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Volcano Vineyards

Volcano Vineyards

Volcano Vineyards
126 NW Minnesota Ave
Bend, Oregon
USA 97701
Phone: 541.617.1102

Contact: Liz Ratcliff
Email: info@volcanovineyards.com

Scott and I were both introduced to the wine industry at young ages. While I wish we could say that we learned to walk in granddad’s vineyards or jammed Uncle Harry’s bottling line with a Barbie Doll, the fact is, our initial exposure was on the consumer side. Scott’s folks were big foodies and started visiting Napa Valley in the late 60s, became members of the Chaine des Rotisseurs, and have amassed an enormous wine cellar that would make any collector envious. My dad was hit with the wine bug in the early 80s, falling in love with Chateauneuf du Pape. The day we discussed French wines in my high school French class, I was the only person who said anything – Monsieur Beckman was so excited because I NEVER said anything in that class ever and suddenly I was “Cotes du Rhone-ing” all over the place.

Scott and I met when we were both waiters in San Francisco. San Francisco waiters are professionals who love food, love restaurants and love wine (and in the best restaurants, that will always be the case). As a waiter in a four or five star restaurant, the more you know about the food you are serving and the wine on your list that perfectly complements it, the better the experience your guests will have (and presumably, the better your tip). Restaurants spend an enormous amount of time and money training their wait staffs on wine, wineries, the nuances of food pairing. We were 70 minutes from Sonoma and Napa and spent almost every weekend up there, first visiting wineries, then spending time at Gallaway Vineyards in Healdsburg - the vineyard that Scott helped plant - which belonged to family friends. Once those vines matured, we started home winemaking, using Gallaway Vineyards grapes that were left on the vines after harvest. In the late ‘90s we both got lured into desk jobs, which was a nice break. But we both missed the buzz from the restaurant biz, we missed the people who are drawn to working in food and wine, and we missed the daily exposure to all that great food and wine!

In the fall of 2001 we moved from San Francisco to Bend, Oregon. I wish we could say that we were cashing out stock options or that we had sold our cracker box house for a million dollars, but that wasn’t the case. We were renters in San Francisco, and when the house up the street from us in the Inner Sunset sold for $650,000 and the new owners proceeded to knock it down and build a new house, we knew it was time to go. We figured out very quickly that Bend is an entrepreneurial town, thriving thanks to small businesses. After a few months we went back to the Bay Area for a wedding. While there, Scott sent off an email to Randall Grahm, (founder of Bonny Doon Vineyards and the "Original Rhone Deranger") stating that he was a local boy thinking about going “pro” with his home winemaking and would Mr. Grahm have any advice. About 20 minutes later the phone rang in Scott’s parents’ house (where we were staying) and it was Randall Grahm himself who said he had just had surgery, was bored out of his skull and would we like to come to his house to “talk wine.” When we arrived, he said to us, “If I were in your position, this is what I would do…” And by the end of that meeting, Scott had thrown his heart off the cliff, and there was no turning back. Volcano Vineyards was born.

Winemaker: Scott Ratcliff

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