Duck Pond Cellars hires Napa winemaker

By on June 8, 2016
 Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore. has hired Trevor Chlanda from California’s Napa Valley to take over as head winemaker.

Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore. has hired Trevor Chlanda from California’s Napa Valley to take over as head winemaker. (Photo by Andréa Johnson Photography)

DUNDEE, Ore. – Duck Pond Cellars, one of the Oregon wine industry’s largest brands, has hired Trevor Chlanda from California’s Napa Valley to take over as head winemaker.

Greg Fries, president of Fries Family Wines, announced the change last week for his family’s 44,000-case winery in the Yamhill County town of Dundee.

“I know Trevor will jump right in, putting his skills and determination into pursuing the highest quality wines,” Fries stated in a news release. “Trevor has a strong desire to be a part of the challenge and promise of making great Pinot Noir in Oregon, and in particular he feels strongly about the potential for Duck Pond. We are excited to have him on board.”

The 2016 vintage will be Chlanda’s first as a lead winemaker. His most recent position was assistant director of winemaking at Bin to Bottle, a custom-crush operation in the town of Napa.

The résumé for Chlanda includes working at Williams Selyem for Bob Cabral, Jeff Cohn Cellars and J Stephen Wine. He started his winemaking career as a harvest/cellar worker at Delegat Wine Estates, parent company of Oyster Bay in New Zealand, a property that first allowed him to focus on Pinot Noir production. Among his top projects in Sonoma was the high-scoring Williams Selyem 2007 Litton Estate Pinot Noir.

“Pinot Noir is truly an interesting variety, especially in Oregon where it can generate so many different styles, and I believe, showcases its purity better than anywhere else in the U.S.,” Chlanda said.

Chlanda replaces Mark Chargin, who spent 10 years with Fries Family Wines. The third-generation winemaker from the Bay Area with a Cal Poly degree now works at Naked Winery in Hood River.

Duck Pond pulls from 551 acres of estate vines

St. Jory Vineyard in Salem, Ore., an estate site for Duck Pond Cellars, features a restored wetland that provides habitat for rainbow trout and migratory birds.

St. Jory Vineyard in Salem, Ore., an estate site for Duck Pond Cellars, features a restored wetland that provides habitat for rainbow trout and migratory birds. (Photo courtesy of Duck Pond Cellars)

Chlanda, who received a degree in plant science from Cornell, spent five years as assistant winemaker at Williams Selyem before his three years at Bin to Bottle, where he worked with 1,800 tons of fruit per vintage.

For the Fries family, Chlanda will be able to focus on estate vineyards and fewer clients while working with a slightly smaller production. In 2014, Duck Pond crushed about 64,000 cases – the equivalent of about 1,100 tons – for its own brand and a handful of clients.

Doug and Jo Ann Fries began planting vineyards in Oregon in 1983. Three decades later, Fries Family Wines owns and manages 551 acres throughout the state. They have 279 acres of vines in the Willamette Valley spanning five vineyard sites – Delaney, Hylo, St. Jory, Willow Creek and Duck Pond Cellars Estate. Greg Fries also planted 272 acres in Southern Oregon’s Umpqua Valley, establishing Cole’s Valley Vineyard near the town Sutherlin.

“I’m excited for the opportunity to join Duck Pond Cellars and craft some really special wines, allowing the vineyards to speak,” Chlanda said.

Family opens 2 wineries in 2 states within 10 years

Doug and Jo Ann Fries have surrounded themselves with family and wine during the 20-year history of Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Duck Pond Cellars)

Doug and Jo Ann Fries have surrounded themselves with family and wine during the 20-year history of Duck Pond Cellars in Dundee, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Duck Pond Cellars)

Greg Fries will continue to oversee the growing and winemaking for both Duck Pond and his family’s Desert Wind Winery in Prosser, Wash. In 2013, the Frieses celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Memorial Day opening of Duck Pond Cellars.

In 1992, the family purchased 540 acres on Washington state’s arid Wahluke Slope, one of the warmest growing regions in the Pacific Northwest. It has since established 475 acres of grapes at Desert Wind Vineyard and Sacagawea Vineyard.

In 2001, they opened Desert Wind Winery, a brand showcased by a tasting room, production facility and boutique inn in the Yakima Valley town of Prosser. Unlike with its Oregon operation, the Fries family sells most of its Washington fruit – producing 11,700 cases for Desert Wind Winery.

About Eric Degerman

Eric Degerman is the president and CEO of Great Northwest Wine. He is a journalist with more than 30 years of daily newspaper experience and has been writing about wine since 1998. He co-founded Wine Press Northwest with Andy Perdue and served as its managing editor for 15 years. He is a frequent wine judge along the West Coast and contributor to Pacific Northwest Golfer magazine, the region's longest-running golf publication.

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