I have noticed a trend with my winery visits this year. It is all about checking off wineries on my ever-growing list. I have no idea how long Granville Wine Company has been on my list, but I am thrilled to say I visited and should have done it sooner!
There are two questions I would like you to think about as you read today’s story. The first question is, “What made you finally decide to get your patootski to Granville?” The second question is, “Why didn’t you do more background research on the winemaker and the people before visiting?”
My journey with Granville started when a friend of mine suggested I should go. The wine and the people are spectacular. So I made a note, visited the website, signed up for the newsletter, and followed them on the Gram. Unfortunately, there were so many other wineries at the top of my list that Granville fell into the noise of the other wineries I was also following.
Late last year, I got an email from Granville announcing the release of their Sparkling. If you know my obsession with Sparkling, then you know I immediately took notice. I put their Blanc de Noirs on a list for my 2022 Sparkling Report (still not sure what the report will look like this year) and finally set up an appointment to visit in May, several months later.
I sent an email to make the reservation. I was extremely careless in not reading the details, “Occasionally Google & Apple Maps will take you around the hill down Sunnycrest Road. Do not go to Sunnycrest. Our property is not accessible from Sunnycrest.” I have become so reliant on Siri to direct me where to go. I had the utmost confidence I would get there just fine…..
I wouldn’t be here typing these words right now if I had read the details, and yes, Siri failed me! I am used to driving on gravel roads, driving through the woods, and even feeling unsure about where I am going. According to my directions, I was about 10 minutes early. I felt confident I could still make my 11:00 appointment if I got turned around a little bit.
I saw a sign at an intersection where I could go left or right. There was a sign for Meraviglioso Winery on the right and another road on the left. Siri wanted me to go right, but the winery wasn’t Granville. Siri had to be wrong. I went left. The road wasn’t looking the greatest, there was abandoned construction equipment in the woods, and Siri told me to go the other way. I obeyed like the human servant I am to the almighty and powerful Apple overlords.
This road felt like I could be going in the correct direction, but the little dot on the map for Granville was so wrong! I continued moving forward anyway. There was a sign for a winery this way. There had to be something on top of the hill. I finally saw vines with people working in between the rows. Finally, I saw a parking lot in front of a huge house. There was no way in the whole wide world of sports this was Granville, but I gave it a try anyway, even though it didn’t fit the vibe I received from Granville’s email and social media account.
Walking around the back of the house, I found a sliding glass door, poked my head inside looking for someone, and gently said, “Hello.” Waiting for a response, I saw wine bottles that were Meraviglioso. I got an answer, and we chatted about how lost I was if she knew where Granville was, and oh wow, they also had Sparkling!
Getting back into my car, pulling up the email from Granville with the details I didn’t read, I headed back in the direction I came. Once I got cell service, I tried Siri again but used Granville instead of the address. I got a little closer and used the directions from the email to further assist me. I finally found the right road, Jory Lane, and drove down it, and I didn’t see any signs. I am 20 minutes late by this point, and my confidence is out the window. I turn around and find another close by road. Unfortunately, that wasn’t it either. I went back to Jory Lane and stopped a touring van asking if I was in the correct place. He said, “Yes, it is the last turn-off on the right.” I parked and still wasn’t sure if I should go into the barn or a house that looked like it could be an Airbnb. Luckily, a guy was walking from the barn. I asked him where I should go and followed him to the house.
To be clear, if I had followed the directions in the email, I would not have been late and wouldn’t have been all stressed out. The guy from the barn asked me for my name and directed me to the kitchen, where a setting was waiting for me. As the two of us talked, I quickly realized it was the winemaker for Granville. I love Oregon and adore how everyday people are the winemakers who start talking to you like you are family! In the back of my head, though, I started beating myself up. If I had done a little research, my first impression to Jackson could have been much better. I would have recognized who he was, and I could have greeted him by his first name. I enjoy visiting places for the first time, not knowing much to have that first-time feeling in real-time of the people and story. There is a balance between going in blind and respecting. I still need to work on finding a balance.
