Background

Our Story

The story of Chehalem is rooted in a deep and abiding reverence for the land. From the vineyards we nurture and harvest to the wine we blend and age – we handle every step with respect to our fruit and an unwavering standard of sustainable practices. We consider ourselves a vineyard winery. We aim to reflect what the vineyard has produced, purely, with minimal processing and without compromising great fruit.

Background

SUSTAINABILITY

From the conscientious vineyard farming to the materials used in our wine shippers, sustainability is at the core of our business practices. We are, first and foremost, stewards of the land and consider the impact of every layer of the winemaking process. We invite you to learn more about our sustainability practices and values…

Background

AT A GLANCE

First Vineyard
Planted 1980

Winery Founded
1990

First Release
1990 Ridgecrest Pinot Noir

Owners
Harry Peterson-Nedry & Bill Stoller

Winemakers
Wynne Peterson-Nedry (head winemaker) & Katie Santora (associate winemaker)

 Estate Vineyards
Ridgecrest, Corral Creek, Stoller

Locations
Winery – East of Downtown Newberg | Tasting Room – Downtown Newberg

Production in 2016
15,133 Cases

OUR HISTORY

Founder, Harry Peterson-Nedry, pioneered grape growing in the prestigious soils of Ribbon Ridge in the early 1980s when he purchased land and planted Ridgecrest Vineyards.

In 1990, Chehalem Winery was founded and released its first bottle of wine, Ridgecrest Pinot Noir.

Bill Stoller joined Harry in the winery operation in 1993 and subsequently planted a vineyard on his family farmlands at the southern tip of the Dundee Hills.

Chehalem purchased Corral Creek, the vineyard surrounding the winery, in 1995. It became the third estate vineyard sourced for Chehalem wines.

With second-generation winemaker, Wynne Peterson-Nedry, at the of helm production, Chehalem now sources fruit from the three distinctive sites, located in three different Willamette Valley AVAs.


OUR PHILOSOPHY & STYLE

Our objective at Chehalem has always been to lead, rather than to follow, the industry norms or market trends. We look for deftness and elegance in Pinot Noirs at a time when black, opaque, extracted and heavily-wooded wines are the norm. We crop-thin Pinot Gris as aggressively as we do Pinot Noir, seeking optimal ripeness before harvesting. At a time when Riesling is being pulled out, Chehalem plants prime acres of this variety. We’re convinced it sensitively reflects site and climate for white wine, as Pinot Noir does for red.

Our style of winemaking demonstrates an understanding of the soil and the climate in the region. Our cool climate varieties yield complex, structured and intensely fruited wines.

IN THE VINEYARD

Ridgecrest, Corral Creek, and Stoller vineyards are Low Input Viticulture and Enology (LIVE) certified and part of the Oregon Certified Sustainable program. We do not use herbicide at Ridgecrest or Corral Creek Vineyards, instead controlling weeds by hand and mechanization. The estate vineyards are Salmon Safe certified (part of the LIVE umbrella), and Wind Ridge Vineyard is farmed organically. Chehalem employs cultural practices and vine canopy manipulation to minimize disease pressure.

We dry farm whenever possible to reduce the stress on ground water sources. Ridgecrest is completely dry farmed, Wind Ridge is transitioning from drip to dry farming, and Corral Creek is 60-percent dry farmed and has not been irrigated at all in the past several years.

We prioritize soil stability, soil structural health, and bio-diversity within the vineyard by sowing diverse cover crops every fall and encouraging diverse native plants in hedges and vineyard edges.

A large percentage (more than 20-percent for Ridgecrest and Wind Ridge) of our vineyard property is reserved as an eco-zone to provide habitat for native plants and animals and minimize the effects of vineyard encroachment.


IN THE COMMUNITY

We believe every business has a responsibility to its employees, the local community and its products. Chehalem employs a core crew of skilled people and pays them a meaningful living wage, contributing to a sustainable community.

Chehalem is a proud supporter of ¡SALUD!, a Pinot Noir auction supporting a unique non-profit collaboration between wineries and healthcare professionals. For over 25 years, ¡SALUD! has raised money to provide access to healthcare services for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families. Each year, Chehalem creates a special Pinot Noir Cuvée for the annual ¡SALUD! Auction.

Equally well-known for red and white wine quality, we carry a passion and focus for cool climate varieties that reflect both site and climate in complex, structured and intensely fruited wines.

Our philosophy and style do not always follow the industry norms or market trends. That we look for deftness and elegance in Pinot noirs at a time when black, opaque, extracted and heavily wooded wines are the norm, speaks to this sense. That we crop-thin Pinot gris as aggressively as Pinot noir and look for optimal ripeness such that it is harvested after Pinot noir indicates an almost obsessive attention to detail. At a time when Riesling is being pulled out, Chehalem counter intuitively plants prime acres to this variety, convinced it as sensitively reflects site and climate for white wine as Pinot noir does for red.

Call us crazy, but we think our objective is not to follow today’s trends, but is to lead to a novel future that is stimulating, exciting and beautiful—such as it must have been generations ago for the Calapooia, overlooking the “valley of flowers.”