Why We Love Bill Blosser
Bill is one of the wine pioneers of the Willamette Valley. Thousands of wines have been produced thanks to his efforts, and he just won't stop.
“I didn’t start to be a pioneer. We were just thinking, ‘this is something we love to do, this is something we need to try.’”
“I had always had a desire to do something in agriculture, to grow something...and then we discovered the Willamette Valley would be the ideal place to grow pinot noir in the United States.”
What sets Sokol Blosser apart from other wineries?
A few things. First, we're one of the first wineries that got started in the '70s. Second, we're one of the only that is still owned and operated by the same family that started it—there are only three of us left. We own virtually all our own vineyards for our main wines. All of our vineyards are certified organic, and we use organic practices in our winemaking.
How does your background in urban planning relate to Oregon Wine?
Back in the 70s, David Adelsheim and I saw that if there was any hope for preserving cultural land for vineyards, we needed to influence what happened in that kind of urban plan. We made a system of identifying prime vineyard lands in the Willamette Valley. We created a map of and distributed it to planning departments all over the Valley, and most of them adopted it. So it resulted in the preservation of tens of thousands of acres that were ideal for vineyards.
What do you think led to the success of the wine industry in the valley?
We knew the industry was never going to make it if we all didn’t work together. We were driven by the need to be cooperative and support each other, to share information. Because as a new industry starting out that needed a lot of help, it wasn’t going to work if each person tried to do it by themselves.
How has your experience in Oregon shaped the wine industry?
I thank my lucky stars every day because the people in Oregon were so supportive when we started out. If we didn’t have the markets here we wouldn’t have survived. But Oregon really rallied around us, they kept us going.
What’s your secret to a great Pinot?
We couldn’t just take what they had done in California or Europe and directly apply it, because there are so many differences, so we had to experiment and learn. We adapted a variety of techniques from Germany, France, from California, and tried a number of different things. I think the key has been to find the best vineyards, ripen the grapes to their best flavor, and then handle them as gently as possible in the winery.
How has Sokol Blosser changed as it's transitioned to its next generation?
I think Alex, Alison and Nik have brought in a lot of energy and new ideas and creativity that has made the whole visitors' experience really lively and exciting—and they have improved the wines!
Explore Upcoming Trips with our Tastemakers
Japan with Naomi Pomeroy
Seven days in Japan with award-winning chef Naomi Pomeroy. Immerse yourself in the futuristic world of Tokyo's subways and skyscrapers, tiny ramen shops and tinier speakeasies. Explore ancient traditions in Kyoto, forage for farm-to-table delicacies in Osaka. Naomi's Japan is irresistibly delicious and seriously fun. Join us!
Australia with Gavin Kaysen
Nine days of art, food, culture and hands-on creativity in Australia with chef Gavin Kaysen. We'll hop from Melbourne and Adelaide to the Barossa Valley and Port Lincoln, through sweeping valleys and vineyards, past majestic waterfalls and vibrant city murals—and face-to-face with Australia’s most inspired culinary destinations.
Oaxaca with Traci Des Jardins
Seven days in Oaxaca with two-time James Beard Award-winning chef Traci Des Jardins! We start in Oaxaca City, one of Mexico's colonial masterpieces, then head for the mountains to meet a fourth-generation mezcalero, stand atop Zapotec pyramids, dine with artists in their studios, and kick back in a 300-year-old hacienda. This is Mexico packed with more flavors than you can imagine.