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New Producers and the First Grapes of 2019 Arrive at the Carlton Winemakers Studio

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Carlton, OR (September 13, 2019) — Harvest 2019 officially kicked off at The Carlton Winemakers Studio in Carlton, Oregon, yesterday with freshly picked grapes arriving for Native Wines and Andrew Rich Wines. Native Wines pressed five tons of Pinot noir from Hess Creek Vineyards in the Dundee Hills AVA, Oregon, for a new low-alcohol rosé under its Tributary Cellars label. Long-time studio Winemaker Andrew Rich received three and a half tons of Syrah from Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley AVA, Washington. In total, nine winemakers representing 16 producers are crafting wines this vintage, including two new wineries–JC Somers and Windfall.

JC Somers Winemaker Jay Somers (bottom left), a new client of the studio, helps Winemaker Andrew Rich (top left) and Assistant Winemaker Hans van Dale (bottom right) sort Syrah grapes from Washington for Andrew Rich Wines.

After 24 years as founder and winemaker of J. Christopher Winery, Jay Somers has joined the studio to craft the first vintage of JC Somers wines. Founded by Somers and his wife Ronda, JC Somers will include 500 cases of Pinot noir and 250 cases each of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc. Fruit for the wines will come from four, dry-farmed vineyards in the Willamette Valley that Somers has been working with intimately for almost 20 years. Vineyards include Abbey Ridge in the Dundee Hills which features some of Oregon’s oldest vines; Bella Vida whose Dundee Hills fruit goes to some of the valley’s most prestigious wineries; the organic and biodynamically-farmed Corrine Vineyard in northern Willamette Valley; and the organically farmed Croft Vineyards southwest of Salem.

“I’m looking forward to getting back to my roots, making elegant, feminine and sophisticated wines that are a reflection of their site,” Somers said. “The studio is a perfect home for our new endeavor. It features a top-notch professional team, high-quality equipment, and an opportunity to work side by side with several winemakers I respect.”

Lytle-Barnett Co-Founder Andy Lytle also joins the studio this vintage to produce a new single-vineyard Pinot noir and Chardonnay under the name Windfall. Consulting winemaker Isabelle Meunier, who already makes Lavinea wines at the studio, will craft Windfall wines. Grapes for Windfall will come from a variety of clones planted in the shallow, rocky soils of Lytle’s 24-acre Anahata Vineyard located at a 500-foot elevation in the Eola Amity Hills. Anahata’s translation is the Sanskrit word for the heart chakra.

“Both lovers of Burgundian wines, Isabelle and I gravitate toward more minerality and balanced acidity,” said Lytle. “The marine winds that blow through the Van Duzer Corridor, the lowest point in Oregon’s Coast Range cooling Anahata Vineyards in the afternoon and evenings will allow us to achieve this, giving us small berries with firm acid and great intensity of flavor.”

South African Winemaker Sakkie Mouton pressing Pinot noir at The Carlton Winemakers Studio for a new low-alcohol rosé made by Native Wines.

According to Anthony King, General Manager for The Carlton Winemakers Studio and Winemaker for studio clients Ratio Wines, Quintet Wines and Asilda Wines, the 2019 growing season was a return to cooler weather in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Daytime highs averaged a few degrees cooler than the stellar 2018 vintage with significantly fewer days over ninety degrees. Meanwhile, occasional showers during July and August were peculiar for what is normally a dry time of year in the Willamette Valley. “Pinot noir vineyard samples are already exhibiting beautiful color and surprisingly ripe flavors at low sugar levels,” he said. “The year appears primed to produce classic Willamette Valley wines with naturally low alcohols and fresh acidity.”

About The Carlton Winemakers Studio

Founded in 2002 by winemakers Eric Hamacher and Luisa Ponzi and Ned and Kristen Lumpkin, The Carlton Winemakers Studio is an elite Oregon winemaking facility with history as a home and launch pad for some of the most groundbreaking wines and winemaking talent from the Pacific Northwest– including such iconic names as Robert Brittan, Lynne Penner-Ash and Tony Soter. The Northwest’s first alternating proprietorship and first winery built to LEED standards, the studio provides top of the line winemaking equipment and a full-time staff that allows artisan winemakers to focus solely on their craft.

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