The Wine: Gewurztraminer 2020
Open Face Gewurztraminer is a white natural wine made from 100% Gewurztraminer grapes farmed sustainably in Oregon. Spontaneous fermentation with native yeast, unfiltered, minimal added sulfites at bottling. Medium body white wine with hints of honey and white flower, apricot, and ripe pear.
The Producer: Open Face
The winemaker himself:
"After graduating with a degree from the Culinary Institute of America in New York, I moved back to my home state of California and danced between kitchens and wine cellars until I decided to commit to my love for wine. My partner and I picked up in the spring of 2014 and moved to New Zealand to follow the harvest. After being there for 6 months, my partner had an amazing career opportunity in Los Angeles so we moved back to the States.
I worked in wine shops such as Bar and Garden, and Esters Wine Shop, as well as wine-centric restaurants like Sotto where I had amazing exposure to producers from all over the world who were focusing on minimal-intervention techniques, which was the real shaping of my ethos as a winemaker. After my wife and I found out we were pregnant with our second child, we decided to leave Los Angeles for greener pastures, and to balance each of our passions in Portland, Oregon.
In my first years as a winemaker, I am focusing on sourcing grapes from organic, sustainable vineyards, and working to add and remove as little as possible during its life in the cellar in an effort to create as honest of product as possible. It is a humbling journey that I would love to share with you. Feel free to reach out with any comments, questions, or feedback.
The Region: Willamette Valley
Willamette Valley AVA is located in western Oregon, stretching for about 120 miles south of Portland. The Willamette River runs through the entire region. Willamette Valley is famous primarily for its Pinot Noirs, and it’s become one of the world’s benchmark for this cold-climate grape varietal, in some cases rivaling Burgundy.
The development of viticulture and winemaking in Willamette Valley can be attributed to the curiosity of a handful of University of California Davis students. In the 1960s they explored the area’s potential for viticulture and found that Pinot Noir would have adapted the best, and the rest is history.
In 1979, a Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley took part in the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades, beating several Burgundy Pinot Noirs, which at the time were regarded as the best expression of this fascinating grape varietal. This put Oregon and especially Willamette Valley on the wine world map.
Willamette Valley has been its own AVA since 1984 but in 2002 a movement to differentiate the valley’s terroirs started. As a result, several new sub-AVAs have been established in the past fifteen years: Dundee Hills, McMinnville, Eola-Amity Hills, Yamhill-Carlton District, and Chehalem Mountains and Ribbon Ridge.
The Terroir of Willamette Valley
The climate of Willamette Valley is predominantly maritime with rainy winters and dry summers. Temperature variation between day and night can be substantial. Pinot Noir, a grape varietal that tends to ripen early and favors cool climates, has adapted perfectly to the region.
The characteristic soil formation of Willamette Valley is rich in iron and is called Jory. It can be found pretty much everywhere in the valley and it’s responsible for Willamette’s signature Pinot Noir profile.