Critical Acclaim for the Carlton Winemakers Studio

“Eclectic collective of more than 10 Oregon winemakers in the wine village of Carlton.”

Northwest real estate prices are painfully high and rising, so many savvy winemakers combat the problem by joining forces: sharing space, pouring wines alongside one another, even taking turns with equipment. That’s good news for adventurous drinkers short on time, as they can get the experience of visiting a number of wineries without even leaving their seats.

Sip Northwest
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“If you want a quick overview of what’s happening in the Willamette Valley, check out this collective winery and tasting room located in Carlton.”

The eco-friendly winery, partially hidden by grassy berm walls, is home to labels such as Ayoub, Hamacher and Andrew Rich. The list of varietals is wide and varied, from Pinot Noir to Pinot Gris to Riesling. The tasting room is a sleek, modern den of polished steel and wood.

Wine Spectator
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Where To Drink Like A Local In Every State – Oregon

“The Carlton Winemakers Studio… in the wine-centric town of Carlton offers bottles from 13 regional producers, including top names like Hamacher and Andrew Rich, whose 2012 Knife Edge 
Pinot Noir is a must-try.”

Food & Wine | Ray Isle
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“In late 2001, three avidly wine-involved individuals began laying plans to create a winemaking facility the likes of which the industry had not seen before.”

“Building an entirely new structure from the ground up also afforded them the opportunity to incorporate energy saving and environmentally friendly elements, making CWS an early industry leader in green technology.”

“That’s part and parcel of an operation that may have done more to further the industry’s growth than any other single entity in Oregon.”

“Further affirmation that visiting Carlton Winemakers Studio is one of the most enjoyable and certainly the most diverse tasting experience in Yamhill Wine Country.”

Mighty Tight Cluster
Oregon Wine Press | Karl Klooster
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The studio concept, Mr. Mondavi said, began with the Carlton Winemakers Studio, in Carlton, Ore., which opened in 2002.

“Carlton was the brainchild of Eric Hamacher, a self-described “winemaking gypsy,” who had made wine in a series of borrowed winery spaces across California and Oregon, along with his wife Luisa Ponzi, and their partners, Ned and Kirsten Lumpkin.

Mr. Lumpkin, a successful contractor, owned a vineyard but needed a winemaker. Together, Mr. Lumpkin and Mr. Hamacher built an environmentally benign winery tailored to the needs of small producers…

The Carlton studio has the capacity to produce 18,000 cases of wine, which is currently shared by 10 winemakers, including Mr. Hamacher.

Each is individually licensed, and they operate under an alternating proprietorship that allows them to label their wines as “produced and bottled by,” which connotes an independent winery, as opposed to “cellared and bottled by,” which indicates that the wine was produced in a facility owned by another entity.

This licensing arrangement also allows each owner’s wines to be poured in the studio’s tasting room, and for direct sales to customers in states, like New York, that restrict such shipments.

‘We’re all independent wineries working under an alternating proprietorship, and that’s what differentiates us from custom crush,’ said Andrew Rich, who produced 7,500 cases last year, making him the largest winemaker at Carlton. Custom crush is, ‘Here are my grapes, call me when it’s in the bottle.’ We’re all doing what we’re doing by ourselves.”

Wine Made The Co-Op Way
The New York Times | Lawrence Fisher
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“Carlton Winemakers Studio is home to 11 vintners that produce some of the Willamette Valley’s most recognizable and sought after wines.”

Eugene Daily News
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“Oregon’s Best Tasting Room”

“The Carlton Winemakers Studio is just plain cool: It’s an eco-friendly, recycled-material-using, cooperative winemaking facility where a bunch of top-notch Oregon winemakers all share equipment to turn out classy Pinot Noir and other varietals—including sparkling wines and dessert wines. Winemaker Eric Hamacher of Hamacher Wines is the man who made it happen; other flagship tenants at the studio include Soter Vineyards, Andrew Rich Wines, Bryce Vineyard, Domaine Meriwether, Dominio and Penner-Ash Wine Cellars. And to top it all off, these wineries all pour their bottles in a shared tasting room that’s open to the public.”

Food & Wine Magazine
125 Reasons We Love Wine
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“Innovators include a winery and tasting room called the Carlton Winemakers Studio. It is the country’s first green-built cooperative winery, using natural light, recycled materials and as little electricity as possible, among other improvements. Ten independent small-batch wineries can share space at one time, and the studio has acted as an incubator for young, talented winemakers without a home. About 20 winemakers have come through since the studio opened in 2002.

And like many wineries along this laid-back and friendly wine trail, it’s also the kind of intimate place where you can run into your favorite winemaker while sampling flights. On a recent visit, my friend Sarah and I watched as the tasting room manager introduced two Portland fans of the winemaker Andrew Rich to the man himself, who happened to be the guest winemaker on duty.

“Everyone’s wines are featured on a rotating basis here in the tasting room,” said Mr. Rich, who poured a pinot noir flight that included creations by several different winemakers. We tasted Mr. Rich’s own flagship blend, the Andrew Rich Vintner 2006 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, an earthy, berry-rich wine.”

On This Oregon Trail, Pioneers Embrace Wine
The New York Times | Bonnie Tsui
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“Featuring a rotating group of 10 to 12 carefully curated producers, the collective has served as a launching pad for Oregon wine brands like Penner-Ash, Dominio IV, Scott Paul Wines, Boedecker Cellars and Soter.

As nascent winemakers arrive at the space, build a following, then move on to open their own wineries, wine lovers keep returning to the Studio, to see what’s new and revisit the classic wines made by founding partners Hamacher Wines and Lazy River Vineyard, along with Andrew Rich Wines, a tenant since the Studio opened its doors in 2002.”

Carlton Rises from the Sawdust Thanks to Wine
The Oregonian | Katherine Cole
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“Getting to know mistress Pinot is all about enjoying the learning curve: from savouring the sweet, fruity bombast of newer vintages at Wines on Broadway to seeking out tannic, cellar-worthy finds in the wilds of Carlton.”

The Georgia Straight
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“Your final, and perhaps most exciting stop along the Yamhill–Carlton wine trail is at the Carlton Winemakers Studio, at the end of Lincoln Street. The first of its kind in Oregon, this cooperative brings together 10 small premium winemakers who source grapes, then use state-of-the-art communal (shared) equipment to craft their individual labels.

With a vaulted ceiling and lots of glass, the Studio’s tasting room is light-filled and airy—very Northwest. Tours of this acclaimed green facility are available by appointment and allow visitors the extraordinary opportunity to experience the “behind-the-scenes” of winemaking up close and personal.”

Yamhill Winery Tour
Oregon Coast Magazine
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