Home Industry News Releases Clay Wesson Named Head of Viticulture for Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates

Clay Wesson Named Head of Viticulture for Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates

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Wesson brings almost two decades of Biodynamic® vineyard and horticulture experience to the Willamette Valley labels

Portland, Ore. (May 18, 2023) — Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates are thrilled to announce Clay Wesson as the new Head of Viticulture for all estate vineyards. In this new role, Wesson will also manage partnerships with other Willamette Valley growers to source grapes for Ackley Brand’s portfolio of nationally-distributed wines. Wesson’s abundant gardening knowledge and training in organic and Biodynamic principles make him perfectly suited to lead farming at Montinore and Landlines, where all estate vineyards are certified Biodynamic.

Wesson studied horticulture at Auburn University before moving to Oregon in 2007, where he transitioned from native plant nurseries to consulting with vineyards, specifically around Biodynamic farming. In 2017, Wesson continued his education at Oregon State University to become a Master Gardener. He then trained and became an Organic certifier through Oregon Tilth, as well as a Biodynamic certifier with Demeter.

After years of consultancy with vineyards, including Brooks Wine and Mountain Top Vineyard Service, and helping vineyards and wineries achieve organic and Biodynamic certification, Wesson took the position as Viticulturist for Willamette Valley Vineyards. Wesson worked five harvests at Willamette Valley Vineyards. At the time of his departure, he oversaw over 500 acres of producing estate vineyards, and helped support the largest harvest in company history for the 2022 vintage. He was able to promote organic farming practices through their estate vineyards, as well as with grower contracts in the Willamette Valley.

This year, Wesson was presented the 2023 Award for Excellence in Sustainability from LIVE, an award recognizing outstanding work in land stewardship. Wesson was chosen especially for his work reducing invasive species in vineyard sites, as well as his passion for educating and uplifting vineyard workers in implementing their own ideas toward sustainable agriculture. Wesson also serves on the board of the Josephine Porter Institute for Applied Biodynamics based out of Floyd, Virginia.

Wesson carries the Biodynamic legacy of Montinore’s Rudy Marchesi and is excited to build his own vineyard team at Montinore Estate and Landlines Estates. “As a team we’re going to continue to elevate the brand and the wine quality. Rudy built a name for certified Biodynamic farming in the Willamette Valley, and we get to build on that reputation,” said Wesson.

“Certification is not the end game: high quality fruit is the goal. We strive to provide our great winemaking team with the highest quality fruit possible so they can work their magic,” he continued.

Wesson continues to lead by example, still getting his hands dirty and hopefully finding time to drive a tractor. In his new position, he has the ability to incentivise certification by offering more money per ton to growers if a vineyard is LIVE certified or certified organic by Oregon Tilth. Wesson is excited to be able to utilize all his skill sets in his new position, from his horticulture education to his certification understanding and the wisdom from years of experience managing vineyards.

ABOUT MONTINORE ESTATE AND LANDLINES ESTATES

Montinore Estate was established in 1982 and is one of the country’s largest estate wineries producing wine with Biodynamic grapes. Montinore concentrates on Pinot Noir as well as cool climate white varieties and Northern Italian reds like Teroldego and Lagrein sourced from their 200-acre Demeter Certified Biodynamic and CCOF Certified Organic estate vineyard located in north Willamette Valley. Landlines Estates focuses exclusively on bottlings from Tidalstar Vineyard, an organic and certified Biodynamic estate in Yamhill-Carlton AVA planted in 1999. Landlines was founded in 2016 solely to showcase the quality of this special site with small productions of four signature wines: three Pinot Noir and one Chardonnay. For more information visit montinore.com and landlinesestates.com

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