scenic valley farms


Feb 06, 2024Jason Wagg

People doing what they love – that is a joyful element of wine that is worth celebrating and on full display at Scenic Valley Farms in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.

Second-generation Owner Brian Zielinski is a good example of passion in action. Brian is in charge of managing Scenic Valley’s vineyards, and his feel for that task comes from his many years of helping his father, Bob, grow other crops like hazelnuts, green beans and cherries.

Brian has learned, however, that grapes are different.

“In theory, growing grapes isn’t incredibly difficult as compared to other crops. The plant goes in the ground, give it as much chance to thrive as possible, correct nutrients, soil, p.H., keep pests out, etc. But I had to develop a different mindset in order to grow wine grapes. We’re not only harvesting the fruit, but also, we are planning as best we can for the bottle.”

The Zielinskis became wine grape growers in a roundabout way. “One of my dad’s friends owned a vineyard and sometime around 2008, he challenged my dad to plant wine grapes. Being a conventional farmer, my dad claimed that quality grapes can’t be grown on flat, valley-floor ground. His friend disagreed, and the challenge was accepted!

“We started with an acre apiece of Pinot Gris and Grüner Veltliner on flat Willamette Valley farmland. Our first harvest was in 2011 and we’ve been trying to get better every year since.”

Later, Brian bought a 6-acre vineyard in South Salem with red grapes ready to go and room to expand.

Besides the challenge, what else does Brian love about wine growing? “The symbiotic relationship between farming and art. One can argue that farming is in itself an art, and I would never disagree with that point, but there’s something to caring for vines, learning their personalities, harvesting and then, that’s only part of the adventure. Drinking a bottle of wine, if you really sit down and allow it to, the wine will tell a story of the year(s) past. I find that to be a grand adventure and am grateful we get to experience it every year.”

“Our goal is to over-deliver on every vintage we produce and offer an exceptional bottle at an honest price,” adds Brian. “All while having fun along the way. If we are able to wake up every day and go to work with the same people, doing what we love to do, then that is a win.”

Meeting a challenge. Savoring art. Having a grand adventure. Every day a win. It’s not just the wine, but the story too that will lure you to another glass at Scenic Valley Farms, now ready to enjoy with this month’s Pacific Northwest Series.

About The California Wine Club

Discover great wine with The California Wine Club. Since 1990, it’s been our wine club’s mission to help artisan wineries share their small-batch wines with wine enthusiasts everywhere. At The California Wine Club we happen to think these wines simply taste better than the mass-produced wines that dominate store shelves. Signature Series members will enjoy  Elkhorn Peak Cellars’ 2018 Estate Grown Reserve Napa Valley Pinot Noir their next delivery.

We visit the wineries, meet the families and winemakers behind the wines and then invite them to share their favorite wines with our wine club members. Every wine featured in our wine of the month club comes from a real-working winery.

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