While making this documentary, we accumulated so many more stories than we can use in one feature documentary, so we’ll be posting clips from time to time that help show off the amazing personalities we met along the way. Mary Olson of Airlie Winery in Monmouth, Oregon is someone who always makes you feel at home. It’s the first Oregon winery I visited after moving here from the Midwest.
I remember that visit well. It was a lovely, bright spring day, and we were the only guests. We walked into the tasting room, and Mary came in to meet us. “It’s too nice to stay inside,” she said. “Go out and have a seat, and I’ll bring you some wine.” We sat under a trellis, watching her Irish Setters splash in the pond, while she brought out wines, four at a time, sitting down and chatting with us between pours.
Beyond the ubiquitous Pinot Noir you find in the Willamette Valley, Airlie also offers a range of lovely whites that exhibit winemaker Elizabeth Clark’s blending skills. Airlie is the perfect place to rekindle your enthusiasm for white vinifera…if you’re a red- or Pinot-only type of a person, then you’re missing out on half of the world. Mary also pours a Foch hybrid varietal that reminds me of sitting outside in Missouri wine country. She also offers Pinot Noirs that show off both Willamette Valley and Coast Range fruit from right on the scenic slopes of her Dunn Forest vineyard. Every time we drive away from Mary’s winery , it feels like we’ve just finished visiting a favorite relative. And as this clip shows, that’s no accident.