Since 2003 Athena Pappas and Stewart Boedecker have been making award winning, delicious wine at Boedecker Cellars. And even though their facility is smack dab in the middle of Oregon's many wine growing regions it also happens to be in a forklift and train-tracked industrial part of Northwest Portland.
I got to visit with Athena for a couple hours in mid-July. I met her at the Boedecker Cellars tasting room where we talked about the history of Boedecker and the wine while sipping on a beautiful, sold out bottle of 2008 Pappas Wine Co. Pinot Blanc.
Pappas was working in the field of psychology when her husband's winemaking interest was sparked in the mid-90s. After taking an Oregon Winemaking 101 class at PCC Boedecker worked for several years at various vineyards, often without pay, in between his regular full-time employment and during his vacations in order to learn the tools of the trade.
Boedecker loved making wine so much that one day he said to Pappas, "I'm going to drive a crappy car forever, save all my money and start a winery." While Pappas and Boedecker worked together as tenants at The Carlton Winemakers Studio from 2003 to 2007 that's just what they did.
Boedecker Cellars specializes in pinot noir and chardonnay but also produces pinot blanc, pinot gris, rosé and grenache. Depending on the time of the year there are usually several different pinot noirs available ranging from the Athena Pinot Noir and Stewart Pinot Noir to various single vineyard pinot noirs. When Pappas and Boedecker first started blending pinot together they realized that they had two very different palates and styles so they decided to do two different blends.
Pappas says, "Stewart's pinot noir is a very classic pinot noir. It's a red fruit, pretty blend, with good acidity that's going to sit in the cellar a long time. And I don't know why I like this, maybe it's because I grew up eating lamb and other big foods, but I like the bigger pinot noir. I like it structured too and we certainly have our winemaking style but I like a lot of spice and a little more umpf to it."
I'm not telling which I like better.
Boedecker Cellars 2621 NW 30th Ave. 503.288.7752 www.boedeckercellars.com Tasting room hours Fri. 2pm-7pm; Sat.-Sun. 1pm-5pm but tours and tastings can be scheduled throughout the week as well.