To celebrate the 2017 harvest, the Willamette Valley Winery Association asked some Oregon wineries to create Spotify playlists capturing their philosophy and sentiment of the season. Three participating winemakers explain how their playlists represent what winemaking means to them.
Harvest Playlist by Trevor Chlanda | Duck Pond Cellars | Dundee
While every day is a busy day for the crew at Duck Pond’s vineyard in Dundee, the playlist that winemaker Trevor Chlanda has created is all about “not taking [themselves] too seriously.” For Chlanda, the music is there to lighten people up in tough moments, like “when it’s 40 degrees out and you have to press a one-and-a-half ton barrel of grapes,” he adds.
Songs like “Eye of the Tiger” by Survivor are perfect to pump people up, Chlanda notes. His harvest playlist is an eclectic mix that’s always a work in progress, with tunes ranging from the “Star Wars” theme song to rap hits from Ludacris, Snoop Dogg and T. Pain.
The winemaker says this keeps the team energized while they create well-balanced wines that “have a little bit of a lot rather than a lot of a little” in terms of quality. Chlanda hopes the playlist reflects Duck Pond’s 2017 harvest — 34 wines in total — as a labor of love, promoting his “we’re winning, we’re making wine” mentality. What to drink when listening? He suggests sipping on the 2016 Skin Contact Pinot Gris, a floral wine with smooth texture and tannin structure from the estate’s St. Jory Vineyard.
Harvest Music for 2017 by Dave Peterson | Vista Hills Vineyard | Dayton
A day in the life for Dave Peterson of Vista Hills Vineyard in Dayton includes sampling wines, pulling grapes and curating his playlist. Peterson, who says he never planned on being in the wine business, became a winemaker after his wife’s family introduced him to the industry while he was doing computer-based work in Portland. His playlist is about the fun environment that initially drew him to wine as he believes that “if you’re not having fun in this business, you’re not doing it right.”
Tying into the excitement of the harvest season, Peterson says he views it as the beginning, and the playlist he’s created a reflection of his anticipation. On it you’ll find high energy hits in the folk-country to folk-rock range, with songs from Lyle Lovett, The Decemberists and more. To Peterson, the music “has to be noisy or you won’t hear it” working in the vineyard or tasting room all day. He says the playlist is best paired with a hoppy, vibrant beer like one of his personal favorites: the edgy Arrogant Bastard from Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego. He hopes the music brings people together and lets everyone get to know each other a little more as harvest season begins.
Hazelfern #Winelife by Bryan Laing | Hazelfern Cellars | Newberg
For Bryan Laing, who created Hazelfern Cellars with his wife Laura in their Portland basement in 2006, his playlist is all about adding to the experience of wine and how you share it with other people. While the family has grown by two daughters and is still based in Portland, their business has also expanded recently moved to a renovated Southern-style horse barn in Newberg in 2016. The playlist is a mix of the “urban farm” concept that followed them there.
While Laing updates the playlist every couple of weeks, most of what is on there is alt-country like David Ramirez and Ryan Adams along with some ‘80s and ‘90s chart-toppers like Whitney Houston and Notorious B.I.G. Laing says the idea is to “keep it upbeat” as a representation of who they are and the wines that they produce: Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that is light, fruity and energetic.
For this winemaker, his musical mash-up is for the shared experience of listening to good music, sipping on amazing wines and connecting with kindred spirits, something that he feels fortunate to be a part of everyday.