About Chris James

Chris James Cellars

Chris James Cellars is a family owned and operated vineyard and winery that produces unique and wines in the Willamette Valley, Carlton, Oregon that produces Big Bold reds in addition to classic Pinot Noirs, Chardonnay etc. from this region, unlike Willamette Valley vineyard which produces over 100K cases per year.  The owners, Beth and Chris, produced their first wines in 2015 and have since grown to offer a wide selection of whites, reds (Pinots and some bold reds) and sparkling wines. Their approach to white wines is to emphasize and preserve the varietal aromatics, flavor and acidity; in red wines they seek to develop intense flavors through harvest decisions and wine-making techniques during fermentation; we focus on mouthfeel and silky texture during maturation.

In 2011 Beth and Chris sought out to find the perfect place to establish a vineyard in Oregon. After a lengthy search, they selected a lot on the western edge of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA in the foothills of the Coastal Range. The site was selected due to its aspects, elevation, and geology. Nearly every aspect is represented on the property and the soils are primarily deep volcanic soils. 

In 2012 the property was cleared to prepare for vineyard planting starting in 2013 with additional every season since. A diverse selection of grape varietals were chosen to produce estate wines that are new and interesting as well as classic to the region. The varietals include Pinot Noir (Pommard, 777, 828, 942 and Wadenswil clones), Sauvignon Blanc, Dolcetto, Lagrein, Gewürztraminer, Gammay Noir, Scheurebe, and Huxelrebe. The blocks are planted on slopes with Eastern, Western and Southern aspects.

In the fall of 2015 the vineyard yielded half a ton of Sauvignon Blanc and approximately two tons of Pinot Noir. 2015 was a unique vintage as it was the hottest year on record for the region and there was a drought emergency declared throughout Oregon. The lack of water, extreme heat, and young vines produced concentrated and intense wines. Please visit Chris James’s site for more selection. 

With one vintage under his belt, Chris designed and built the winery in the Spring and Summer of 2016. The winery was completed in August of 2016 in time for the season’s harvest.  Chris processed over twenty tons of fruit, including Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, Lagrein and Dolcetto. Chris also sources grapes from Walla Walla region in Washington State to make additional bold reds, Barbera and Zinfandel.