Dr. Jack Bagdade
Jack Bagdade, a well known physician/scientist, began his journey in the wine business with the formation of Pike &Western Wine Merchants in Seattle in 1975. His vision soon became to produce world class sparkling wines and by the 90′s founded Domaine Meriwether. To succeed there was two main decisions to make. The first challenge was location. He needed to find the grapes necessary to produce classic Pinot Noir based sparklers. The second challenge was who was going to make the wine. Jack needed a winemaker who had the skills to transform the grapes into a wine worthy of competing on the world stage. He soon found his solutions: the Willamette Valley and winemaker Jean-Louis Denois.
As a sixth generation grower and winemaker from Cumieres just north of Epernay in Champagne, Jean-Louis was a perfect fit for the Domaine Meriwether project. Open to a new challenge, the vision that Dr. Bagdade shared had struck a cord with him. Â After a few meetings in France and numerous trips to Oregon, Jean-Louis led Domaine Meriwether through its first harvest in 1998. The Meriwether style is classic in nature with a commitment to the traditional Methode Champenois practices envision by Dr. Jack Bagdade and executed by Jean-Louis.
Eric and Lorrie Normann
Eric and Lorrie got the wine bug in 1997 when they purchased their 12 acre vineyard from King Estate Winery. Eric’s long term career in the water utility industry afforded Lorrie the ability to pursue her passion for the local wine scene. Starting in 1999, Lorrie began her wine journey at LaVelle Vineyards where, coincidently, a new sparkling brand called Domaine Meriwether was just being produced. Five years later, Lorrie joined forces with Dan Smith and together they created Sweet Cheeks Winery. In addition to his day job, Eric is vineyard maintenance for the couple’s commercial Pinot Gris vineyard located just five miles from the winery. Today, you can find the Normann’s, along with their two sons Bryan and Brett, working to create an exceptional winery experience and continue the tradition of exemplary winemaking.
New Zealand raised Ray Walsh had already been on his wine journey through France and Germany then back home to hone his craft of winemaking. His talent for producing memorable wine made him highly sought after. He was recruited to Oregon in the early 90′s by King Estate Winery. There, he helped established their cellar and winemaking protocols before taking on the role as winemaker. While professionally very rewarding, Ray wanted to return to creating the limited quantity handcrafted wines he was first exposed to. As a friend of Buzz Kawders, it was not long before they both realized the great fit Ray would be to Domaine Meriwether. Having worked with Domaine Meriwether’s original winemaker, Jean-Louis Denois, during one of his stints in Australia the decision was simple. The quality of the Domaine Meriwether sparkling and still wines today is a result of this winemaking and leadership team.
We have big plans for our winery! Keep coming back – we will update you on our progress as we move forward!
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