Pinot Noir is the holy grail of the wine world. Coveted for its rich flavour, complex aroma, and velvety feel, this grape variety is one of the most popular (and notoriously difficult to produce) wines. A Wine Wineworks in Willette Valley, Oregon, has mastered the fine art of Pinot Noir; Due to this, the winery has gained national attention and has experienced rapid growth.
To keep up with demand, A to Z modernized its processes and installed a SURVIVOR OTR scale and a 720i weighing terminal to manage its shipments efficiently. The demand for high-quality Pinot Noir dates back to the 1st century when ancient Romans began to make unique wine. News of this innovation travelled through the vine to gradually gain worldwide recognition.
However, it was difficult to produce. Challenges seem to present themselves at every stage of the Pinot process. Not only are grapes difficult to grow, but they are also easily bruised and must be skillfully picked, handled and transported. The fruit then ferments so furiously that the process can race out of control and explode like a delicious volcano, ruining an entire batch. Even after bottling, problems persist: the wine can lose its colour, aroma and acid balance. Pinot Noir may be the holy grail of wine, but it can also be a troublesome child. For a long time, it was thought that only the Burgundy region of France could consistently produce a great Pinot Noir.
The mild climate, the sea breeze, the ideal soil conditions and the slopes facing the sun were perfect for growing Pinot grapes. In the late 20th century, however, a relative newcomer broke onto the wine-making scene. The Willamette Valley of Oregon began to produce Pinot comparable, if not better, than the famous Burgundy region. The two areas share many of the same characteristics: pleasant temperatures, soil composition, hills, and even the proximity of the ocean. They also sit along the 45th Parallel, an outline that is home to some of the largest wineries in the world.
In 2002, Deb Hatcher, Bill Hatcher, Sam Tannahill, and Cheryl Francis founded A to Z Wineworks. The mission of these two married couples was not only to produce a pristine Pinot but to offer it at an affordable price, something that had never been done before. Unlike many other wineries in Oregon, from A to Z he would source his fruit from vineyards across the state. This would allow them to make adjustments to each year’s harvest based on the varying characteristics of that growing season.
If Vineyard A received a lot of rain and Vineyard B was unusually dry, the proportion of grapes used in these vineyards could be modified to match the successful recipes of previous seasons. Harnessing more than 100 different vineyards, the end result is a consistency that represents the best in the state (and serves as the company’s tagline): The Essence of Oregon. A to Z quickly rose to fame. They applied their business plan to a full line of wine varieties, including Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Rosé. The demand began to grow, and so did the company. They added more employees, a real estate vineyard, and a fifth partner, Greg Popovich (who also has a second job as the San Antonio Spurs head coach). Across the company, processes were modernized and optimized for efficiency. They simplified their shipping/receiving system at the farm’s vineyard, which also serves as corporate headquarters from A to Z.