Carlton, Oregon. Andrew Rich’s early passion for wine first evolved out of his love for French culture. Later, as an editor for a travel magazine where he also wrote the magazine’s wine column, he enthusiastically immersed himself into the broader wine culture. In 1987, after making the almost inevitable decision to cross-over into winemaking, Rich enrolled in a enology program in Burgundy, France.After the program in Burgundy, Andrew Rich worked at a commercial winery in California before moving on to produce his first wine in 1995. From the beginning as an Oregon winemaker, Rich set out to be different. Recognizing that because of his unique geographic location, he was within close proximity to two distinct grape growing regions: the Willamette Valley for the pinot noir grapes, and the warmer climate Columbia Valley in eastern Washington for access to the merlot, cabernet franc, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah varietals.
Mr. Rich says contracting with different grape growers offers him variety he would not otherwise have, as an example, “It gives me the opportunity to source pinot noir from different growers so we have different soils, different expositions, different clones, different age vines, and that gives me a much broader palette to work with for my pinot blends after the wine has been in barrel for say 14 months.”
Since 2002, Andrew Rich has been producing wine at The Carlton Winemakers Studio, a cooperative space where independent winemakers share access to the specialized equipment, storage, and (mobile) bottling facilities needed to autonomously produce, and bottle their own wines.
For Andrew Rich’s 2010 vintage, there were two main wine categories that he produced:
- Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and smaller quantities of sauvignon blanc
- Columbia Valley Rhone style wines: Roussanne, Syrah, and a blend he calls “Coup d’état”
Rich makes roughly 5000 cases of wine annually.
Visit Yamhill Valley Wines for their “Wines of the Valley” series that features the history, quality and diversity of the Yamhill Valley’s flourishing wine industry. For the introductory video, along with the video series list, check out the first post on CUPS: The Yamhill Valley Wine Region of Oregon