by Demeter®.
Moderately light reddish-purple color
in the glass. Very fruity, upfront nose offering aromas of strawberry, cherry, red
fruit punch and sandalwood. A Beaujolais styled wine, with pleasant flavors of
red fruits including red plum and a subtle hint of savory herbs. Mild, but evident
tannins, with a bright finish. Crafted for early drinking and an excellent wine for
the table. Good.
Marvin Haussman, M.D.: Quailhurst Vineyard Estate
Medical School: New York University School of Medicine 1967
Residency: General Surgery at Mt. Sinai Hospital New York and Urological Surgery at U.C.L.A. Medical Center
Board Certification: Urology
Dr. Haussman, a native of New York, and his spouse Deborah, who was raised in the Northwest, established
Quailhurst Vineyard Estate in 1997 in Sherwood, Oregon. The 35-acre estate was built in the 1930s and was
renowned for its Japanese gardens and many varieties of roses. They renovated the property to grow wine
grapes and to breed and train competition dressage horses.
The first Dijon clone Pinot Noir vines were planted in 1998 and the first Pinot Noir bottled from the 2001 vintage
under the Quailhurst Vineyard Estate label. The vineyard produces about 15 tons of Pinot Noir grapes per year
from which several estate Pinot Noirs and Pinot Noir ports are released. The website is www.quailhurst.com.
Dr. Haussman has over thirty years of experience in drug development and clinical care experience at various
pharmaceutical companies including working with Bristol-Myers International, Mead-Johnson Pharmaceutical
Co., and E.R. Squibb. He was the President and CEO of OXIS International until 2008 and Chairman of the
Board of Axonyx from 1997 until its merger with Torrey Pines Therapeutics in 2006. This company has patent
rights to two main classes of therapeutic compounds designed for the treatment of age related and disease
related dementias, in particular Alzheimer’s disease. Dr. Haussman cofounded Medco Research Inc., a
pharmaceutical biotechnology company. He has served in executive positions most recently for Entia
Biosciences, Inc., Genesis Biopharma, and Total Nutraceutical Solutions.
He has focused on formulating and marketing products composed primarily of organic natural mushroom
compounds that contain bioactive nutrients for potential health benefits. His special interest in mushrooms has
developed because it is believed that when metabolized with food, they provide many nutrients that are
invaluable for the human immune system and for normal cellular function.
2010 Quailhurst Vineyard Estate TJ’s Reserve Chehalem Mountains Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., $60.
Moderately light reddish-purple
color in the glass. Shy aromas of red fruit, oak and walnuts. Mid weight flavors
of red fruits including sweet cherries and cranberries with complimentary oak in
background. A feminine style with supple tannins, a good cut of acidity, and
impressive cherry fruit on the finish. This wine grows on you the more time you
spend with it. Very good.
Donald R. Olson, M.D., MBA: Torii Mor Winery
Medical School: University of Wisconsin Medical School 1961
Residency: University of Illinois 1966, Fellowship at Hospital Foch University Paris 1971
Board Certification: American Board of Neurosurgery
Dr. Olson founded Torii Mor Winery in the Dundee Hills of Oregon in 1993 as a tribute to his late son, Leif.
Olson had been a lover of French Burgundy while a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the Oregon Health
Sciences University in Portland. The winery was initially a small project intended to showcase fruit from his
vineyard that was planted in 1972, one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley. Situated at 800 feet,
the vineyard is just under 15 acres and is planted to Pinot Noir. The winery released its first vintage in 1993.
The name Torri Mor comes from the Japanese, “Torii,” referring to the beautiful gates often seen at the
entrances of gardens, and, “Mor,” is a Scandinavian word meaning earth and chosen as a homage to Olson’s
Scandinavian heritage. By joining these two languages, an image of a gate to the earth was created.
A LEED certified solar-array gravity flow winery opened on the property in 2007. The estate has a quaint
Japanese theme and is unique among Oregon wineries. Burgundian Jacques Tardy became the winemaker in
2004. Dr. Olson continues his involvement in the winery as General Manager and CEO. He is at the winery on
a daily basis, and very involved with the day-to-day activities of the winery. Current production is 15,000 cases,
predominantly Pinot Noir, both appellation-designated and vineyard-designated. The Olson Estate Vineyard
is the cornerstone of production, but fruit is sourced from other AVAs and the Umpqua Valley and Rogue Valley.
Visit the website at www.toriimorwinery.com.
