A Pinot Noir Success Story: Reliable Quality, Excellent Value

WHAT ARE THE odds a small-production Pinot Noir casually launched by pals would grow to be the best-known wine of Oregon and the linchpin of an organization that reported over $43 million in income final yr?

A to Z Wineworks of Newberg, Ore., is now in its nineteenth yr. While A to Z Pinot will not be Oregon’s biggest wine, it’s reliably good yr after yr, fairly priced and extensively accessible. Its success is a testomony to winemaking expertise and enterprise acumen in addition to the enduring friendship between the 2 founding {couples}, Deb and Bill Hatcher and Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill. I’ve adopted their story for the reason that vineyard’s earliest days. It consists of fascinating twists and even an funding by a legendary NBA coach, in addition to useful classes on constructing a model.

Both {couples} had been within the Oregon wine world for years earlier than deciding to co-produce a wine. Mr. Hatcher had been managing director at Domaine Drouhin Oregon; his then-wife Deb (they’ve since amicably divorced) had held varied roles at Eyrie Vineyards and Veritas vineyards. Mr. Tannahill had simply left his place as winemaker at Archery Summit, and Ms. Francis was winemaker at Chehalem Winery.

Both {couples} had been individually contemplating producing a wine after they determined to hitch up. The Hatchers had already bought some Pinot Noir fruit after they bumped into Mr. Tannahill at a tasting at Archery Summit, recalled Mr. Hatcher, at the moment chairman of the board of A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill. The Hatchers talked about their thought of manufacturing a small-production Pinot Noir, and their pals stated they have been pondering of the identical factor. “Deb said ‘Let’s join in,’” stated Mr. Hatcher.

Ms. Hatcher, chief advertising and marketing officer at A to Z Wineworks, recalled it this fashion: “We were tasting through barrels at Archery Summit with Sam in his last days there. I really wanted one in particular, and that’s when Sam said he might want it, as they were thinking of making a blend, too, but a one-off. I thought it was silly to compete with each other, and I suggested we team up.”

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