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Inside Emerson Vineyards – A Charming Oregon Family Winery

Emerson-estate vineyard copy

Image courtesy of Emerson Vineyards

“It was my son’s dream and my money,” laughs Tom Emerson, as he describes how he began Emerson Vineyards in 2001. Located 22 miles from Salem in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this small winery is built for two… two families, that is.

That’s a good thing, because owning a winery is no easy task.

What is it like running a small, family winery?

“People have this vision that it’s like living in a chateau. But it’s farming,” says Tom. “You need to touch each plant at least 6 times a year. I’m the face behind the counter, but also the pruner, the welder, the electrician, and the mower.”

Meanwhile, the Emerson’s son Elliott is the winemaker. Working for 8 years at Elk Cove Winery, he simultaneously earned a degree in enology from Oregon State University. “Elliott did all the planting here, “ says his dad. Emerson Vineyards produces just 3,500 annual cases of Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Viognier and Brother Red.

When you visit, you walk into a working winery. “We don’t sell foo-foo items — it’s just corkscrews and wine,” says Tom. “We are off the beaten path, but you get to see everything we do.”

Taste the results in terrific Emerson Vineyards Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, ready now with our Pacific Northwest Wine Club Series.

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