BOEDECKER CELLARS STORY
Husband and wife team Stewart and Athena Boedecker created Boedecker Cellars in 2003 and have crafted wines focused on quality, finesse, and locality ever since.
After having lived abroad in Europe for two years, Pacific Northwest natives Stewart and Athena Boedecker returned home to found Boedecker Cellars in Oregon’s revered Willamette Valley. After five years spent honing their craft at the Carlton Winemakers Studio in Carlton, Oregon, they built their winery in the heart of industrial Northwest Portland – just a stone’s throw from downtown and yet just 40 minutes from the vineyards– where they continue to make their acclaimed wines from Oregon’s Willamette Valley. When you visit Boedecker Cellars today you will likely encounter Stewart and Athena in the cellar tasting through barrels and tending their small lot, world-class wines.
Stewart is a lover of the classic Oregon Pinot Noir, aromatically brilliant, full of red fruit flavors, subtle notes of bramble and olive wood, complex
and focused with structure to age indefinitely. His fascination with and passion for Oregon Pinot Noir began when in 1992.
Stewart volunteered in exchange for knowledge at a number of well established Oregon wineries, enrolled in winemaking classes at UC Davis and Chemeketa CC and eventually founded Boedecker Cellars with Athena in 2003.
As the general manager, administrator and “cellar rat” of the Boedecker family, Athena loves to climb the barrels, stir the wines, and drive the forklift. To say winemaking is her passion falls short; winemaking is part of her identity.
Athena always knew the best place to make world-class wine is one hour from where the grapes grow and two minutes from where the city hums. Boedecker Cellars is now, producing more than 6,500 cases of critically acclaimed wines per year.
BOEDECKER CELLARS PHILOSOPHY
Guided by both tradition and science, we use minimal intervention techniques in our winery. Every stage of the process is done by hand, including harvesting, sorting, punching down, and racking. Fermenting with native yeasts lets us highlight the unique qualities of each vineyard, bringing every aspect of terroir into the cellar. We taste, blend and taste some more, age our Pinot noirs for a year and a half in barrel, bottle, and release the wines six months to a year later.
Boedecker Cellars is a community made up of dedicated and hardworking folks. Our winemaking team consists of Stewart, Athena, friends and family. During harvest, everyone comes to help, putting in 12- to 14-hour days in the cellar, sharing in the craft and creation of our wines.
HANDS ON GRAPE SELECTION – PINOT NOIR
Ninety percent of our production is Pinot noir, a grape that will never become a cocktail wine and will never bore neither the winemaker nor the wine drinker. We harvest the grape when it is ready. Sugars vary every year, as do acids and pH; when we taste the right flavors, harvest begins.
The grapes are hand-sorted as soon as they arrive at the winery. The majority are de-stemmed, to be fermented as whole berries, while some (about 20 to 35 percent) are fermented as “whole-cluster” grapes. We make this call after the grapes arrive, basing our decisions on the taste of the stems, grapes, seeds and all the components combined.
Oak is an essential component of fully articulated Pinot noir as well as Chardonnay, Rose, and Pinot blanc. A balance of new and seasoned barrels provides a variety of flavor and texture components. We use only French oak barrels, air-dried and seasoned three years by experienced Burgundy coopers such as
François Frères, Tonnellerie Rousseau, Siruge, Cadus, Damy and Remond. Each cooper adds their own complex characteristics, just like every good winemaker.