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Jessica Cortell and the Vitis Terra Team Are Pleased to Announce the Addition of Chris O’Connell as General Manager


Founded in 2010 by Jessica Cortell, Ph.D, Vitis Terra saw significant growth in 2021 and is off to  a strong start in 2022.  

8 March – Vitis Terra (VTVS) currently manages 700 acres or more of premium winegrapes in the  Willamette Valley. Vitis Terra provides primarily organic and biodynamic management and  strives to integrate multiple approaches including permaculture and regenerative agriculture.  VTVS discontinued use of all Glyphosate products in 2018. A few notable clients in their  portfolio include Antica Terra, Evening Land, Montinore/Ackley Beverage Group and Brooks  Wines.  

Chris O’ Connell will join the team as GM and will work closely with Jessica Cortell who will  continue as Director of Operations. Chris brings a wealth of wine industry experience primarily  in Direct-to-Consumer sales and hospitality and most recently was the General Manager at  Beacon Hill Winery & Vineyard in Gaston, OR. Chris has 15 years of wine industry experience  and brings with him a wealth of information, ideas and energy that will help lead the company  to new achievements. 

Chris’ career began in 2007 in Sonoma, CA with Arrowood Winery and progressed to Matanzas  Creek Winery in 2008, ultimately running both tasting rooms by 2009. In 2010 and 2011, Chris  spent time in Napa learning the different growing conditions and styles of that acclaimed region  before returning to his home of Sonoma in 2012. His next venture led him to famed Moon  Mountain Vineyard where he was part of the leadership team that launched Repris Wines,  Pangloss Cellars and Texture Wines. Ultimately, his personal life led him to Oregon where he  rejoined Jackson Family Wines managing day to day operations for Gran Moraine, Zena Crown  and later the WillaKenzie tasting room until 2020. Every winery Chris worked with has seen  significant growth in sales and increases in guest and team engagement.

In addition to vineyard management services, the VTVS team also develops new vineyards with  organic practices from day one until fruit production in many instances. There is a strong focus  on sustainability with a focus on integrating oak savannah preservation into vineyard systems,  biological diversity, livestock, permaculture and other practices.

Vitis Terra is excited to continue to play a key role in Oregon’s success as a premium  winegrowing region. While tackling challenges in labor shortages and climate change, Vitis  Terra’s number one goal is to deliver the highest quality fruit to the wineries. Drawing upon  Jessica’s Ph.D in Food Science and Technology where she investigated spatial variability in soils  and how it influences vine vigor, fruit and wine phenolic chemistry, Vitis Terra strives to take  vineyard management to the next level by providing more integration between wine growing  and the resulting wines. This includes developing specific vineyard practices for sparkling wine  and varieties such as Pinot noir, Chardonnay, Riesling, Gamay noir and other varieties. 

Chris will contribute to fruit quality goals and greater client services from his knowledge of the  Oregon wine industry. Another new hire, Emily Wolff, will join the team in a Viticulture role.  She has an Associate in Applied Science in Enology and Viticulture Walla Walla Community  College and most recently worked for Joel Gott Wines as an Enologist. VTVS is looking for a  vineyard development coordinator to complete the team. 

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