Explore Oregon Wines: Wineries | Varietals | AVAs | Cellar 503 Selections

Willful Wine Company

Willful Wine Company 2014 Red Blend

Filmaker to waitress to winemaker...

Pam Walden, an urban winemaker and owner of Willful Wine, fell into the wine business backwards. After a promising career at the BBC was derailed by layoffs, this London native found herself waitressing in a small restaurant in France's Dordogne region.

One day, a budding winemaker - an American - walked in. Pam fell in love and followed him back to Oregon, supporting his dream of opening his own winery.

Helping out in the cellar, getting her hands dirty working closely with the grape-growers, and assisting with blending gave Pam the hands-on training she needed - and a passion for making wine. But before long, they split - and she bought out his interest in the vineyard.

But then, tragedy struck, and he passed away. A single mom, Pam sold the vines and moved the winemaking operation to Portland to be close to her sons, Cato and Samson, rather than splitting her efforts between Portland and the Valley.

"I really miss my vines," Walden told Wine Press NW. "That's really my happy place, but I had to give it up and spend that time being the best mom I can be. I've got basketball games to take kids to, and I'd rather be doing that on the weekend."

Willful Wine Company

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Willful Wine Company, Portland, Oregon
2014 Red Blend

Walla Walla?! I can hear you now, "That's not in Oregon!" You're right. And you're wrong. The town is in Washington, of course. But the Valley? It stretches well into Oregon.

One third of the Walla Walla AVA - and nearly half the planted acreage - is in Oregon.

And most surprisingly? The vast majority of the wines that are labeled Walla Walla are made from grapes grown on the Oregon side of the AVA.

This is the first time that Pam has made a Bordeaux-style blend. This one is made up of 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Cabernet Franc, and 33% Merlot all from a tiny vineyard on the Oregon side of the Walla Walla AVA.

This wine has beautifully balanced fruit, with firm but not overly imposing tannins. Enjoy it with braised short rib or a thick, juicy steak on the grill.

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2017, Women Winemakers Walla Walla Valley | Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot