Stephen James Cary, 5/6/46-4/28/18

Stephen Cary, longtime winemaker at Yamhill Valley Vineyards, passed away peacefully on Saturday, April 28, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. He was 71 years old.

Stephen began his wine career selling Burgundy wines for Henny Hinsdale, and then moved on to start his own distributor business, Cary Oregon Wines. He was one of the original coordinators of the Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference, an organization developed to bring together Pinot Noir producers from California and Oregon with the goal of making great Pinot Noir. Conversations were frank, open and constructive, and the conference proved a success. Over the years it has grown to include Pinot Noir producers from all over the world and is now in its 38th year. In 1984, Yamhill Valley Vineyards' 1983 Pinot Noir was presented at the Steamboat Conference, and Cary Oregon Wines began representing the winery in late 1984. 

Stephen was passionate about Pinot Noir, Oregon Pinot Noir in particular, and was frustrated by the perceived lack of respect for the wines in the wider market. He suggested a blind comparative tasting between 1983 vintages from Burgundy, France, and Oregon, U.S.A. This tasting, the Oregon-Burgundy Challenge, was conducted at the International Wine Center in New York City, in September, 1985. The wine judges were asked to identify the origin of each wine and to select their three favorites. As a group, the 25 judges could not correctly identify the origin of at least half of the wines. Oregon wines placed first, second, third and tied for fourth and fifth, with Yamhill Valley Vineyards placing first. This event, and a second competition repeating the first event two years later, in which Oregon again placed first, second and tied for third, helped Oregon wines earn respect globally. 

In 1991, Stephen began as winemaker at Yamhill Valley Vineyards, a position that he held until 2016. Over his thirty three years as an associate of the winery, he dedicated his time to listening to the vines, and crafting distinctive wines which reflected the terroir and voice of the vineyards, in what he considered a very special place. During his retirement, as he took on the role of winemaker emeritus, he continued to assist and advise the winemaking team; in 2017, his last harvest, he was in his regular position on the forklift, coordinating the arrival of the fruit on the crush pad, clearly energized by being part of another vintage.

 

Stephen’s fierce advocacy of Pinot Noir serves to support and sustain us all. We feel privileged to have known him, and to have benefited from his encyclopedic knowledge of winemaking, of history, geography, geology, photography, the art of fly tying and how to tell a dirty joke. He was a true giant in the industry. By standing on the shoulders of this giant, and following our passion for wine, and for life, we can honor the man, and his legacy.

Upcoming Events

YVV @ Rosmarino in Newberg

Nov 22, 2019

Join Winemaker, Ariel Eberle, for a Winemaker Dinner at the incredibly delectable Rosmarino in Newberg! Dinner starts at 7pm and will include a 5 course meal of Italian dishes prepared by Dario and his ... read  more

Join Winemaker, Ariel Eberle, for a Winemaker Dinner at the incredibly delectable Rosmarino in Newberg! Dinner starts at 7pm and will include a 5 course meal of Italian dishes prepared by Dario and his staff at Rosmarino. Each dish will be paired with one of Yamhill Valley Vineyard's estate grown wines.   Menu: Z u p p aV e l l u t a t a   d i  Z u c c a( V e l v e t y   r o ...

Library Magnum Special & New Release Week End

Nov 23, 2019 - Nov 24, 2019

Oh my lucky stars, do we have something special for you! We encountered a true gem in our warehouse and are bringing it out for a pre-Thanksgiving weekend treat. 2012 Tall Poppy Pinot Noir MAGNUMS, baby!This ... read  more

Oh my lucky stars, do we have something special for you! We encountered a true gem in our warehouse and are bringing it out for a pre-Thanksgiving weekend treat. 2012 Tall Poppy Pinot Noir MAGNUMS, baby!This vintage is hands-down one of the best in Willamette Valley history. We were in near tears to see the last bottles leave the winery when we sold out a few years ago... but lo and behold... Magnums ...

Wine Country Thanksgiving

Nov 29, 2019 - Dec 1, 2019

Gobble gobble! Trot your way through the McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend to sip, explore, and be entered to win the ultimate McMinnville AVA prize package!Participating Tasting Rooms:Yamhill Valley VineyardsYoungberg ... read  more

Gobble gobble! Trot your way through the McMinnville AVA Passport Weekend to sip, explore, and be entered to win the ultimate McMinnville AVA prize package!Participating Tasting Rooms:Yamhill Valley VineyardsYoungberg HillCoeur de Terre VineyardColeman VineyardsMaysara Winery & Momtazi VineyardsJ Wrigley VineyardsBrittan Vineyards - Granary District Tasting RoomWinderlea Vineyard & Winery - ...

YVV at 3rd on 3rd - The Barberry

Dec 20, 2019

Join Yamhill Valley Vineyards at The Barberry!$10 per personCheck in at McMenamins Hotel Oregon to pick up your 5 taste tickets, a commemorative glass, a wine bag, and a map of the event. Then ... read  more

Join Yamhill Valley Vineyards at The Barberry!$10 per personCheck in at McMenamins Hotel Oregon to pick up your 5 taste tickets, a commemorative glass, a wine bag, and a map of the event. Then head off on a self-guided tour so stroll, sip, explore and enjoy Historic Downtown McMinnville at your own pace.Cheers!

Closed for Winter Break

Dec 24, 2019 - Jan 1, 2020

We will be closed from December 24th - January 1st.  Please make sure to order all of your Christmas presents for your favorite wine lovers before then!  We will re-open with Winter Hours: Thursday, ... read  more

We will be closed from December 24th - January 1st.  Please make sure to order all of your Christmas presents for your favorite wine lovers before then! 

We will re-open with Winter Hours: Thursday, Jan 1st.

Winter Hours: Thurs - Mon, 11am - 4pm

Happy Holidays from all of us at YVV!

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