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Oregon producer takes international view

One of Oregon’s youngest wine estates has partnered with Jackson Family Wines to take its Pinot Noir range into Europe and Asia.

Antony Beck introduces Angela Estate in London earlier this month

Located in Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Angela Estate was bought by Antony Beck, the Kentucky-based owner of Graham Beck winery in South Africa, and named after his wife.

The 50-acre estate was planted in 2006 and 2007, being split between two vineyards: Angela, which Beck describes as the “premier cru” site, and Abbott Claim, which he refers to as “grand cru”. Under winemaker Ken Wright, who runs his own venture called Ken Wright Cellars nearby, each vineyard produces its own wine, retailing for around £35 for Angela and £45-50 for Abbott Claim.

Having spent a few years building a following for its wines in the US, Angela Estate has now teamed up with Jackson Family Wines to take advantage of the company’s extensive international distribution network. The two families already work together on Capensis, an ambitious new South African Chardonnay launched earlier this month.

Introducing the project, Beck told the drinks business: “I’ve made wine in South Africa where you do get vintage variation, but it’s not as extreme as Oregon. I really like that. In Oregon if you’re lucky you get seven out of 10 good vintages and two or three great vintages.”

As for the international shift in focus, he remarked: “The US will purchase most of the wine being made in the US so there has to be a conscious decision to look at other markets.” In addition to the UK, the team plans to introduce these wines in key areas of Asia, including South Korea, Japan and Singapore

While Jackson Family Wines already has its own Oregon venture, Nick Bevan, senior vice-president at the company, maintained there was no conflict of interest in taking on distribution for Angela Estate.

“Stylistically they’re really very different,” he said of the wines, adding: “There’s not enough Pinot Noir grown in the world to really exceed market demand at this level.”

The move comes as Oregon’s wine industry enjoys an upward trend, with a report earlier this year indicating that the state’s revenues rose by 49% between 2010 and 2013, boosted by a combination and internal and international investment, as well as a focus on producing high-end wines.

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