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

Willful Wine Company

Willful Wine Company 2020 Red Wine Blend

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 Red Wine Blend

When people ask me if I have a favorite varietal, I usually tell them that I don’t – that I love all my children. But Tempranillo? Well, if we’re being honest, it’s one of my favorites. And if you’ve been a member of Cellar 503 for a while, you’re used to seeing Tempranillo in your selection once or twice a year.

Most folks think of big, bold, spicy Spanish Rioja-style wines when they think of Tempranillo. But one of the things I love best about this grape is its versatility. From young, fresh and fruity to old, rich and leathery to bright rosés, Tempranillo can hit all the notes.

But this is the first Tempranillo-Merlot blend we’ve featured – and that I’ve ever had. Merlot is most typically blended with Cabernet Sauvignon in a Bordeaux-style blend. In this case, the Tempranillo is stepping in for the Cabernet. Juicy flavors of blackberries and cassis alongside spice and earthy tannins make for a smooth ride across the palate and mouth-watering finish.

A Cellar 503 selection in April 2022, Blends Oregon | Merlot, Tempranillo