Hands holding crushed grapes.

WINEGROWING

As winegrowers, we are limited by the quality of the raw materials we have and WillaKenzie Estate is capable of producing astounding wines. - Erik Kramer

We strive to understand our estate down to the level of each individual block so that we can craft wines which capture the distinctive qualities of the soil, slope and plant from which they come. Small-lot fermentations, along with gentle handling of the grapes via our gravity flow winery and gentle punch down process enable minimal disruption to the expression of the grape.

Erik Kramer, Winemaker

Erik’s path to WillaKenzie Estate began with a deep, personal vision to craft some of Oregon’s best and most exciting Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays.

A scientist by training, Erik worked as a hydrogeologist in the petrochemical industry before realizing he could apply his precision and passion for balance to a subject he was more personally enthusiastic about: wine.

Erik began his career in the wine industry twenty years ago. Following several harvest seasons as a cellar worker in Washington, Erik pursuing a Postgraduate Diploma in Viticulture & Oenology at Lincoln University in New Zealand. After graduating with honors, Kramer crafted wines in New Zealand before discovering his calling in Oregon’s Willamette Valley—where he could continue to focus on cool-climate winemaking.

Kramer joined WillaKenzie Estate in January of 2017, bringing over thirteen years of Willamette Valley winemaking experience to the Estate. During his time in time the Willamette Valley, Erik has crafted numerous highly-acclaimed Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, developing a reputation for terroir-driven winemaking and his refined wines of finesse and balance.

"WillaKenzie Estate is one of the most unique, diverse and historic properties in the Willamette Valley. Pinot Noir so clearly represents its sense of place and the unique topography at WillaKenzie offers so many fascinating expressions of the varietal. It’s an honor to work with an Estate that is capable of producing such a broad array of great wines that offer both clarity and distinction."

Since 2017, Erik has partnered closely with the vineyard management team to optimize plantings at WillaKenzie Estate. He has developed a new vision for the Estate winery and a full renovation was completed prior to the 2019 harvest. The renovation was aimed at helping the WillaKenzie Estate vineyards achieve their full potential. 

Erik Kramer

Sharde Shepherd, Enologist

Sharde first joined WillaKenzie Estate as our Cellamaster in the Spring of 2023. Prior to joining WillaKenzie Estate, Sharde held production positions at wineries located in Oregon, California, Washington and South Africa. Sharde has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology, a Master’s degree in Industrial Hygiene, and a WSET Level 3 certification.

Sharde Shepard, Enologist at WillaKenzie Estate