Yes, We Make Clean Wines… And We Always Have
Clean Wine. It’s a phrase you may be hearing around a lot lately and judging by the many questions we get from friends and customers; we know you’re interested to learn more about it. Understandably, you want to know about the wine you drink – where it comes from, how it’s produced, what’s in it and what isn’t.
This post is the first in a series where we’ll separately address each of several topics relating to clean wine.
While celebrities like Cameron Diaz are boasting about their recent (sometimes dubious) discoveries in “clean wine,” we here at R. Stuart – along with most of our colleagues, at least in Oregon’s Willamette Valley – have been making wine in the cleanest way possible for decades. But what does that really mean for you?
Let’s start at the beginning.
Every vineyard we work with, whether we own it, manage it or buy the fruit via our long-term contracts, is sustainably farmed. Our wines are virtually sugar free, and any sugar found is natural and residual from the grapes when they were harvested from the vine, not added. They’re all vegan, gluten-free, low in sulfites, without dangerous additives and relatively low in alcohol. Most importantly, our wines are made with lots of love by real people who care about the environment – any you.
When asked what the term “clean wines” means to him, winemaker and R. Stuart co-owner Rob Stuart says, “it’s taking what nature gives us, the very finest grapes we can access here in the Willamette Valley, and fermenting them with minimal additives or manipulation throughout the winemaking process.”
He adds, “I don’t want to engineer it, rather I see what I do as orchestration. I want to take what’s given to me each year and unfold it, explore the vintage variations and make some damn good wines the best way I know how – I just find that more interesting than the alternative.”
Rob has studied wine and been making it for more than 40 years. He earned his bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute with graduate training in fermentation science from the University of California Davis, spent time working in vineyards and started his winemaking journey in the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, then on to the Yakima Valley of Washington state. Eventually he became the winemaker at Erath Vineyards in the Willamette Valley of Oregon before starting his own adventure at R. Stuart Winery in McMinnville with his wife, Maria.
R. Stuart Winery is fully committed to a healthy winemaking process – for both the people and the land. Yes, our wines are clean, they always have been and always will be. Not in response to a trend, but instead as the foundation of what we do. We’ve never considered doing it otherwise. That’s just good, honest winemaking.