The Newport Seafood and Wine Festival is in just a couple short weeks (February 25-28) and we just received word that River's Edge 2012 Black Oak Vineyard Pinot Noir was selected as the Joseph H. Swafford Best of Show! As a tribute to that accomplishment, I wanted to showcase River's Edge and their story :
In 1972 Ken Thomason planted two vineyards in the hills of Elkton, Oregon. When my father moved to Elkton in the late 1970's, he was interested in buying land and farming, though he was unsure what he would grow. Ken encouraged and coached John through the planting of Bradley Vineyards in 1983. For years, the two worked together to sell their fruit to winemakers throughout the state.
In the late 1990's, Mike and Yvonne (Vonnie) Landt, looking to relocate to the Northwest and begin making wine, stumbled upon some vineyards for sale in Elkton, Oregon. They purchased Thomason's two vineyards (Elkton Vineyard and Black Oak Vineyard) and built a winery on the west-end of Elkton. Previously, they had been biochemists at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. Both had grown up in the Pacific Northwest, and were anxious to return. However it took them a few years to fully transition, and during that period they lived in St. Louis, traveling to Elkton several times throughout the year.
During that transition, Dad managed their vineyards for them and coached them in the ways of vineyard management. When a small amount of Bradley Pinot Noir fruit didn't sell in 2001, Mike helped Dad get his start in the science of winemaking. The two worked in partnership until John's untimely passing in January, 2014.
Shortly after Dad's death, I returned to Elkton to help with the vineyard and winery. Mike and Vonnie hired me as their assistant winemaker and it's now I who gets to learn from them and continue the partnership.
Isn't that cool? I really feel like I'm a part of a special little story in the history of Oregon wine.
So now you have to plan your trip to Elkton to visit River's Edge and all the phenomenal Elkton wineries! Or at the very least, get some tickets to the Newport Festival and swing by for a taste.
Hope to see you there!