Dr. Olson has been an advocate of the health benefits of wine and given many presentations on the subject. At
one time, federal regulators forced him to change the aphoristic “make glad the heart with wine” on his label
because it represented an apparent “health statement.”
In 2011, after a break from neurosurgery for ten years, Dr. Olson volunteered with Medical Teams International
to perform battlefield surgery on freedom fighters in Libya.
2009 Torii Mor Olson Estate Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., 350 cases, $60. Pommard, Coury and 667 clones. Yields <2
tons per acre. Aged in 10% new, 18% 1 and 2-year-old, and the rest neutral
French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas
arrive over time in the glass, showing scents of black cherries, black plum, and a
hint of oak. Medium weight flavors of black cherries, dark red berries, black tea,
anise and oak backed by some drying tannins and lively acidity. The wine
finishes with pleasing aromatic intensity. Very good.
2010 Torii Mor Oregon Pinot Noir
12.9% alc., $24, screwcap.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass.
Delicate red fruit aromas with prominent smoky oak. Austere with flavors of tart red cherries, spice and a green
note in the background. Very mild tannins and brisk acidity. The fruit appears under ripe and oak shows up
with unwelcome dominance. Decent.
2010 Torii Mor Reserve Deux Verres Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., 650 cases, $38. Deux
Verres means “Two Glasses” in French. Sourced from six vineyards in the Dundee Hills and Chehalem
Mountains. Aged 15 months in 20% new, 41% 1 and 2-year-old, and 33% neutral French oak barrels.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Dark red fruits are featured on the nose and palate.
Relatively modest in weight, but flavorful, featuring red cherry and cranberry tastes. Juicy, with mild tannins
and a good cut of citrusy acidity. Good.
Madaiah Revana, M.D.: Revana and Alexana Wineries
Medical School: Mysore Medical College India (first in his class)
Internship: Coney Island Hospital
Residency: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital Philadelphia
Fellowship: Baylor University Medical Center
Board Certification: Cardiology and Internal Medicine
Dr. Revana grew up in rural India near Bangalore where his family had been farming for generations. This
farming heritage led to his instinct for winegrowing. He was first introduced to wine by friends and became
fascinated with Bordeaux’s first growths while practicing cardiology in Houston, Texas. He traveled to the wine
regions of Europe and the United States and became determined to establish a world class vineyard estate. In
1997, on a visit to the Napa Valley, he found a small parcel of prime vineyard land in St. Helena. In 1998, he
hired vineyard manager Jim Barbour to plant and maintain the 9-acre vineyard. He started Revana Family
Vineyard, and released the first vintage in 2001. Noted winemaker Heidi Barrett was the initial winemaker and
today Thomas Brown directs the winemaking at Revana.
In time Dr. Revana developed a love for great Burgundy wines as well. After enlisting the assistance of
winemaker Lynn Penner-Ash (Rex Hill from 1988 to 2002 and now Penner-Ash Wines), he acquired 80 acres
in the Dundee Hills in 2005 and started Alexana Winery, named after his daughter, Alexandra Revana. 16 acres
of Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris had already been established and an additional 39 acres of Pinot Noir, Riesling
and Chardonnay was added. Today, the vineyard, which has an unusually complex diversity of soils and
exposures, has grown to over 55 acres.
Lynn Penner-Ash became the winemaker for the new winery and is currently assisted by associate winemaker
The first two Alexana estate wines, a Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, and a Pinot Noir from Shea Vineyard, were
released from the 2006 vintage. Production is now 5,000 cases annually. A tasting room in a LEED certified
Gold three-story house is located on NE Worden Hill Road in Newberg. Visit the website at
2010 Alexana Revana Vineyard Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.1% alc., 1,654 cases, $42.
A blend of eight clones.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Lovely nose offering aromas of
black cherries, black raspberries, and subtle oak spice, fading a bit over time in the glass. Modest but
appealing richness featuring well-spiced black cherry and dark berry fruits with a hint of dried herbs in the
background. A wine of attractive finesse with mild tannins and a fruit-filled finish. Balance is spot on.
2010 Alexana Signature Dundee Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.2% alc., 236 cases, $75. A barrel selection from estate fruit.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass. Shy nose picking up
interest and intensity over time in the glass offering alluring aromas of
dark red cherries and berries accented with nutmeg spice. Seamless
and soft in the mouth, even creamy, with a full-bodied core of deep red
cherry and berry fruits backed by well-integrated oak. Similar to the
regular bottling in flavor but more stacked and packed. Remarkable phenolic
ripeness and intensity at a relatively low alcohol percentage.
