Wine is a staple of the West Coast. From vineyards along the California coast, all the way to the rolling hills in Oregon, dozens of farmers cultivate their own vineyards and produce ample amounts of wine to share with the public. Being passionate about the work they do only add to the flavor that these wines hold, and our guest this week on the PDX Small Business Podcast knows exactly what we’re talking about.
Cramoisi Vineyard Wines in Portland:
Sofia McKay, owner, and operator of the Cramoisi Vineyard is an excellent example of local winemakers doing what they love for a living! This week, Sofia tells us all about how this business got started, how her family works to maintain the vineyard, and the variety of wines they’re serving to the public. Let’s get started!
IN THIS EPISODE YOU WILL LEARN:
- How Sofia McKay started this business with her husband, Brian. After meeting in San Francisco, Sofia and Brian discovered their mutual interest in food and wine. With Brian’s passion from his previous job, they both craved more knowledge about wines, and how they’re created. And, since Brian wanted to be a farmer, their dream only expanded into what they have today!
- Sofia also tells us how they settled on the land they have. They’d been researching about where the best wines from Oregon originate from, and easily they settled in the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley. After moving to the states from Canada in 2011, they found a clean plot of land to start planting on in 2012. Six years later, they’ve found success, and have 6 acres of pinot noir planted, as well as 1 acre of Chardonnay.
- Sofia explains to us the process of planting, and farming the land. Usually, it takes about 3 – 4 years before you have your first real harvest! That’s right—you have to wait until you get quality produce. Then, once you’ve produced this harvest, the grapes are sent to the winery. Once the wine is made, it must be kept in the barrel for an additional 12 – 18 months! For the pinot noir they produce, it takes 5 – 6 years. Additionally, once it’s in the bottle, you have to wait another 6 months before opening it. With this process, Sofia wants people to understand the history and the experience that goes into making a single bottle of wine.
- Sofia tells us that, 3 years ago, they planted their 1 acre of Chardonnay. With their 5 acres of pinot noir, however, that’s where they mainly focus their efforts. This year, they’ve produced 25 cases of Chardonnay, and—additionally—this year was the first time they’ve released a rosé!
- Sofia explains that they started this business purely for the passion they have for wine. You don’t make revenue right away in this industry, anyways—it takes about 10 – 12 years before you start seeing revenue. Sofia explains that what she does, and what their vineyard is about, is based on a foundation of passion and love for what they do. Neither Sofia or Brian come from families that previously owned a vineyard, nor do they have experience in this field. They started this business with their own money from previous (and current) jobs in the software field, and continue to pursue their vineyard based on the passion for what they’re creating. In Sofia’s words, they’re taking it little by little—their wines are mostly available on the vineyard, as well as a few local restaurants, and Red Hills Market. The goal is to make phenomenal wines they can drink, and share.
- Lastly, Sofia explains the important process of designing a label for the bottles! It took them 2 – 3 years to pick out the perfect name for their winery—making sure that no one else is using what you’ve created worldwide can take some time—and once they got their name trademarked, finding the perfect person to collaborate with was a challenge. Thankfully, their answer came with Courtney Cunningham, who produced labels for them in just 6 months! We can all agree that her hard work paid off.
LINKS MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Did Sofia not get to answer a burning question on your mind? No problem! You can get ahold of her through the social media listed above, as well as through her e-mail address. She encourages, however, that you set up an appointment and visit her on the vineyard itself. It’s so easy to tell that Sofia’s passion for what she does runs deep, and her hard work is clearly reflected in the success of her business, and the taste, too!