WillaKenzie Estate Winemaker, Erik Kramer, pouring grapes into a barrel during harvest.


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

Erik Kramer, Winemaker

A scientist by training, Erik Kramer worked as a hydrogeologist before deciding to apply his precision and passion for balance to his love of wine.

Following several harvests in Washington, Erik moved to New Zealand where he received a postgraduate diploma in Viticulture & Oenology at Lincoln University and spent time crafting cool-climate wines before heading to the Willamette Valley in 2004.

Kramer joined WillaKenzie Estate in January of 2017, bringing deep experience creating highly acclaimed Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays form the region, defined terroir and texture-driven winemaking and a refined style of finesse and balance. In partnership with the tenured vineyard management team, Erik drives WillaKenzie Estate wines towards their highest potential.

"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."

Erik Kramer

Melissa Zeman, Associate Winemaker

Melissa Zeman, more affectionately known as “Mel”, has been working in the Willamette Valley since 2015, with stints at Ponzi Vineyards and most recently as assistant winemaker at Argyle Winery. She has traveled the world extensively, having worked harvests in New Zealand, Australia, and Germany. Mel graduated from the University of Minnesota and holds a certificate in winemaking from UC Davis.

Headshot of Associate Winemaker, Mel Zeman.

Sharde Shepherd, Enologist

Sharde Shepherd joined WillaKenzie Estate as Cellarmaster in 2023, quickly proving herself to be a highly valuable member of our small team through her strong work ethic, passion for wine, and great team management skills. Prior to joining WillaKenzie Estate, Sharde held production positions at wineries in Oregon, California, Washington, and South Africa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in microbiology, a master’s degree in industrial hygiene, and a WSET Level 3 certification.

Headshot of Enologist Sharde Shepard in front of foggy vineyard.