A Pinot Noir Success Story: Reliable Quality, Excellent Value

WHAT ARE THE odds a small-production Pinot Noir casually launched by buddies would turn out to be the best-known wine of Oregon and the linchpin of a company that reported over $43 million in income final year?

A to Z Wineworks of Newberg, Ore., is now in its nineteenth year. While A to Z Pinot will not be Oregon’s biggest wine, it’s reliably good year after year, moderately priced and extensively obtainable. Its success is a testomony to winemaking expertise and business acumen in addition to the enduring friendship between the 2 founding {couples}, Deb and Bill Hatcher and Cheryl Francis and Sam Tannahill. I’ve adopted their story because the vineyard’s earliest days. It contains fascinating twists and even an funding by a legendary NBA coach, in addition to invaluable classes on constructing a model.

Both {couples} had been within the Oregon wine world for years earlier than deciding to co-produce a wine. Mr. Hatcher had been managing director at Domaine Drouhin Oregon; his then-wife Deb (they’ve since amicably divorced) had held varied roles at Eyrie Vineyards and Veritas vineyards. Mr. Tannahill had simply left his position as winemaker at Archery Summit, and Ms. Francis was winemaker at Chehalem Winery.

Both {couples} had been individually contemplating producing a wine once they determined to hitch up. The Hatchers had already bought some Pinot Noir fruit once they bumped into Mr. Tannahill at a tasting at Archery Summit, recalled Mr. Hatcher, presently chairman of the board of A to Z Wineworks and Rex Hill. The Hatchers talked about their concept of manufacturing a small-production Pinot Noir, and their buddies mentioned they had been pondering of the identical factor. “Deb said ‘Let’s join in,’” mentioned Mr. Hatcher.

Ms. Hatcher, chief advertising and marketing officer at A to Z Wineworks, recalled it this manner: “We were tasting through barrels at Archery Summit with Sam in his last days there. I really wanted one in particular, and that’s when Sam said he might want it, as they were thinking of making a blend, too, but a one-off. I thought it was silly to compete with each other, and I suggested we team up.”

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