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

Paetra Wine 2019 Pinot Blanc

An obsession with German wine.

Bill Hooper’s journey in wine is worthy of a Hollywood epic. In his early 20s, he freely admits that he started drinking Chardonnay because a former girlfriend “liked it and was a lot of fun after a couple of glasses.”

Working at a large liquor store where the German wines were obscured by indecipherable labels, Bill dug deep and figured out the complexities of German wine-labeling. (He calls it an obsession.) From there, it was a job with a distributor selling German wines.

In 2010, Bill, his wife, and their two young children moved to Germany. The kids were enrolled in Kindergarten and Bill enrolled in a German winemaking school (with barely passable classroom German.) A few years later, Bill Hooper became only the second American in 115 years to graduate from this prestigious German winemaking program.

A return to America was in the cards. But where? Bill carefully studied exactly where Reislings could thrive – just enough rainfall, a long growing season with mild summers, warm-enough winters, and volcanic soils. The only region in America that made the cut? The Willamette Valley.

And Paetra Wine was born. Check out the 1408-word version of his story on PaetraWine.com. It’s hilarious and brilliant!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Paetra Wine, Dayton, Oregon
2019 Pinot Blanc

Here’s a confession for you: It’s my firm belief that Pinot Blanc is the best white wine varietal grown in Oregon. It is perfectly suited to our climate, making a refreshing, clean, mineralic wine that is wonderful with so much of the local food in Oregon.

But the history is complicated. For years, it was confused with Chardonnay and winemakers overwhelmed the delicate flavors with new oak barrels. Even worse, acres of Melon de Bourgogne (a lovely wine in its own right) were mislabeled as Pinot Blanc for decades until a visiting French oenologist realized in the 1980s what the grapes really were.

This Pinot Blanc was hand harvested from old vines grown at 750 feet above sea level, fermented in 100% neutral oak barrels without commercial yeast or chemical additions.

The resulting wine is very pure and mineral with hints of pear, exotic fruit, and bright acidity. It has great texture and is quietly aromatic with a unique salinity to it from the sea winds blowing over the coast range vineyard. A very versatile wine, it can be a great complement to many foods but it especially shines with shellfish and oysters.

A Cellar 503 selection in December 2020, Holiday Wines Willamette Valley | Pinot Blanc