Meet the wineries that are giving rise to Oregon sparkling wine.
By Emily Grosvenor
Ask Argyle winemaker Nate Klostermann about bubbly wines, and you’re bound to catch a twinkle in his eye. “Sparkling wines are so uplifting,” he says. “They’ve got that acid, that effervescence … and they go with damn near anything, and people are starting to realize that now.” Indeed. More than 20 Oregon wineries joined Argyle in selling sparkling wine over the last few years, including top-selling producers R. Stuart & Co., Kramer Vineyards, and Sokol Blosser Winery.
Sparkling rosé aging at Argyle Winery
The production spike reflects both strong consumer demand and heady collaboration among wineries. In 2014, former Argyle winemaker Andrew Davis launched the Radiant Sparkling Wine Company, a mobile sparkling wine business that helps smaller operations overcome logistical feats long associated with making sparkling wine—namely the centuries-old méthode champenoise. The demanding French-born technique requires tirage (adding yeast and sugar to each bottle), riddling (turning the bottles by hand to dislodge yeast cells), and disgorging (removing the dead yeast cells), which takes roughly three years. Davis’s operation helps busy winemakers by tackling these tasks at a central location, making production more feasible.
In 2016, ROCO Winery released its first sparkling vintage, the 2013 RMS Brut. Other options include Soter Vineyards, which has been producing sparkling rosé for several years; and the Umpqua Valley’s Season Cellars, which turns out an off-dry semi-sparkling wine using Müller-Thurgau grapes. St. Josef ’s in Canby produces off-dry, semi-sparkling, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Syrah, while Anne Amie Vineyards in Carlton hosts the annual Bubbles Fest each February, featuring up to a dozen wineries.
In other words, Oregon’s bubbly scene won’t be bursting anytime soon.