Our Founding

Looking to return to his Burgundian roots, Bernard Lacroute and his wife, Ronni, purchase a 420-acre cattle farm near the town of Yamhill, OR. They name the Estate “WillaKenzie” after the region’s ancient sedimentary soils.

Planting Begins

Laurent Montalieu Winemaker

A young French winemaker stumbles upon WillaKenzie Estate and becomes so enamored with the Estate that he offers to make wine for the owners.

Winery Built

With Laurent onboard, Bernie and Ronni decide to bottle their own wines rather than sell their grapes to other wineries. They commission Ernie Munch to construct a gravity feed winery—one of the region’s first. The winery is completed just in time for WillaKenzie Estate's first vintage.

Tasting Room Opens

Launched in 1996, WillaKenzie Estate's Cellar Club becomes one of the Willamette Valley’s first direct-to-consumer wine programs. One year later, WillaKenzie Estate’s Tasting Room welcomes its first visitors.

Presidential Reception

WillaKenzie Estate’s 1995 Gamay Noir is served at a televised White House gala. Since 1997, WillaKenzie Estate wines have been enjoyed at several State Dinners by esteemed guests including the French President and British First Lady.

First DITV

WillaKenzie Estate’s first "Day in the Vineyard"

Planting Continues

Under the guidance of viticultural experts Guy Chris and Daniel Fey and a stellar crew—many of whom remain with us today—Terres Basses (97), Emery (98), and Triple Black Slopes (99) vineyards are planted.

Jory Hills Expansion

The Lacroutes purchase 95 acres of land in the neighboring Dundee Hills. They name the vineyard "Jory Hills", after the region's unique red, volcanic Jory soils.

Thibaud Mandet Winemaker

Thibaud Mandet becomes WillaKenzie Winemaker

LIVE Member 0001

The northwest's sustainability organization, LIVE, launches its winery certification program. WillaKenzie Estate, a leader in sustainability from day one, becomes the first LIVE Certified Winery.

Solar Powered

Construction is completed on the new tasting room building and large solar array, which currently supplies 50% of WillaKenzie Estate’s electricity needs.

Passing the Baton

Looking to retire, the Lacroutes entrust the WillaKenzie Estate legacy to Jackson Family Wine’s based on the two family’s shared commitment to Oregon, emphasis on quality and land stewardship.

Erik Kramer Winemaker

Erik Kramer joins as Winemaker

Welcome to WillaKenzie Estate.

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