Bill Blosser

Founder and Chairman, Sokol Blosser Winery

An urban planner and community advocate with a heart of gold, Bill was an instrumental part of shaping Oregon’s robust wine country. He was one of the first pioneers to earmark the land for agricultural use in the 70’s, helping preserve thousands of acres of land for winemaking. An active participant in the founding of the Oregon Winegrowers Association, Bill would go on to pave the way for what would eventually become a $3.35 billion dollar industry, serving on the Oregon Wine Board, the Yamhill County Wineries Association and the International Pinot Noir Festival.

His love of the land and desire to preserve it led to the creation of Sokol Blosser, an Oregon-based winery known for its green sustainability practices. Bill’s our favorite sustainability champion, a true friend of the earth who isn’t afraid to set out where no man’s been before. He defined the Oregon Pinot Noir varietal among the best outside of Burgundy. If you’ve ever stopped to savor a glass—rife with powerful berry notes, bright bursts of acidity and a soft tannin profile—you already know Bill Blosser.

Why We Love Bill Blosser

Bill is one of the original godfathers 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.”

6 Questions with Bill Blosser

  1. What brought you to Oregon?

    I grew up in the Bay Area, in California. My mother was from Seattle and all my cousins and father’s sister were here in Portland. We spent a lot of vacations here and Oregon has always been my second home.

  2. 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.

  3. You’ve faced a lot of challenges in your conservational efforts. What are some of the biggest obstacles you’ve had to overcome?

    I knew the industry was never going to make it if we 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.

  4. 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.

  5. Sokol is known for their Pinot Noirs. 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.

  6. It’s always happy hour somewhere, right?

    At Sokol Blosser we instituted a rule fairly early on that we don’t get to taste the wines until the business part of the meeting is done. So we could efficiently get the business part done and then we could enjoy just chatting, talking and having a glass of wine.

New Zealand with Bill Blosser

One Departure Only | May 23 - 30, 2019

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