Wooldridge Creek Winery
A friendly, epicurean and eco-friendly place to visit!
Wooldridge Creek is a family owned and operated winery located in the heart of the Applegate River Valley (Southern Oregon). The winery and vineyards are located on a rolling hillside overlooking the river.
Woolridge was created in the 1850s by a family of the same name.At the time it was mainly dedicated to cattle breeding. In 1978 Ted, an airplane pilot and Mary Warrick, working at the Los Angeles Airfield, decided to radically change their lives. They then went in search of a vineyard in California or Oregon. On a family trip they found Woolridge where they decided to settle and create a vineyard. However no wine was produced on the spot, the grapes being sold to neighboring properties. In 2002 they meet Greg Paneitz and his wife Kara Olma who were looking for a vineyard to take over. They decided to create Woolridge Winery together.
Today the property extends over 58 acres planted with vines (12 grape varieties).It also hosts a dairy,a delicatessen/charcuterie, a vegetable garden, woods and an animal farm.
Where does the name of the property come from?
Woolridge is the name of the family that created this estate in the 1850s. In their memory we decided not to rename the property.
Why did you choose to create here?
Greg spent a lot of time in the south of France.He studied oenology in Montpellier and worked some time there to train. He studied a lot of maps, regions to find a place with high potential, where everything was to build. During a trip we came across this place we fell in love with this vineyard, its fantastic potential and the lifestyle the region offers.
What makes your land so specific / unique?
It’s decomposed granite. He does not let much through, just a little water. It is difficult for the vines to grow here which makes it fight more and in the end gives us better grapes. The exposure of the vineyard as well as the altitude are also differentiating factors.
What is also important is that before this it was a farm mainly dedicated to beef breeding so the soil is healthy.
What is your signature? What allows us to recognize your wines in a tasting?
The balance ! When I was at school in Montpellier I remember a teacher who told me that if we could feel the fruit first and foremost is that there is error during the winemaking. We must feel above all the fruit and not the sugar, wood, alcohol or other. Everything is in balance, as much at the level of the grape harvests, the degrees of alcohol as at the level of the vinifications or the farms.
For example here we harvest the Gewurztraminer slightly over-mature because I think it’s better. As soon as I feel the lychee and slight hints of spices, it’s time to harvest.It’s a wine that I work in a style, let’s say, more feminine. I remember recently tasting our 2008 Gewurztraminer… it’s delicious! This wine really marked me.
If you had to describe your passion for wine / for this vineyard in a nutshell, what would you say?
I would say that wine is a genuine product, which requires a long-term vision and is based on the notion of community / sharing.
Here we do what we say. Everything you taste here is done here. Everyone who works here lives in its space, allowing them to have an overview of the valley, its ecosystem and its balance. It is a very beautiful place ! It’s a really exciting place and really honest.
Why did you create in one place a vineyard, a dairy and a charcuterie/delicatessen ?
It’s a matter of beliefs. Everything is complementary. Polyculture as well as breeding are activities that provide better respect for the environment and are very complementary. It’s a big circle! For example, agriculture is used to feed the animals that they use to maintain / fertilize the vines.The garden (flowers and vegetables) serves to preserve the bees.It promotes biodiversity and pollination that better feed animals.
We are passionate about agriculture, local produce and fermentation. Here we ferment meat (charcuterie), milk (creamery), vegetables and of course grapes (wine).We are working just as it was 100 years ago, without electricity, weed killers, chemicals and products imported from outside.We are certified organic agriculture.
It occupies us a lot but all these activities are complementary. Thanks to all this we can offer a unique experience to our visitors… tastings 100% Applegate Valley! It’s special, unique but very important for us!
(Thank you to Kara & Greg Pareitz)