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Our Story

Established 1999


Lemelson Vineyards began as a dream — a dream to create a winery that celebrates innovation in technology, sustainability in agriculture, and tradition in winemaking. Eric Lemelson started Lemelson Vineyards with the intention of building something that would not only serve our consumers, but also the longevity of the pristine state that he calls home. Utilizing organic farming methods and gravity flow production, we craft estate grown Pinot noir, Pinot gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling from some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.

Since the inaugural release of the 1999 vintage in October 2001, Lemelson Vineyards is dedicated to producing some of the world’s finest Pinot noir. Eric Lemelson fell in love with Pinot noir’s subtle flavors and distinct textures early in the 1990s. He planted his first vineyard in 1995, five years after moving to a Yamhill County farm. Two years later, realizing that he loved the work involved in growing wine grapes, he planted an additional 30 acres of Pinot noir and began planning for construction of a sophisticated, gravity-flow winery.

The winery
Eric Lemelson
The Team

Our Innovative Winery


Lemelson’s technically sophisticated, gravity flow winery was completed in time for the 1999 harvest. The 12,000 case capacity winery was designed with the assistance of noted winemaker Eric Hamacher and Portland architect Larry Ferar. The winery is another example of Lemelson’s commitment to the environment. It was constructed using a high proportion of sustainably harvested building materials, including certified lumber from Collins Lumber, a family owned timber producer based in Oregon, and other sustainably-produced materials, including oak flooring from trees surrounding the winery and vineyards.

The facility features multiple levels to accommodate gentle, gravity-flow processes, which help preserve the unique flavor profiles produced in the vineyards. A one-of- a- kind mobile sorting platform, lovingly referred to as the ” Enterprise”, was constructed by Cornish Enterprises in Napa, CA to assist in efficient, gentle delivery of grapes into fermenters. Standing fourteen feet above the fermentation floor, the “Enterprise” mobile sorting platform can be selectively positioned over stainless steel tanks, allowing for precise sorting of the recently harvested fruit. The stunning temperature-controlled concrete caves are located in the basement of the winery and are home to the Pinot noir during an extended 14-16 months of barrel aging.

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In the winery, innovation combines with centuries-old winemaking knowledge to craft a Pinot noir that is concentrated, elegant, and expressive of the site specific characteristics of the vineyard and the vintage. We believe that using only native yeasts in our Pinot Noirs allow for the purest expression of terroir.

Lemelson owns seven vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley. Maintaining a sense of place and respect for tradition, most of the vineyards are named for the family who originally farmed the acreage. All seven estate vineyards are organically certified and farmed by an in-house vineyard management company to ensure that the quality of our fruit and the integrity of the land goes uncompromised.

Our commitment to the process extends to all facets of the winery life and ensures that all living components—be they land, vine, or human—are well cared for.  It’s our belief that the glass you’re enjoying at home starts before vines were ever planted. The process from planting to drinking must be nurtured at all steps. When you drink our wine, you are not only drinking an elegant expressive Oregon Pinot, you’re taking part in our journey to protect our earth for generations to come and we thank you for that.

Eric Lemelson


Eric Lemelson is a winery owner and President and Founder of the Karuna Foundation, Vice President and Treasurer of the Lemelson Foundation, an environmental lawyer, a climate change and energy policy activist and a builder of beautiful high performance LEED buildings.

Eric Lemelson is an actively engaged citizen of the world. His interests and investments mirror his words we use to describe the winery, “Driven by Values.”

He sits on the board of the Lemelson Foundation, an organization founded by his parents, Jerome Lemelson, the prolific US inventor, and his wife Dorothy Lemelson in the early 1990’s to support and invest in inventions that seek to make a better and more just world through the power of invention.

He also founded the Karuna Foundation. The work of the Karuna Foundation is focused on climate change adaption and mitigation in Bhutan. A country and people he has a deep affection and respect for since he traveled there to hike the Himalayas. He is contributing a LEED certified law library to the campus of the Royal Institute of Law. He is also working with the school to see that all the buildings take advantage of high performance building techniques.

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Eric is a LEED building advocate. His first mixed-use commercial project is One North in Portland OR. Eric’s environmental ethics permeated the project from community input, to the choice of building materials. He used local sustainably harvested lumber from a collective of family owned tree farms in neighboring Washington, rather than trusting FSC wood that could not be traced backed to it’s origins. He added 14,000 sqft of courtyard space for use by the tenants and surrounding neighborhood. By using building techniques that maximized energy efficiency, reducing waste and consumption, One North became a unique commercial project in the city of Portland characterized by inspired architecture that embraced the city’s policy goals of creating walkable, bikeable neighborhoods.

His personal homes also reflect his ethics. The Chestnut Hill vineyard residence is a triple certified high performance building. Again, following a commitment to energy efficient building, the home is a true example of form and function, created in a sustainable manner.

What does all this lead to?

It means Lemelson Vineyards is another example of Eric’s commitment to the environment, to the land and to his community. Eric fell in love with Pinot noir in the early 1990’s and began planting his first vineyards in 1995, soon after he began planning the construction of a sophisticated gravity flow winery which processed it’s first vintage in 1999. An Oregonian since the late 1970’s, his “green” principles are reflected everywhere you look at the winery. All vineyards are organically farmed since inception.

The winery itself was built with the most sustainable practices available at the time of construction. In 2007, a solar photovoltaic system was installed providing over 40% of main buildings energy needs. The winery, it’s innovative design combines centuries old winemaking knowledge with modern techniques. His team is treated with respect on every level, personal and professional.

This allows Lemelson Vineyards to create some of the most expressive Pinot noir in Oregon.

Nature, Tradition, Innovation and Driven by Values. Those are Eric’s founding and guiding principles. The proof is in the product he creates, and Lemelson Vineyards creates beautiful Oregon wine.

The facility features multiple levels to accommodate gentle, gravity-flow processes, which help preserve the unique flavor profiles produced in the vineyards. A one-of- a- kind mobile sorting platform, lovingly referred to as the ” Enterprise”, was constructed by Cornish Enterprises in Napa, CA to assist in efficient, gentle delivery of grapes into fermenters. Standing fourteen feet above the fermentation floor, the “Enterprise” mobile sorting platform can be selectively positioned over stainless steel tanks, allowing for precise sorting of the recently harvested fruit. The stunning temperature-controlled concrete caves are located in the basement of the winery and are home to the Pinot noir during an extended 14-16 months of barrel aging.

“The success of any venture depends on two important elements. One is intention, and then there’s action.  With the right intention, action follows naturally.” -Eric Lemelson

Our Team


Matt Wengel

Winemaker

Ashley Campion

Associate Winemaker

Ben Kaehler

General Manager

Rebecca Oliver

National Sales Manager

Kate Holmes

Wine Club Manager

Josie Harney

Hospitality Manager

Dennise Kunkel

Accounting Manager

Devon Elston

Direct Sales & Operations

Rob Schultz

Vineyard Manager

Ben Orlowski

Cellar Master
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