Earl VanVolkinburg, M.D.: Vitae Springs Vineyard
Medical School: Oregon Health and Science University School of Medicine
Residency: David Grant USAF Medical Center
Board Certification: Internal Medicine
Dr. VanVolkinburg is a practicing internist in Salem, Oregon, who developed an interest in wine while serving in
the United States Air Force in the Mosel Valley in Germany from 1971 to 1974. He spent many
hours working in vineyards and cellars. When he finished residency in 1977, he and his spouse Pam looked
for a town that needed an internist and had suitable land for growing wine grapes. In 1977, he bought 18 acres
south of Salem and planted 1 acre of mostly Riesling since that was the only grape he knew much about. More acreage has been added over time, and as
one of the first families to plant a vineyard in the Willamette Valley, the Vitae Springs Vineyard has some of the
oldest vines in the region.
Today, Dr. VanVolkinburg’s son Joel manages the 31 acres of vineyards (25 acres Pinot Noir, 5 acres Pinot
Gris, 2.5 acres Riesling and a small amount of Grüner Veltliner) and most of the winemaking chores (Joe
Dobbes, Jr., has been a winemaking consultant). Soils are both Jory and Nekia, and clones of Pinot Noir
include 667, 777, 115 and Pommard.
Small lots of Pinot Noir, Riesling, Grüner Veltliner and Pinot Noir are produced under the Vitae Springs
Vineyard label and some vineyard production is sourced by premium wine producers in the Willamette Valley
such as St. Innocent. The 2011 Grüner Veltliner is the nation’s first and oldest (30 years) estate grown and
produced bottling of Grüner Veltliner. The family’s two car garage doubles as a tasting room. Fewer than
1,000 cases of wine are produced each year. Visit the website at www.vitaesprings.com.
Dr. VanVolkinburg likes to quote Paul who wrote to Timothy in Timothy 5:23, “Stop drinking just water, but have
a little wine for your stomach’s sake and your infirmities.”
Mark Wahle, M.D.: Wahle Vineyards & Cellars
Medical School: University of California at Davis 1993
Residency: Louisiana State School of Medicine
Board Certification: Emergency Medicine
Dr. Wahle and his parents established a 10-acre vineyard in Yamhill, Oregon, in 1974. This is now considered
a “parent” vineyard along with Elk Cove Estate of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This became his school agricultural
project and required considerable after school and weekend work to establish and maintain the vineyard. Most
of the planting material was from the nursery of Charles Coury and included a large planting of the Coury
“clone.” When Dr. Wahle attended viticulture meetings with local grape growers, there was no viticulture and
enology program available in Oregon for university level study. Dr. Wahle considered programs at Cornell,
Geisenheim and Stellenboch, but ultimately found the University of California at Davis program the best fit. He
attended the Viticulture and Enology program (Fermentation Science) as a Regents Scholar.
At Davis, the professors suggested caution in Oregon winegrowing attempts, yet they provided an education
that prepared him for winemaking in any region of the world. Dr. Wahle gained practical winemaking
experience at Chateau St. Jean in California, Chateau Benoit in Oregon and in an exchange program in the
Rheinhessen region of Germany. Upon returning to Oregon he discovered that his family transition plan had
stalled and this was a life-changing event for him. Unsure of what to do next, he took a break and backpacked
with a friend throughout Central America. Experiences on this trip supported an interest in medicine. Growing
up in a small farm town in Oregon, he did not have exposure to a medical career path. While attending Davis,
many classmates were “pre-med,” and they had encouraged him to take this path. He had essentially
completed the “pre-med” curriculum with his earlier fermentation studies and needed only to add a zoology
Dr. Wahle chose to return to Davis for the medicine program. His Fermentation Science advisor was dismayed
that he gave up winemaking, but he reassured her that he ultimately planned to be involved in both careers.
He is now a practicing emergency medicine physician in Portland part of the week, and works at his vineyards
and winery for the rest of the week. A second vineyard has been established in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA known
as Holmes Hill Vineyard.
Current production at Wahle Vineyards is 1000+ cases of estate Pinot Noir at Carlton Winemakers Studio while
a new winery is completed at the Holmes Hill Vineyard site. This includes production for James Moises, M.D.,
an emergency medicine colleague in New Orleans. Dr. Moises makes several visits a year to Oregon wine
country to participate in grape growing and winemaking. Dr. Wahle also produces wine for Drs. Nicholas and
Haydee Bazab, neuroscientists who also live in New Orleans. He has collaborated with them on studies
related to the antioxidant properties of Pinot Noir.
