ELDER HALL & NED LUDD

It’s no exaggeration to say that food pretty much changed everything for Michelle Battista. The creative maven behind Elder Hall and Stockpot Collective was deep into her design career when a chance project with line of chef shoes opened the door to a whole new world. “Food was always a magnet for me. When I started working on this line of shoes for culinary professionals, I became immersed in this world of combining food, storytelling, and memorable experiences… and everything changed,” Michelle says of the seismic shift in her life. 

When Michelle met Ned Ludd chef/owner Jason French, their shared sensibilities led them them to expand the restaurant space and create Elder Hall. Jason grew up in a family with an appreciation of wine from the Beaujolais region, but came to his own revelation of Gamay. “There are a number of styles of Gamay Noir I discovered when I sold wine in Boulder, Colorado. As a result I am a huge fan of the varietal since it goes well with foods and on its own. In the summer I enjoy a slight chill and a lighter style, in the winter there are richer deeper styles that really pair beautifully with our winter flavor profiles,” says Jason. 

Jason and Michelle developed a friendship with Tom Monroe and Kate Norris of Division Winemaking Company, who wanted to throw a spotlight on this unsung hero of grape varietals. It was important for all of them to imbue the I Love GaMay celebration with a sense of lighthearted fun, something they felt was lacking in most wine festivals. “We want people who have never tried Gamay to get comfortable with this wine. It’s like throwing a party and getting a education on Gamay through Oregon producers,” Michelle explains about how special it is to have 22 local winemakers be a part of the event.

Jason sums it up this way, “I believe Gamay will continue to plant Oregon firmly on the map of being a region that produces some of the world’s best wines.” Can’t argue with that.

**Thank Michelle Battista and Jason French of Ned Ludd, Elder Hall and Stockpot Collective** 

Division Winemaking Company

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If you needed a partner in crime for discoveries in wine, you probably want Tom Monroe and Kate Norris by your side. The winemakers behind Division Winemaking Co. make a case for Gamay that’s as dynamic as they are, and you’d be smart to listen up.

Tom and Kate began a life devoted to wine in San Francisco over a bottle of Oregon Pinot Noir – naturally – in 2005. Both were formally wine educated in France, where they learned the ins and outs of the lesser known Gamay varietal in the Beaujolais and Loire Valley regions. After a few internships in France, they found themselves drawn to Oregon and the opportunity to make their mark as winemakers. Despite being totally new to the game, they found the landscape welcoming. “We were still neophytes trying to figure things out, but eventually you find your people. We’ve received a lot of support from the wine and restaurant industries and we’ve been able to grow,” explains Tom. 

They launched Division Winemaking Company in 2010, and despite Gamay being a small player of the many varietals grown here in Oregon, it had an outsized place in their hearts.

Kate says the varietal’s accessibility is what makes it such a great wine to have on the table. “It’s like if Pinot Noir and Syrah had a baby. It’s lighthearted and elegant. It has more tannins and is fruitier, a combination of light and dark that really satisfies lots of palates.” The best thing about the versatile Gamay grape is that Tom and Kate say it tastes great at nearly any price point, so many Gamay tastes pretty damn good!

As part of the masterminds behind I Love GaMay, you will definitely want to jump in on their Gamay-enthusiast bandwagon. Come by and enjoy the wines Tom and Kate have produced, along with dozens more Oregon Gamays. Join us at the Tasting Salon or the Gamay Collaborative Dinner for thoughtfully prepared seasonal menus to perfectly compliment our Gamay selections. We’d love to see you at both events!

**Thank you Tom Monroe and Kate Norris of Division Winemaking Company** 

BRICK HOUSE

Welcome to our Gamay Maker Series, where we introduce you to our passionate, infinitely interesting Gamay producers. They were kind enough to share their thoughts on what they love about making Gamay and we are excited to share their stories with you.

There’s no doubt Doug Tunnell of Brick House Vineyards has a deep connection to the Willamette Valley. Doug grew up in West Linn and after living around Europe as a foreign correspondent for CBS News, he returned to his roots with the desire to make the wines he enjoyed in France. He was confident they could be produced right here in Oregon. 

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In 1990, Doug bought Brick House Vineyard in Newberg, with the commitment to go all in on organic farming. He says witnessing the effects of paper mills while growing up in West Linn made him determined to farm chemical-free. He first planted Pinot Noir, and then Gamay grapes in 1992, dreaming of the wines he drank in France’s Beaujolais region. “It made sense that if Pinot Noir does well in the Willamette Valley, then Gamay should do well too,” he explains.

Doug embraced the concept of biodynamic wine-making and along with a dozen fellow early-adopters in the Willamette Valley, hired a teacher to help them understand the concepts and put the holistic approach to farming into practice. His certified organic wines were in demand as soon as he started making them.

Now more than two decades into making Gamay, Doug is still as excited as ever about the finished product. “There’s a lovely natural brightness, a result of acidity, that allows it to be enjoyed with food. It’s the utility linebacker – pizza, spaghetti, fish – it speaks to so many different cuisines.” 

This approachability is what makes us so thrilled to spotlight the Gamay produced by Doug and the many other Oregon winemakers featured at our celebration. Join us for our Gamay Collaborative Dinner or the Tasting Salon. Or come out both nights! That’s how good Gamay can be. See you in May!

**Thank you Doug Tunnell of Brick House**