Over the first two weeks of January term, the wine cats had the opportunity to meet several winemakers with connections to Burgundy. These meetings prepared us for our current adventures in Beaune, Framce.
Our first meeting was with David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyards. He gave us a short history of not only his vineyard and winery, but of his role in fostering relationships between Burgundy and Oregon. In 1974, Adelsheim studied at the Lycée Viticole in Beaune. He described learning that there aren't any secrets to great Burgundian wine—the place is it's own secret. The other great secret of both Oregon and Burgundy, he told us, is the idealism and the communal sharing that both regions embrace. In most other ways, Burgundy and Oregon are very different, from the soil to the parallels they rest on to the amount of government oversight.
At Evening Land Vineyards, we met with winemaker Ian Burch. Burch gave us a tour of their famous Seven Springs vineyard, nestled in the Eola-Amity Hills. Evening Land is unique in that it is comprised of three major vineyards, one each in Oregon, Sonoma, and the Côte D'Or. Seven Springs, however, produces incredible wines. Their La Source Chardonnay and La Source Pinot Noir were delicious when we tasted them. Additionally, Evening Land has several advisors who are big names in the wine industry worldwide. One is Dominique Lafon, who manages Domaines des Comtes-Lafon in Burgundy. We will meet Lafon during our time in France. The other is Rajat Parr, a well known Master Sommelier.
Our final two meetings were with David Millman of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Whitney Schubert of Polaner Selections. Both presented on the soil, climate, and organization of winemaking in Burgundy. Millman's work with one of the most well-known Burgundian estates gave a lot of insight into what working for a French company might look like. Schubert works on a different side of the industry, as she manages the French brands imported by Polaner. We are all looking forward to meeting with Robert Drouhin and meeting up with Whitney in a few short days.
Overall, our time in Oregon has prepared us well for our current adventure in Burgundy. Knowing the history, soil, and a bit of culture will serve us well as we explore the Côte D'Or.