Matt Berson started out in 2001 as a wine buyer at an Oregonian restaurant. While still at the restaurant, he started part time work at Ransom, and he re-calls how one night at the restaurant he opened a bottle of Ransom Riesling. He was already a passionate Riesling-head, and was blown away by what could be done with the grape in Oregon. It was the turning point for him in committing to winemaking. And thus he entered his journey-man winemaking phase and worked at such cellars as: Patty Green, Brooks, J Christopher, Escarpment in New Zealand,…and the cellar that most impacted him- Dr Ernie Loosen in the Mosel.
Matt choses to blend vineyard sources inorder to craft his wines with the vineyards becoming his color palate. While you will see vineyards in the famed Eola Hills and Yamhill region, you will also see that he is thinking and sourcing outside the box to make sure he’s getting the best quality fruit at prices that make sense (which immediately translates into prices that make sense for us).
Barnes Vineyard in the Cascade Foothills
Brooks Vineyard in the Eola Hills
Temperance Hill Vineyard in the Eola Hills
Sunset View Vineyard in the Eola Hills
Ana Vineyard in the Dundee Hills
Winters Hill Vineyard in the Dundee Hills
Saikkonen Vineyard in Ribbon Ridge
Cherry Grove Vineyard in Gaston
Vitae Springs Vineyard in Salem
Roncali Vineyard in the Eugene Coasthill Foothills
Sunnyside Vineyard in Monroe
Cuddihy Vineyard in Yamhill
Matt comes to wine from a very pragmatic point of view. He is a wine lover, for sure. But he was also a wine buyer. In talking with him, it became clear that he loves Pinot because he’s good at making it, it’s what Oregon does, and he knows he can do it well, and he can deliver a great value in his Willammette Valley Pinot to the people. But, Riesling and old vines are where its at from him. His whole excitement level jumps a beat up when these two topics come around.
Matt strives to work naturally, with with wild yeasts and low sulphur usage. With Fancy Pants and Antsy Pants, the production is small enough that he can maintain a hands off approach. With the Willamette Valley cuvees he will work to stay as true to a non-interventionist approach as possible, but he will employee sulphur and neutral yeasts if necessary to make sure the end wines are sound- as they must be at those levels of production and for whet they’re to be used for (by the glass etc..).
Our approach to winemaking is let it do its thing. Everything is processed in small lots. Most of the reds are destemmed though there are whole-cluster ferments in every vintage. The reds don’t see any commercial yeast or other additions except for fermentation nutrients. The handling is gentle. The respect is high. The oak is minimal because I like to taste fruit not wood. The whites are lightly pressed whole-cluster transferred to small primarily stainless steel vessels. The fermentation is low and slow with a combination of commercial and indigenous yeasts. We don’t cut corners, avoiding bad habits which only harm the wine. When the pieces are in balance then the whole will be balanced, too—that’s what we’re striving for in every handcrafted, quality bottle.