Dr. Wahle told me the following. “While many see these two career paths as an unusual pairing, I simply
remind them of the amazing content overlap that exists. Furthermore, I see the two fields as complimentary in
practice. After a stretch of chaotic emergency medicine shifts, it is a relief to shift gears and return to outdoor
work in the vineyard. Even with all the scientific advances in enology, there is still room for artistic expression
during the winemaking process. After an exhausting harvest season, it also seems ‘balancing’ to return to the
hospital to resume work in the fascinating and ever-changing field of medicine.”
Wahle Vineyards & Cellars website is www.wvcellars.com.
2007 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $42.
Sourced from the original estate vineyard planting of 1974, one of the oldest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Aromas of black fruit, pipe tobacco, bark,
dark rose petals and a pharmaceutical note. Juicy and smooth on the palate with mid weight flavors of
blackberries and black currant backed by sinewy tannins and bright acidity. Good.
2008 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Holmes Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.6% alc., $33. Vineyard is named
after H.N.V. Holmes who set out from Missouri in search of his land
claim in 1848.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Tight initially, opening gradually to reveal aromas of dark berry fruit
and subtle oak. Discreetly concentrated flavors of dark berries and
plum with hints of graham, chocolate and savory oak. Svelte tannins
and balanced acidity. A thoroughly pleasing wine that is nicely balanced.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $30. Composed of grapes from
the older Wahle Estate Yamhill Vineyard and the younger Holmes Hill Vineyard.
Light reddish-purple color in
the glass. Aromas of dark red cherries and mocha. A solid wine with pleasing flavors of ripe cherries, spice
and herbs, offering very supple tannins, and a juicy, fruity finish. Good.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Yamhill-Carlton District Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.5% alc., $45.
Light reddish-purple color in the glass. Complex array of scents including black cherry, blackberry, smoky oak
and cut grass. Deep, dark cherry and raspberry flavor with impressive intensity and lingering finishing power.
The oak is well integrated, the tannins are nicely balanced, and although a big wine, it carries its weight
beautifully. Very good.
2009 Wahle Vineyards & Cellars Holmes Hill Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.9% alc., $36.
Light in color with a reddish tone in the glass. The nose offers a sophisticated array
of aromas including dark red and black berries, dried herbs including sage, and old book. Very soft
in the mouth with vivid flavors of dark red cherries and savory herbs, finishing with some persistence.
A nicely balanced wine that aims to please with its easy, approachable charm. Very good.
John Zelko, M.D., FACS: Z’IVO Wines
Medical School: University of Hawaii, Manoa, HI 1978
Residency: University of Colorado, Denver, CO 1983
Board Certification: General Surgery
Dr. Zelko comes from a family of doctors. His father was an ophthalmologist and his brother still is. He told me
he could remember sitting at the kitchen table with a microscope putting Tennant Mark VIII intraocular lenses in
pig’s eyes. His father was always disappointed that he didn’t follow his career path, but at least his brother did.
Dr. Zelko moved to Oregon from Denver after he finished training in 1983. What drew him there was Ken
Kasey’s Sometimes a Great Notion, perhaps the greatest Oregon book ever written. He quickly met Rachel
Starr who owned Great Wine Buys and became enamored of the local wines. He participated in wine tasting
courses and brewed beer because at the time there were no microbrews, no one sold quality grapes to
amateurs, and F.H. Steinbart Co. Homebrew Supply Shop was close by in Portland. When Rachel and friends
started Starr Winery, he and his wife became night time and weekend cellar rats. Eventually they bought a ton
or two of Pinot Noir from lesser known vineyards and made their first wine in Linton. This went on from 1992 to
1999 when Starr Winery moved to Newberg.
The Zelkos bought 40 acres in the Eola-Amity Hills from a radiologist who thought he could use his 401K
money to plant a vineyard. When he was unsuccessful, they took the property in 1995 and started planting it in
1996. The Zelkos preferred the wines from what is now the Eola-Amity Hills AVA because they liked “the gutsy,
earthy backbone and black fruit flavors.” The site is situated at 150 to 400 feet with soils ranging from Yamhill
Dr. Zelko was intrigued with the Dijon clones and thought that a blend of multiple clones would yield a more
complex and age worthy wine distinctly different from the wines based solelyon Pommard and Wädenswil
clones so prevalent in Oregon. He thought that a mixture of earlier ripening clones in a slightly warmer site
would favor more years with adequate ripeness and that is what happened. The Z’IVO wines are big and bold,
the use of native yeast fermentation has resulted in the complexity he preferred and the wines are maturing
Dr. Zelko has also made white varietals with purchased grapes and recently planted the “Gouges” clone of
Pinot Blanc that Gary Andrus brought to Archery Summit when he made Viriton. 2011 was the first vintage.