Jackson poured the first wine of the day, a 2021 Farmhouse Cuvee Rose. This isn’t your ordinary Rose, with a blend of 80% Chard and 20% Pinot Noir. I am not the biggest Rose fan, but this was spectacular! The story behind the wine was one year, they didn’t have enough Rose, and Chard was already bottled. So Jackson decided to add some Pinot to the Chard for an additional 30 cases of Rose. It turned out to be a hit and has been making it ever since.
Next up was the 2020 Koosah Vineyard Chardonnay. Koosah is located in Eola-Amity near-ish Brooks at 1,100 feet in elevation. Koosah is “ Heavenly Sky” in the native Chinook language. Earlier this year, Resonance announced they bought the Koosah vineyard from Oregon Wine pioneers Kevin and Carla Chambers. Resonance also bought the Resonance vineyard from Kevin and Carla in 2013. I could on, but I will stop. Jackson told me he was chasing acidity and Chablis for the Koosah Chard. I freakin loved it!
The 2017 Blanc de Noirs was the main reason for my visit, and I wasn’t disappointed! I didn’t take many notes about the wine, but I enjoyed it a lot! Jackson told me stories about how Andrew Davis used to throw bottles at his head, and the school bus used to stop in front of Argyle, where he had the choice of homework or the cellar. He often chose the cellar, knowing there were two rules: don’t piss anyone off and don’t break anything.
Sitting there with Jackson was a pure delight. I adore how down-to-earth and genuine he is. But, I also had that feeling again of not respecting the winemaker sitting in front of me. I had no clue of the history behind the stories Jackson was telling me. Why was he going to the Argyle cellar instead of doing homework besides the obvious answer of, “Who wants to do homework?”
My next pour came from Jake in the tasting room while Jackson gave a tour of the winery. As I talked with Jake while tasting the 2018 Farmhouse Cuvee Pinot Noir, he knew who I was and came from Domaine Roy to Granville. We talked about events, other wineries in the Valley, and some general chit-chat. I think it was also at this time when Yvette from Wooden Heart made a brief appearance. I would have said, “Hi,” but when I see people out of context, it takes me way too long to process. The Farmhouse Cuvee was good, but the only note I took was 50% Eola Fruit and 50% Dundee fruit.
The last pour came from Jackson and was the 2019 Louie Pinot Noir. At this point in the tasting, I was sucked into the stories. The Louie came from a block in the vineyard where Jackson made his first wine and holds a special place in his heart. The Pinot Noir in the block was grafted over Pinot Gris, and my mind exploded a bit when he said he uses a Diam 30 cork on the wine. In case you are unaware, the number after Diam is approximately how long the wine can age under cork. Most Diam corks are 5 or 10. So when you see a number past 10, it is fun to take note!
Jackson offered to show me around the winery, but I was approaching a point in time where I needed to go. I didn’t want to be late for two tastings!
Now that I have talked about the visit and the wine, I want to touch on the history quickly. Jackson’s Dad is Allen, and they share the last name of Holstein as in the Holstein vineyard planted in 1972. You may recognize the vineyard-designate from Cody’s Purple Hands project. Cody drove Jackson around wine country in 2013 to talk with him about finding his place and mark in wine country. In 2013, Jackson made his first wine out of a barn that turned out ok, and Granville’s first vintage was in 2014, with 350 cases increasing to around 2,200 cases in 2020. He doesn’t want to grow much more than that because he wants to know customers on a first-name basis.
Earlier I mentioned how down-to-earth Jackson was. When he started selling wine, he would take a few cases downtown Portland for restaurants. His selling tactic was all about being authentic; many years later, those first customers are still in place today. In looking toward the future, Jackson is excited about what Oregon offers in terms of Chardonnay and Sparkling. He currently has the Blanc de Noirs, but a Blanc de Blanc and a Brut Rose are coming!
Jackson’s wife, Ayla, told him to make a good impression because I am a blogger. Ayla, Jackson was out of this world, and I can’t thank you enough for the time! If you haven’t been to Granville, oh my goodness, make a reservation right now! I wish I would have gone sooner, and when you visit, please let Jackson, Ayla, or Jake know, “A.J. sent me!”
“Forgiveness is accepting the apology you will never receive.”