In an ever crowded wine world, where brands are created by marketing executives in cubicles, it is always exciting to see, and taste, truly authentic wine. In this increasingly virtual world it is refreshing to see/ taste authenticity.
Left Coast Cellars is not just an estate winery, it is a fully functioning farm. The 150 acres of vineyards are laid out over a 356-acre estate, along with fruit trees, Oregon oaks, vegetable gardens and bee hives. Ducks, chickens along with wilder fowl rove the estate.
From the hilltop tasting room beyond the stretches of vineyards you can see the Eola Hills and to the north the Amity Hills, the Van Duzer gap. It was here in 2003, the founders Susanne and Robert Pfaff laid out a vision for something a little more than a just a winery or family farm, “building a lasting and enduring legacy for generations to come.”
Sustainability is a core value at Left Coast. Certified LIVE and Salmon Safe, ensuring only the best viticultural practices are used in both the vineyards and winery. The winery itself is powered by a solar array and the water for the gravity powered irrigation is generated by the estates own watershed. In addition, Left Coast is a founding member of the Oak Accord, which is a voluntary partnership of private landowners seeking to preserve Oak habitat in the Willamette Valley.
The location at the head of the Van Duzer Corridor, an east-west valley that creates a break in the coast range of mountains that shields most of the Willamette Valley from the Pacific Ocean. The break allows for cool marine breezes and fog to roll into the valley in the morning, preserving freshness and acidity in the grapes. The grapes planted include Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier, Syrah, Viognier and (my favorite) Pinot Blanc.
Viticulturist and GM Luke McCollum has been with winery since 2003 is graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo and work includes stints at Harlan Estate and Meridian. Winemaker Joe Wright came on board in 2011, but has been working in the Willamette Valley since 1996, with stints at Tualatin, Belle Vallee and Willamette Valley Vineyards.
Lead by matriarch Suzanne Larson, the family works the land with loving care and kindness.
When talking about wine, wineries and terroirs, we often speak in terms of generations. It is not uncommon to meet the fifth generation of and French Chateau or the 8th generation of an Italian Villa. Dame Suzanne and her team are building a winery for the generations.