Rollin Soles steps back at Argyle, forward at Roco

By on February 19, 2013

Rollin Soles

Roco Winery is in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains. (Courtesy of Roco Winery)

DUNDEE, Ore. – Starting March 1, Rollin Soles will have a new role at Argyle Winery – founding winemaker.

Soles has been Argyle’s head winemaker since the winery launched in 1987, making some of Oregon’s best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Riesling and sparkling wine.

With his new consulting role at Argyle, Soles will have the freedom to devote most of his efforts to Roco, the winery he launched with his wife, Corby, a decade ago. Roco is near Newberg in the Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area, where Soles planted a 7-acre vineyard called Wit’s End.

“Roco is 10 years old,” Soles told Great Northwest Wine. “I’ve been fortunate to be at Argyle and slowly chip away at Roco.”

Soles built a winemaking facility for Roco in 2009 and opened a tasting room last Thanksgiving.

“We just want to have fun,” Soles said. “I just love it.”

He and Corby now share an office, making this the first time they’ve worked together professionally.

“We look across at each other and just laugh,” Soles said. “It’s just a blast.”

Roco focuses on Pinot Noir

Roco

Corby and Rollin Soles launched Roco a decade ago. With his change in status at Argyle, Rollin now has more time to devote to his winery. (Courtesy of Roco)

Soles makes 3,400 cases of wine, most of it Pinot Noir with just a bit of Chardonnay. Somehow, he’s now selling Roco in 33 states.

“Various wholesalers started calling up during the recession wanting my wine,” he said with a laugh.

RocoPerhaps it’s his reputation as one of Oregon’s finest winemakers. Perhaps it’s all the regional and national recognition Roco wines are getting from critics. Regardless, it is not surprising that distributors have come calling.

One wine that is not in Soles’ repertoire at Roco is sparkling wine, something he’s made famous at Argyle.

“I love bubbles,” Soles said enthusiastically. “Sparkling is the most amazing wine there is. It’s one of the most difficult wines to make – and make right. It’s cutting-edge and exciting.”

In other words, don’t be surprised if he starts making sparkling wine at Roco, too.

Klostermann takes over at Argyle

Meanwhile, Argyle has tapped Nate Klostermann as head winemaker. He joined Argyle in 2005 as an enologist at the age of 23.

“I was lucky to have hired Nate,” Soles said. “He’s turned out smarter than I am with the unusual skill sets of a fine wine palate while being calm under pressure – important when you need an understanding of both still wines and the incredibly complex sparkling wines that Argyle does so well.”

Klostermann is excited by the opportunity – and humbled by the promotion.

“I’ve grown up at Argyle and am grateful for the rare opportunity to work alongside masters in their trade,” he said. “I have no intention of filling Rollin’s shoes – that’s impossible. Instead, I’ll continue a life-long journey of learning as we work together to honor the Argyle tradition.”

About Andy Perdue

Andy Perdue is the editor and publisher of Great Northwest Wine. He is a third-generation journalist who has worked at newspapers since the mid-1980s and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest magazine with Eric Degerman and served as its editor-in-chief for 15 years. He is a frequent judge at international wine competitions. He is the author of "The Northwest Wine Guide: A Buyer's Handbook" (Sasquatch, 2003) and has contributed to four other books. He writes about wine for The Seattle Times. You can find him on Twitter and .

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