With many years of
experience in the Oregon vineyard and winery industry, and owner of Chehalem
Valley Vineyard, a 40 acre parcel near McMinnville, Oregon where he grew Pinot
Noir, Ron was ready for a new challenge. He and Nancy researched eastern
Washington, southern Oregon, and southern Ohio, and determined that the
unglaciated limestone ridges near the Ohio River had the potential to produce
world-class vinifera. The Oregon vineyard was sold to Tony Soter (Etude, Beacon
Hill). After moving to Ohio, Ron served on the prestigious Viticulture
Consortium at Cornell University, which disperses grant money to grape research
in the Eastern United States. Ron has also been a resource for Northern
Kentucky winegrowers, also located in the Ohio River Valley appellation.
The initial vineyard was
planted in 1999, and a second section in 2001. It includes an experimental
section to test rootstock and scion wood and alternate varieties, and Syrah,
Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Riesling, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, Petit
Verdot and Roussanne.
problems with a local architect precluded building the winery on the vineyard property in time for the
2002 harvest, and a small production facility was built near downtown Ripley for
the second crush. This facility can handle up to 2000 cases of ultra-premium
vinifera. At some future date, we may build a winery on the vineyard property,
and the current facility will become a warehouse for finished wine (or... maybe
like the Hargraves on the North Fork of Long Island, we can just wait
for some Italian millionaire to buy us out, and THEY can build a
new winery on the property!)
Ron grew up in Columbus, Ohio. He moved to Oregon in the mid-70's and soon developed an association with the
fledgling local wine industry. Subsequent to an electrical engineering career in Oregon and
Massachusetts, he worked for Knudsen Erath Winery in the mid-80s, and in 1987
purchased 40+ acres of prime grape ground in
Yamhill, Oregon. On this site, Chehalem Valley
Vineyards, he grew Pinot Noir, Riesling, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc.
The grapes were
sold to several major wineries in the Portland area. Ron returned to his roots in Ohio, where he used
to help his grandfather on a family farm in Columbus. He and Nancy purchased a
126 acre farm with a Gothic Revival farmhouse built in 1880. His goal is to
create high quality wines made exclusively from vinifera. Much of the
vineyard is planted with vines that have been bench-grafted personally by Ron
with high quality rootstock and scion wood. The woods are full of wild
Quote from the movie "A Good Year" with Russell Crowe:
"You know monsieur, I only have a few vintages left. Soon my body will be
defeated by the terroir."
grew up in Staten Island, New York, and had a successful graphic design and
typesetting career in Manhattan. She lived in London for three years, and then moved to
Portland, Oregon. In 1980 she graduated from
UC Santa Cruz, California with a degree in computer science. In 1983, after
working for several small Silicon Valley companies, she joined Sun Microsystems
as a technical support specialist. After 11 years with Sun, she switched gears, and graduated with honors
from the Cordon Bleu Culinary Institute in Portland, Oregon. She worked at the
prestigious University Club in Portland with the extraordinary Chef Willy Madsen,
who used to be the chef for the Danish royal family, before moving to Ohio. Nancy and Ron have
five cats and a porch goose.
Nancy's family name was Dickescheid, and it
turns out there are distant Dickescheid relatives in Germany, who have
vineyards near Bingen.
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Nancy Dickescheid Bentley