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**