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The Story of Ribbon Ridge

 

The Ribbon Ridge Vineyard story started in 1978 when Robin Webster and Dewey Kelly purchased 42 acres for a vineyard in what would become the Ribbon Ridge AVA. They were married at the site the same year. Twenty-two years later, they realized their long-held dream and planted nine acres of Pinot noir.  In 2003, they had their first harvest and produced the first Ribbon Ridge Vineyard wines.

Dewey and Robin have been active in the Oregon food and wine industry for nearly 40 years. In 2017, Robin retired from her position as executive chef at the Racquet Club in Portland, a position she had held since 1981. She traded in her commercial kitchen for RRV’s wood-fired oven and parrilla grill and continues her tradition of creating wine-friendly cuisine.

After ten years in the restaurant business in Oregon, as a chef, manager, and consultant, Dewey spent the next twenty-something years in international marketing and product management roles with several small software companies. During that time, he continued to teach cooking classes and publish food and wine-related articles while overseeing the development of the vineyard and property.

Today, we continue to farm the nine acres and produce a limited amount of wine under the Ribbon Ridge Vineyard label. After a few unfortunate run-ins between Dewey, the tractor and the trellis, we now leave vineyard operations to the experts at Results Partners, LLC and focus on wine production and the pairing of our wines with Robin’s culinary treats.

The Vineyard page contains detailed information about the vineyard and our farming practices; the Our Wines page contains descriptions of RRV wines currently available along with information about our wine-making process. Due to our extremely limited production, Ribbon Ridge Vineyard wines are difficult to find. The majority of our production is sold directly to consumers through events, the website or our wine club.

See our journey, from vision to the present day, below.

Our Journey

1978

wedding couple​Dewey and Robin purchase the 42-acre site in the Ribbon Ridge area with the intention of planting a vineyard.  Later that year, in the pouring rain, Robin and Dewey got married at the site,  on the hill we now call the Wedding Block.

2001

aerial vineyard view

After 23 years of nurturing the dream while balancing careers and family, the nine-acre vineyard is finally planted in 2001.

2002

women vine prunersReality check. Working four days a week for three months, Robin and friends prune the 13,000 fledging pinot noir plants in the vineyard.

2002

garagiste winemakerThat same year, Dewey and friends purchase a few tons of grapes, set up a makeshift winery in a friend’s barn and make their first, and only, garage wine. Affectionately referred to as the “doesn’t suck yet” project.

2003

winemaker raking wine tankThird leaf of the vineyard.  Time to make wine.  We secure a  place to make wine at Carlton Winemakers’ Studio.  There, we are very fortunate to have the expert advice of the many experienced and friendly resident winemakers.

2005

grapes heavy on vinesNow in its fifth leaf, the vineyard is in full production. As the vines start penetrating the Ribbon Ridge sandstone, the fruit starts to reveal the characteristics that will distinguish future vintages. Our favorite wines to date.

2006

baby and grapesGranddaughter Haley’s first harvest.  She can barely reach the clusters, but that doesn’t stop her from expressing her delight at the quality of the fruit.

2007

red and white grape clusters in binOur daughter, Melissa gets married and, of course, requests a special wine for the wedding.  We commemorate the occasion with Cuveé M, a field blend of seven white Alsatian varieties.

2008

red wine in glass

The Estate Pinot noir from the stellar 2008 vintage garners our first 93 point rating from Wine Spectator.

 

 

2009

processing harvested grapes
First year making wine in Portland at Boedecker Cellars.  A late frost nearly destroyed our crop but ended up being one of our better years. Our estate received 92 points and our single-clone Pommard 93 points in a year we weren’t sure we’d be able to make any wine. That’s farming in Oregon.

2012

grape harvester dumping bucket of grapes

A stellar year – one of those years when everything aligns in the vineyard and the winery.

2013

vineyard with forest background​The complete opposite of 2012. Remnants of an Asian typhoon washed through Oregon just before harvest. Like prior cool vintages 2007 and 2010, the 2013 was reminiscent of the classic, elegant Pinot Noirs from the 70s and 80s that established Oregon as a world-class region.

2015

pouring crushed grapes into binsWe moved from Boedecker Cellars in Portland to Scott Paul Wines in Carlton, where we had a little more room to spread out. And the timing was perfect. This was a prolific year that allowed us to make four different Pinot Noirs plus a Pinot Noir Rosé. And they all rock.

 

2019

Dewey finally retires from his day job and is able to give Ribbon Ridge Vineyard his full attention. Or at least a greater share of it. We took 42 years to get here but this is what we had in mind all those years ago.

TODAY

And here we are. This stroll down memory lane gives you a taste of the passion and dedication we’ve put into the vineyard and wines. Now you need to taste the results to see for yourself.