If anyone grew up in the PNW wine industry, it was Kim Kramer. After a decade of winemaking interest, her parents Trudy and Keith finally bought hillside land in what is now the Yamhill-Carlton AVA with the specific intent to plant a vineyard in 1983. Kramer was still very young when her family began transforming the blackberry bramble- and wild daisy-covered property into a Kramer Vineyards and she recalls being totally uninterested in the family business growing up.
“I never understood why wine was such a big deal to some people or why anyone would work so hard to make it,” says Kramer, claiming she was always quick with an excuse to get out of winery work as a kid.
She took the winding road to winemaking, first studying art history and philosophy in college before eventually taking a job at the St. Innocent tasting room in 2000. When some extra Chardonnay crossed her path in 2006, Kramer successfully transformed it into a batch of sparkling wine in her garage. Buoyed by that success, she began discussing the possibility of making sparkling wine from her family’s estate fruit.
Her mother passed the winemaking baton to her in 2008. Kramer counts the responsibility of honoring her parents’ years of hard work a privilege. She attributes the success of their vineyard-driven wines to an inherent understanding of the land her family has farmed for more than 30 years.
“There are countless things I’ll never have to figure out because my parents have already done that work,” she says.
In addition to a rise in the popularity of sparkling wines over the past several years, Kramer sees a general uptick in customer curiosity leading staff to conduct more in-depth tasting appointments. Her current pet project involves balancing flavor, color and textural facets from her Pinot Noir vines by playing with the ratio of whole cluster fermentation.
This article originally ran in the winter 2018 print issue of Sip Northwest. For the full story and more like it, click here.