Wooldridge Creek Win­ery

A friendly, epi­curean and eco-friendly place to visit!

VertdeVin - - News -

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)

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