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Kathy Sullivan

AdelsheimSummary: Visitors to Adelsheim winery in Willamette Valley will discover a striking winery that has a long history in Oregon. David Adelsheim is considered one of the eminent wine and vineyard pioneers in Oregon.

Wine travelers visiting Adelsheim winery will find themselves visiting a winery with a unique architecture and a dedicated history. The front doors of the winery and tasting room are below a tall cylinder-style tower. We were quickly greeted upon entering. In the tasting room, the tasting counter, created of honey-toned wood, lends a sense of formality to the visit.

AdelsheimEnthusiastic wine lovers will discover Adelsheim wines in the tasting room that are not generally available in restaurants or retail shops. The available wines are single vineyard wines. Since the production of the single vineyard wines is smaller, it is necessary for the wines to be sold onsite. In the early years of the winery, Adelsheim named the Reserve Pinot Noir for their daughter, Elizabeth. The Reserve Chardonnay was named for the daughter of a friend.

Visitors to the winery tasting room will enjoy wines in a modern tasting room with a long tasting counter. Nearby, a dining room is for formal and informal meetings and events. Private tastings with food are also held in the dining room. The formal wood table and chairs in the center of the room provide a warm welcome. On one side wall, a large fireplace adds to the ambiance of the room.

AdelsheimDavid Adelsheim, an enthusiastic, well-known winemaker in Willamette Valley, purchased his first vineyard property in 1971.The current property, where the winery is now located, was purchased in 1988. Today, Adelsheim is one of the top wineries in the region. David is considered “one of the founding fathers” of the Oregon wine industry. However, even with an early start in the Willamette Valley, Oregon needed to find a market for its wines.

David’s interest in wine in Oregon dates back to about 1968. “It seemed like a great thing to do.” With a slight smile on his face, David continued “to irritate your parents.” Since then Adelsheim has been, “Watching Oregon go from non existent to a place known for wine.”

Adelsheim recognizes the people who help in the winery, noting that women have done well in the Oregon wine industry.

David’s focus is on the vineyard including the varietal grapes that should be planted in the vineyard blocks and how the wines are made. He wants the person who opens that wine in Shanghai or London to have a big smile.

Adelsheim Vineyards

AdelsheimThe vineyards consist of 192 acres. All vines are hand pruned. Most of the estate vineyards are in the Chehalem Mountain AVA.

David brought an Alsace variety to the United States and planted them on a north slope at 600 feet. The grape was Auxerrois. According to the bottle label, “Auxerrois (oak-sair-wah) is a little-known grape variety (a cross between Pinot Noir and Gouais Blanc) which we helped bring from Alsace in 1977. Our 2.3 acre planting is at our Ribbon Springs Vineyard in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. With its balance of acid and fruitiness, this wine has body and length on the palate, yet a lively finish.”

Other grape varieties in the vineyards include: Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Syrah and Pinot Noir. The focus of the winery is Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.


Adelsheim produces 40,000 cases of wine. The winery, with several manmade barrel caves, has 1,500 oak barrels. In addition to the traditional 750 ml bottles of wine, Adelsheim also produces many large format bottles. David signs these bottles. Most people purchase the large format bottles for gifts or to impress others.

The Adelsheim Wines

While at the winery, we heard, “So much of making wine is about the place.”

Auxerrois Ribbon Springs Vineyard is considered a typical white Willamette Valley wine. The 2014 wine had a very light straw yellow color. The aroma was of yellow stone fruit. The taste was of stone fruits and minerals with some hints of citrus. The finish was crisp and fruity. Adelsheim Pinot Gris 2014 was a light straw color. The aroma offered citrus notes. The taste was also of citrus notably grapefruit. The finish was crisp. Chardonnay 2013 was a light straw color. The aroma reminded one of freshly made apple sauce. The taste had notes of apple. The crisp finish had notes of apple and citrus.

Elizabeth’s Reserve 2012 with 13.5% alcohol was produced with 100% Pinot Noir. The wine was a translucent ruby with pink hue color. The wine offered notes of red raspberries. It was medium/full bodied with medium/bold tannins. The finish was crisp and fruit forward.

Three Different Vineyards

Calkins Lane 2012 Pinot Noir was produced with grapes from a single vineyard. The wine had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a translucent ruby with a pink hue color. The aroma was of red and black raspberries. The taste was smooth with red raspberries. Some spice was noted. The wine was medium/full bodied with medium bold tannins. The crisp finish was fruity with spices.

Nicholas Pinot Noir 2012 was a translucent ruby color with a pink hue. The wine was 13.5% alcohol. The wine offered notes of red raspberries and spice. The taste was of luscious raspberries. The wine was medium-bodied with medium tannins. The finish was crisp with fruit yielding to spices.

Temperance Hill Pinot Noir 2012 had 13.5% alcohol. The wine was a translucent dark ruby with a dark pink hue. The aroma was of dark fruits. The taste was of black raspberries with hints of plums. The wine was full-bodied with medium to bold tannins. The finish was crisp and very fruit forward.

Enjoy a visit to Adelsheim winery where you will have the opportunity to taste numerous single vineyard wines that are not available elsewhere.

16800 NE Calkins Ln
Newberg, Oregon 97132

GPS: N45º 20.302’ W123º 03.008’


Article written December 2015

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