The winery was initially named Zelko but had to be changed to Z’IVO Wines when Zelko Vodka presented him
with a trademark challenge. A month of googling and research came up with a play on Dr. Zelko’s name. His
wife, Kathy the lawyer, suggested he put an apostrophe in there to make it fanciful and get it through trademark
clearance. In Slovak, ‘zivo’ means vibrant or to be alive as well as Ivo’s. So Z’IVO can be interpreted as Ivo’s
wines or wines that are vibrant and alive. Dr. Zelko likes to say Kathy is a wine “fan” and he is more of a
When asked why physicians like to get into grapes and wine Dr. Zelko told me the following. “We have a
strong biochemistry background, some disposable income, and the desire to marry art, craft and science in a
manner different from the practice of medicine. Grape growers, winemakers and all the farmers, chefs and
people passionate about wine and the immediacy of a good life are great people to spend our free time with.
Who knows better than us life’s tragedies and sorrows and the need to share what is good.”
Z’IVO Pinot Noir is produced entirely from the estate vineyard. Several aromatic white wines are also offered.
The wines are handcrafted at Walnut City Wine Works in McMinnville, a small consortium of winemakers who
grow their own grapes. The first vintage was 2000. Visit the website at www.zivowines.com.
2007 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,800 cases, $36. Estate vineyard
fruit, clones 114, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard. 12 day cold soak, cultured yeasts, 20% whole cluster. Aged in
33% new French oak.
Moderately light reddish-purple color in the glass. Marked sulfur related reduction upon
opening which had largely blown off by the following day from an opened bottle. The core of black cherry fruit
is juicy and fresh, complimented by a note of wood spice, caressed by supple tannins, and backed by good
2008 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
14.0% alc., 1,000 cases, $40. All five estate
vineyard clones. Ambient yeast fermentation after 1 week cold soak. 20% whole cluster. Aged in 33% new
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. Appealing aromatic profile featuring scents of dark
red cherries and berries including ripe strawberries, and spice. Middleweight, slightly confected black cherry
core with a hint of brown spices and a subtle riff of salty minerality and oak in the background. Nicely balanced
with bright acidity. Good (+).
2008 Z’IVO Whole Cluster Project Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.7% alc., 160 cases, $40. From all five
estate vineyard clones. Large harvest of 3 tons per acre. 100% whole cluster, barefoot punch downs, ambient
yeast fermentation. Aged in 33% new French oak.
Moderately dark reddish-purple color in the glass.
Appealing aromas of dark stone and berry fruits, nicely spiced and offering a hint of rose petals. Mid weight,
sweet plum and blackberry flavors with firm tannins and a long, long finish. The fruit is striking in intensity and
brilliance. Drinkable now, but will benefit from more time in bottle, and should readily age in the cellar.
2009 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., $N/A.
Light reddish-purple color in
the glass. Reduction upon opening which resolves over time. Curiously light in weight for this warm vintage,
but not overripe as wines from this vintage in Oregon are prone to be. Flavors of red cherries with
complimentary oak in the background, mild tannins, and finishing with a good cut of citrus-driven acidity and
notable persistence. Even better the following day from a previously opened and re-corked bottle. Good.
2009 Z’IVO Whole Cluster Project Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
13.4% alc., 138 cases, $40. Clones are 115, Pommard, 114, 667 and 777. 100% whole cluster. Punch downs with bare feet twice a day for seven days. Wild yeast fermentation. Aged 10 months in 25% new, 35% once filled and the remainder neutral French oak barrels.
Moderate reddish-purple color in the glass. This is a
wine that attracts your full attention the minute the cork is pulled and all
that wonderful Pinot goodness jumps from the glass. I could not get
enough of this nose redolent of black cherries, spice and rose petals.
On the palate, there is a delicious essence of dark cherries with a spicy
touch that really pops. Very silky and charming, with a healthy
backbone of fine-grain tannins. A complete and harmonious wine.
When whole cluster is right, it produces the most ethereal expression of Pinot
Noir in the world. Should get even better with cellaring.
