The Traveling Backdrop:
Kate & Griff
Winemakers From Dayton, Oregon.
The Traveling Backdrop travels the world and US taking pictures and portraits of people in their own environment. We highlighted two of the top winemakers in Dayton, Oregon, Kate and Griff. After a nice bottle of wine, a few photos, I feel like we’re old friends. Read below to see how they got into this wine making thing.
What got you in to wine making?
After graduating from undergrad with a science degree, I was working in the Optometry field preparing to go to Optometry school when I stumbled into volunteering with a small winery.
I really enjoyed the mix of science and intuition of the craft and began to research how to make a career change viable. I applied to get a Master’s degree in Oenology at the University of Adelaide in South Australia and when I was accepted my husband and I did not hesitate at the opportunity.
We like to say we received two winemaking educations for the price of one as Griffin worked for a well known winery—Petaluma, while I was going to grad school.
It is easy to passionate about wine because the end product is something that is imbued with so much of your time, energy and emotion. Each harvest is different; perpetuating a very dynamic field that tests the optimism of every person in the this industry.
I think the challenge of a new vintage is what keeps us all coming back.
What makes Oregon unique to wine?
There are many aspects that make Oregon so unique but for us, the reason we love making wine in Oregon is the community and the collaboration.
As I mentioned earlier each harvest is very dynamic and often times challenging, Oregon’s cooler climate is often unpredictable yet produces beautiful quality grapes.
I think I can speak for both Griffin and myself, when I say Oregon, in particular, the Willamette Valley is a special place that despite its growth, the community still embraces one another.
What’s the best bottle of wine you’ve ever tasted?
We have had the great fortune of tasting may wonderful and often rare wines.
I think the atmosphere in which those wines are imbibed add to the experience. Whether it was the time we stayed up to dawn drinking bottle after bottle of small grower Champagne in Epernay, France, to opening a 1986 DRC with some friends on a random Tuesday night to countless other experiences that we still extoll as some of our fondest wine memories…
If you could travel any where in the world to work on a vineyard where would it be?
We both love to travel so I am not sure we can pinpoint one place.
There are so many places where we would like to see how they make wine….from Port production in Porto to making Tokaji in Hungary to checking out Malbec in Argentina. I think we would be keen to get a glimpse into many different places.