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Willful Wine Company

Willful Wine Company 2020 Pinot Blanc

Filmmaker 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 and getting her hands dirty 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. “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.”

This is more than a story of perseverance through tragedy. Today, Pam’s hard work and passion has made her an award-winning winemaker in her own right. Willful wine, indeed!

Willful Wine Company

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Willful Wine Company, Portland, Oregon
2020 Pinot Blanc

Contrary to popular belief, Pinot Blanc is not just Pinot Noir made in a white style. It’s an entirely different grape. But it’s not unrelated.

You see, Pinot Noir is genetically unstable. Every once in a while, a vine of lovely black Pinot Noir grapes will produce a single cane of white grapes. That’s Pinot Blanc – and wine growers have been cutting those vines and cultivating them directly.

The result? One of the best wines in the world – and, in my opinion, the best white wine grown in Oregon. Perfectly suited to our climate, Pinot Blanc is a refreshing, clean, mineral-forward wine that is pairs beautifully with so much of the food grown on our lands and harvested from our waters in Oregon.

This lovely wine from Willful is a perfect exemplar of Pinot Blanc. Clean and crisp with strong citrus notes, it has a nice thread of minerality. Refreshing and yet complex, this white wine is perfect with seafood and charcuterie and cheese, and really anything you want to drink it with! (Pam says she bottled it with a screw top so it’s easier to take on a boat!)

A Cellar 503 selection in October 2021, Pinot, Pinot, Pinot Yamhill-Carlton | Pinot Blanc