2011 Z’IVO Eola-Amity Hills Willamette Valley Pinot Blanc
12.0% alc., 220
cases, $N/A. Inaugural vintage for this wine. The fruit is a rare spontaneous
mutation of Pinot Noir known as the Gouges clone. Vinified in 50% neutral oak
and 50% stainless steel.
Very light straw color and clear in the glass. Intriguing
aromas of applesauce, apple core, sap and a subtle floral note. Light in weight
with bracing lemon-lime acidity, offering flavors of green apples and honey in a
crisp, dry French style. Needs food, and I would chill the wine and serve with
shellfish, particularly oysters. Good.
Still more “Pinot Noir Doctors.”
Douglas Ackerman, M.D.: Armstrong Vineyard
Dr. Ackerman graduated from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine in 1988, did his residency in urology at
the Oregon Health and Science University and now practices in Clackamas, Oregon. Along with spouse
Michelle, he bought and planted in 2007 16 acres of vineyard on the site of a former horse farm in the Ribbon
Ridge AVA of the Willamette Valley. The vineyard is just below Ayres and Brick House on Lewis Rogers Lane.
Clones are Pommard, Wädenswil, 114, 115, 667 and 777. Grapes were sold beginning with the inaugural 2010
vintage to Ayres, Seven of Hearts Winery and Vincent Wine Company.
2010 Seven of Hearts Armstrong Vineyard Ribbon Ridge Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
13.5%alc., 98 cases, $35. Released
March 15, 2012. Vineyard farmed by owners Dough and Michelle
Ackerman. 50% Pommard and 50% 666 with 67% whole cluster
Moderately light reddish-purple hue in the glass. Very
bright and enticing aromas of fresh berries and rose petals. Big-boned
core of purple and black berries and black plum with a subtle oak underpinning.
The fruit is overshadowed by the prodigious tannins now, but there is enough
fruit presence to grab your attention. More body and fruit than the Lia’s. Needs
more time in the cellar, but very promising. Very good (+).
Jack Bagdade, M.D.: Domaine Meriwether
Dr. Bagdade is a graduate of Cornell University Medical School and board certified in internal medicine,
endocrinology and metabolism. He formed Pike & Western Wine Merchants at Pike Place Market in Seattle in
1975. He soon wanted to produce world class sparkling wines and by the 1990s had founded Domaine
Meriwether. Dr. Bagdade recruited French winemaker Jean-Louis Denois who
hailed from Cumieres, just north of Epernay in Champagne. Their first harvest together was 1998. In 2005, Dr.
Bagdade returned to his medical calling and Ed Buzz Kawders step in to guide the winery and he enlisted
winemaker Raymond Welsh to continue the vision of the winery. Today, the winery produces sparkling wines
and still wines including Pinot Noir. The winery is located in Veneta, Oregon, outside of Eugene. The website is
Edward Koo, M.D.: Temperance Hill Vineyard,
Dr. Koo is a graduate of the medical school at Duke University, a pathologist and neurologist, who is currently a professor at University of California at San Diego School of Medicine who conducts research in the cellular and molecular biology of Alzheimer's Disease and neurodegeneration. He is a popular teacher and renowned researcher with over 125 publications to his credit. Edward and Lin Shen Koo established Temperance Hill Vineyard in 1980 and 1981. It is 100 acres made up of about 20 different blocks on a 200-acre site in the west Eola Hills, just west of Salem, Oregon. 80% of the vineyard is planted to Pinot Noir with lesser amounts of Chardonnay, Gewüztraminer and Pinot Gris. Dai Crisp has managed the vineyard since 1999 in accordance with Oregon Tilth Organic Certification standards. Grapes are sold to twenty clients, including such notable wineries as Adelsheim, Bergström, Chehalem, Elk Cove, Evesham Wood, Lange, Panther Creek and St. Innocent.
Henry Pollack, M.D.: Noble Pig Winery
Noble Pig Winery was founded in 2008 by winemaker Cathy Pollack and her physician spouse, Henry Pollack,
M.D.. The couple spent most of their life in Southern California where Henry had a successful obstetrics and
gynecoloogy practice until health problems cut his career short. They moved to Davis, California, where Cathy
enrolled in the school’s Viticulture and Enology Program. During her schooling, Dr. Pollack was diagnosed with
Parkinson’s Disease. The Pollacks found a home in the McMinnville AVA where they bought 88 acres and
planted their first 4 acres of Pinot Noir in 2010 (Pommard, 777 and 115). They plan to source grapes initially
and gradually increase production to 5,000 cases. The website is www.noblepigwinery.com.