Oregon wine country with abbey road farm
Wednesday, June 3, 2020
4PM - 4:45PM
THIS EVENT HAS BEEN POSTPONED
Take a virtual trip to Oregon Wine Country and visit Abbey Road Farm in Carlton, where Director of Winemaking, James Rahn, and Associate Winemaker, Luke Wylde, are crafting curious elixirs for Abbey Road Farm Wines as well as those of their reserve label, Wilkens Family Wines. They'll chat about what's new in wine country, what they're doing to create a safe environment for guests and what might be ahead for Oregon's wine industry.
HEAD OF WINEMAKING, ABBEY ROAD FARM WINES
James began his career in earnest at Café Campagne in Seattle. Under the patient guidance of Sommelier Shawn Mead, James began his long quest to understand wine. Upon moving home to Chicago he quickly resumed his studies as General Manager of Chicago favorite Café Matou. For six years he honed his craft as a new Sommelier. In the spring of 2010 Stephanie Izard was about to open Girl & the Goat and asked James to come on board as Wine Director – and of course James accepted. Unexpectedly it was James’ first minor fray into winemaking as he partnered with Saviah Cellars in Walla Walla to create the house blend for Girl & the Goat.
It did not take long for James’ desire to make wine to take hold of him and after another year he found himself on the way to Portland to gain employment at Ponzi Cellars in the Willamette Valley. Under the close tutelage of Luisa Ponzi and her associate winemaker JP Pierce, James learned the beginnings of winemaking. In 2013 James sought to purchase 500 pounds of Riesling from Brooks Vineyard to further his education. What was expected to be a very small learning exercise and quarter ton of Riesling quickly became 2 ½ tons of fruit and James Rahn Wine Company was started.
Since then James has focused on producing small lots of site-specific wines that include Gamay, Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier, Pinot Gris, and two sites of Riesling. For James – joining Abbey Road Farm to create a new winery is a dream come true. He oversees all winemaking operations which will include wines for Abbey Road Farm, Wilkens Family, James Rahn Wine Co, as well as co-op and custom crush operations. In addition, with the help of Stirling Fox James, he will oversee vineyard operations.
Luke's career in winemaking has taken him all over the world. He has worked vintages in New Zealand, Australia, a couple in Germany, and he even worked as a harvest chef in Burgundy just so he could sort and briefly work with some Grand Cru Clos de Vougeot and other esteemed vineyards. After all that traveling, Luke wanted to move to Oregon's Willamette Valley to pursue a domestic job in a cellar as the weather and cooler climate appealed to his desire for wines with lower alcohols and natural acidity.
It was during a two-year stint at Anne Amie Vineyards that Luke met his business partner, Meredith Bell and in 2014 the two created Statera Cellars, Oregon's first all Chardonnay winery. Being part of the Abbey Road Farm family is a thrill for Luke as he has always wanted to end up working at a winery with an estate vineyard that wasn't primarily focused on Pinot Noir production. If you are at the farm, look for Luke in the vineyard, climbing around the barrel room, or offering curated tastings for VIPs, always with his dog Hatchet in tow.