I was first introduced to Vincent Wine Company via AJ’s Happy Hour in August of 2020. AJ’s Happy Hour started as a weekly (and now monthly) Zoom call last year by my friend AJ at Oregon Vino Country. This was a venue for a group of winos to stay connected and enjoy Oregon wine together when we couldn’t visit tasting rooms. We’d have a different topic for each happy hour, usually a particular varietal, region, or winery. Vincent Fritzsche of Vincent Wine Company joined us so we could all learn a bit about his wines. Most of us were fortunate enough to snag a bottle to open on the call and Vincent walked us the details of each of the bottles.
Vincent Wine Company is one of those that you probably will never hear of, unless you’re reading this post or know someone who’s very tapped in to the Oregon wine community. I love these little diamonds in the rough – I’m a sucker for small businesses, and small production wine. Vincent has a unique model – to order wine, just send him an email! He posts the list of current releases on his website and you can drop him a line with what you want to order. You can also sign up for the mailing list, where you’ll get an opportunity to preview the upcoming releases twice a year before they are available, and you can pre-order wine from the list at incredible prices. Mailing list subscribers are also able to visit Vincent for an in-person tasting!
Vincent started making wine in 2009 “on the side”, and went full time in 2015. He focuses on site specific, single vineyard wines. Vincent doesn’t have his own vineyard, but is very intentional about where he sources fruit. He works with specific vineyards with sustainable farming practices, often organic or biodynamic. Pinot Noir is very heavily influenced by its terroir and can have so much variation from vineyard to vineyard, even within the same region. The single vineyard wine approach allows one to dive deep and learn how a specific site impacts the wine.
When it comes to winemaking, Vincent takes a minimal intervention approach. I have an appreciation for hands-off winemaking and letting the fruit do it’s own thing. I wrote down this quote by Vincent on the Zoom call about his approach to winemaking, “let the children be who they are”. This gave me a chuckle, and it’s a great way to describe minimal intervention winemaking!
I had the opportunity to meet Vincent in person last month for a tasting with a few of my favorite winos. It was quite a chilly day in Oregon in February, but we managed to pick a day with no rain for an outdoor tasting – it’s amazing what winos will endure for a tasting! Vincent took us through his lineup of current releases and told us all about the different vineyards he sources fruit from, and the winemaking that went into each bottle. Here’s a look at what we tasted:
- 2019 Pinot Blanc from Zenith Vineyard
- 2017 Chardonnay from Brickhouse Vineyard
- 2019 Red Pinot Gris
- 2018 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley Tardive from several sites, but mostly Silvershot Vineyard
- 2018 Pinot Noir from Redford-Wetle Vineyard
- 2018 Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir from Armstrong Vineyard
You may be just as surprised as I was about #3 on that list above – a RED Pinot Gris. WHAT?! Pinot Gris is a red grape, but is used to make white wine. Typically the fruit is pressed and only the juice is used to make wine – there is no skin contact, so the wine does not take on any red coloring. Vincent wanted to try something unique, so he made Pinot Gris with skin contact and let the wine ferment with the skins for 3 weeks. This resulted in a really interesting Pinot Gris and a gorgeous copper color. I love being able to taste unique wines like this!
My favorite of this lineup was the 2018 Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir, which was no surprise to me. I have always loved Ribbon Ridge. You may even call it my first love – this was the first area of Oregon Wine Country that I started to explore years ago and it’s still an area I gravitate towards. I brought home a couple bottles of that wine and I can’t wait to open one up (although I should probably wait a few years)!
If you’re looking for an “off the beaten path” Oregon winery to try, Vincent Wine Company is a good bet! Fantastic wines at a very reasonable price point!