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

Gonzales Wine Company 2019 Rivino Viognier

Elevating those that are overlooked

She was backpacking her way through Mendoza, Argentina, when Cristina Gonzales found her passion for wine. It was a perfect bottle of Malbec alongside an Argentinian steak that sparked a realization that wine would be her future.

She joined the wine industry in 2006 and quickly gained hands-on experience working harvests in California, Oregon, Tasmania, and Australia. As a winemaker, she celebrates the unusual, and the rare, lifting up unheralded grapes that others might overlook.

Cristina comes from a long line of farm workers who tended fields with their hands. She is the granddaughter of migrant farm workers from Texas, who found their way to Wisconsin to pick cherries in search of a better life.

Consequently, she is just as passionate about empowering vineyard workers in Oregon – without whom we would not have Oregon wine.

She’s now on the board of the nonprofit AHIVOY, an organization that seeks to help vineyard workers gain the education and support they need to advance in the wine industry.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Gonzales Wine Company, Portland, Oregon
2019 Rivino Viognier

Cristina Gonzales doesn’t make white wine. That is, she didn’t – until she came across these Viognier grapes in 2019. Grown in Mendocino County at the Rivino Vineyard, this wine was made in Portland, Oregon.

Her tasting notes are so good that rather than write my own, I’m just going to quote her:

“This Viognier is as voluptuous and sexy as they come and will surely knock your socks off! Aromas of honeycomb, orange blossoms, jasmine, and bergamot entice the senses. Full-bodied with luscious minerality and well-structured, balanced acidity roll over the palate and lips. Long-lingering notes of chamomile, lemon thyme, and grapefruit leave you breathless and full of anticipation for the next sip.”

Now you understand why this Oregon winemaker leapt at the chance to work with these grapes and break her “I don’t make white wine” rule? Viognier is a great food pairing wine and will go well with just about anything – including seafood and creamy pasta dishes – but we’re especially loving the idea of pairing this with slow-cooked carnitas tacos.

A Cellar 503 selection in May 2021, Women in Wine Oregon | Viognier