June 24, 2021 (Turner, OR) – Willamette Valley Vineyards (NASDAQ: WVVI & WVVIP), a leading Pinot Noir producer in Oregon, is announcing plans to build a new winery in the Dundee Hills close to their nearly complete sparkling winery at Bernau Estate Vineyard called Domaine Willamette. To support the expansion, Willamette Valley Vineyards has launched the search for a new position of Director of Winemaking and Vineyards to lead the construction of the state-of-the art winery in the Dundee Hills and to lead its winemaking and vineyard operations.
This new winemaking facility is intended to be Willamette Valley Vineyards’ primary location for the production and bottling of its various brands, and is expected to be built on 40 acres in the Dundee Hills AVA adjacent to Highway 99 — on a property Willamette Valley Vineyards purchased four years ago.
“This property is well suited for supporting the multiple brands of our enterprise including Willamette Valley Vineyards and the newly announced Domaine Willamette méthode champenoise sparkling brand to launch in late Spring of 2022,” stated Winery Director Christine Clair.
Founder and CEO Jim Bernau explained, “our winery in the Salem Hills has served us well over the past 34 years, but we have simply outgrown its original design. We produced 175,000 cases at this winery last year on-site and are expecting continued increases in demand in the coming years as our restaurant and retail placements expand and our planned new winery restaurants are built in local communities.” Bernau estimated production needs will double over the next 5-7 years as a result.
Willamette has enlisted the help of Steve Martin Associates out of Sonoma County to assist in the planning, design and development of this winemaking facility.
The new Director of Winemaking & Vineyards position, reporting to the Winery Director, will be responsible for the overall management of winemaking and vineyards which currently includes a team of 65 full and part-time employees. As much of Willamette’s wine grapes are estate grown with quality supervised directly by the winery, the new director will oversee 5 owned vineyards in the Willamette Valley totaling approximately 500 producing acres and 35 in the Walla Walla Valley and The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater AVAs. The winery also has long standing relationships with growers in Oregon with another 500 acres under contract.
The new Director of Winemaking and Vineyards will apply their business acumen and entrepreneurial skills as they champion improvements and innovation to the winery operations across the brands and assist with the development of new brands, products and estate vineyards. Their first priority will be to oversee the planning, building and transition into the new winery within the next 2-4 years.
WineTalent will lead the search for the Director of Winemaking & Vineyards with any interested candidates able to learn more and apply confidentially at www.winetalent.net.
Willamette has embarked on a strategy to take the Oregon wine story on the road through Winery Restaurants with the first four named in Lakes Oswego, the Vancouver Waterfront, Happy Valley and Bend. This major, new strategic direction has been developed from operating their restaurant at the Estate winery and the prototype outpost built last year in the historic district of Folsom, California. The Winery Restaurants will offer Pacific Northwest-inspired dishes to pair with the winery’s classic Oregon wines as well as a new Membership program. The brand experiences will be integrated into its grocery and on-premise channels by introducing more consumers to the wines.
About Willamette Valley Vineyards:
Founded in 1983 by Jim Bernau with the dream of creating world-class Pinot Noir while serving as stewards of the land, Willamette Valley Vineyards has grown from a bold idea into one of the region’s leading wineries, earning the title “One of America’s Great Pinot Noir Producers” from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. All of the vineyards have been certified sustainable through LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon-Safe programs.
The winery is supported by more than 19,000 wine enthusiast owner investors and plans to continue its capital formation through Preferred Stock offerings. The winery launched a $10.7 million offering in mid-June to help fund its Winery Restaurant plans. Shares are offered at $5.05 with a 4.36% annual dividend or wine credit worth 15% more. For more information on winery ownership and investment, visit www.wvv.com/ownership. The winery has raised $29.3 million in Preferred Stock in the last five years beginning at $4.15 per share, achieving the NASDAQ listing WVVIP in 2016.