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’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

Director of Winemaking & operations

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Graduating with honors from the UC Davis Viticulture and Enology program was just the start for Matt. After completing several harvests in Sonoma County, he journeyed to South Africa, where he swam with Great White sharks off the coast while making wine in Stellenbosch at Warwick Estate. Later he learned Spanish in the BioBio Valley in Chile, while getting to know Chilean winemakers and the wonderful local culture. Matt next came home to the U.S. to work in upstate New York and Hunt County, aspiring to almost freeze to death making ice wine and delicious, crisp dry Rieslings. He then returned to California to a position at Stags Leap Winery in Napa Valley. Before moving to Oregon, he most recently worked at Clos Pegase for a few more years as associate winemaker and made various other Sonoma County brands on the side. Matt had always wanted to come to Oregon and finally made the leap in 2015. He loves producing world class wines at Lemelson Vineyards, honoring our commitment to terroir-driven, minimalist intervention winemaking using organically farmed fruit sourced from our estate vineyards.

When not at the winery, you’ll find Matt hiking or running in the deep green woods and verdant fields of Western Oregon, trying to catch a glimpse of the majestic Mt. Hood in the distance.


Orion LeGuyonne, Associate Winemaker at Lemelson Vineyards

Orion LeGuyonne

Associate Winemaker

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Bio coming soon

Jeff Papa, National Sales Manager at Lemelson Vineyards

Jeff Papa

National Sales Manager

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He started as a bartender in upstate New York — a job he held during the winter months when he wasn’t playing minor league baseball. A blown shoulder ended his baseball
dreams, and in 1988, Jeff took a job as Distributor Sales Representative for Wine Merchants, Ltd., in New York.
He was quickly promoted to District Manager. At the same time, Jeff took every wine class he could, gradually affirming a career in wine was what he wished to pursue. In 1992, he was hired as District Manager by Peerless Wine & Spirits in New York. A few years later, Jeff relocated to Florida, where he joined the team at Premier Beverage Co., a division of The Charmer Sunbelt Group, in 1995. He spent the next 10 years in South Florida, earning successive promotions from Regional Manager to Sales Manager to Wine Division Manager. In 2006, he was named General Sales Manager, responsible for all aspects of the business for Premier’s northern Florida Wine & Spirits house. Jeff enjoyed his role as General Sales Manager, but ultimately he missed selling wine. When Koerner Rombauer called offering him the role of Southeast Sales Manager for Rombauer Vineyards, he didn’t hesitate to accept. He is now looking forward to joining our growing team at Lemelson Vineyards by taking on the role of National Sales Manager.

Rob Schultz

Vineyard Manager

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Rob Schultz, vineyard manager for Lemelson Vineyards, has been growing premium, organic wine grapes for nearly 20 years. After growing up in Iowa, he led an exciting life of mysterious adventure before starting his career by picking grapes in Provence and then winemaking school in Catalonia.  After six years of working at some of the best vineyards in California, he moved to Oregon in 2008 and has been working behind the scenes, growing some of the best grapes in the valley.  Passionate about organic agriculture, when he’s not farming grapes he’s either parenting his children or shepherding his flock of postmodern sheep on their family homestead in the coast range. 


Kate Holmes of Lemelson Vineyards

Kate Holmes

Wine Club Manager

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After stints at several local wineries, Kate joined the Lemelson team in 2014. Born and raised in the Willamette Valley, she has a passion for all things Oregon and can frequently be found wandering the coast, the mountains, and everyplace in between.  Kate thoroughly enjoys working at Lemelson and feels lucky to get to work with such lovely and talented humans.  


Devon Elstun

Tasting Room Manager

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Devon came to Oregon specifically for the wine, moving to the Willamette Valley in the fall of 2018. After a far too brief stint owning and operating a wine bar and retail shop in the Treasure Valley of Idaho, his love for NW wines and especially Pinot noir led him to dive into the production side of the business.

Devon worked with our production team bottling in 2019, in the cellar and with our harvest crew that same year before joining the tasting room team later that fall. Over the next two years, Devon continued to help in our tasting room and worked as a harvest intern for the 2020 and 2021 vintages. Since that time he has expanded his role at the winery and now works with our team managing our direct to consumer sales and winery operations. 

In his spare time he enjoys exploring food, wine and cocktails from around the world and recharging in the stunning National Parks of the west.



Josie Hubbard

Hospitality Manager

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Josie has a passion for agriculture and people alike which led her to earn a dual degree at Oregon State University in agriculture and public health. Her studies earned her a career in the bustling food manufacturing industry. Josie then made the leap into the wine business in the summer of 2019 starting at Lemelson. She has worked her way up learning every aspect of the winery business and now serves as our hospitality manager overseeing the tasting room and our special events. 

When she isn’t working on a project she enjoys exploring our Willamette Valley winery neighbors. She loves spending time with her horse Coco and helping her family on their bucolic farm in the southern Willamette Valley. 


Dennise Kunkel

Accounting Manager

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After decades of working in the corporate world as an Accounting/Office Manager the transition into the wine industry was a welcome change. She enjoys the beauty and peacefulness of our place in the valley. In her time off she enjoys reading, sewing, gardening, camping, and anything outdoors. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with family friends and her furry buddies. 


Reid Martin, Cellar Lead at Lemelson Vineyards

Reid Martin

Cellar Lead

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Reid is originally from Roseburg, OR. He spent over a decade in the Portland restaurant industry before jumping into wine. Living in Oregon his whole life he wanted to experience an Oregon Harvest and took on the opportunity to work with Lemelson in 2021. He has worked in the tasting room and in production. When Reid is not working he enjoys cycling, playing soccer, and watching Arsenal F.C.

Delaney Kizer, Hospitality Associate at Lemelson Vineyards

Delaney Kizer

Hospitality Lead

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A native of the Northern Willamette Valley, Delaney joined our team in the fall of 2022. She first found her passion for the beverage industry through specialty coffee, working at a local artisian café. Delaney has continually advanced her knowledge working in our tasting room and continues to educate herself about the ins and outs of the Willamette Valley wine industry. 

Will Rodeffer, Cellar Worker at Lemelson Vineyards

Will Rodeffer

Cellar Associate

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Originally from Southern New Jersey, Will made his way to the west coast to explore the wine industry beginning as a harvest intern in Napa Valley. Will enjoyed his time in California and years later joined Lemelson for the 2022 harvest season. Now a regular face at the winery Will works in the tasting room but also in our cellar and lab working directly with our winemaking team.

Isidro Hernandez, Vineyard Steward

Isidro Hernandez

Vineyard Steward

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Bio Here

Jose Garcia Soto, Vineyard Steward at Lemelson Vineyards

Jose Garcia Soto

Vineyard Steward

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Bio Here

Hector Manuel Ayala Suarez, Vineyard Steward at Lemelson Vineyards

Hector Manuel Ayala Suarez

Vineyard Steward

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Bio Here

Javier Guevara Luna, Vineyard Steward at Lemelson Vineyards

Javier Guevara Luna

Vineyard Steward

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Bio Here

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