Monday, September 19, 2016



The Santa Barbara County Vintners’ Association is a non-profit organization (501c6) founded in 1983 to support and promote Santa Barbara County as a premium wine producing and wine grape growing region. The Vintners’ Association produces festivals, seminars, and wine tastings as well as providing information to consumers and the wine and travel media.

Through the Santa Barbara Vintners’ Foundation, the Association contributes to the community through local charitable, art and educational and scholarship organizations with proceeds from its various events, such as Santa Barbara Wine Auction, held every other year and benefitting Direct Relief International, and silent auctions at all the Association’s festivals.

Morgen has been deeply involved in the wine and tourism industries since childhood through her family's various projects on the East Coast and Colorado.  Wanting to follow her own path outside of wine, Morgen graduated from Boston College with degrees in English and Secondary Education.  As she prepared to enroll in Graduate School, she was pulled back into the family wine business as the General Manager and eventual Co-owner of McLaughlin Vineyards.  After twelve years at the winery and diversifying the business into special events, direct to consumer initiatives and ag-tourism projects, she left to become the President and CEO of Finger Lakes Wine Country Tourism Marketing Association in Corning, New York.  Morgen led the organization and region through six and a half years of tremendous growth and national and international visibility.  Morgen lives in Santa Barbara County with her husband (a fellow wine professional) and three sons. She currently serves on the Visit Santa Barbara Board of Directors, Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation Board of Directors, Santa Barbara County Agriculture Advisory Committee, and the Santa Barbara County Right to Farm Committee.

 Celebrating its 25th Anniversary, the Celebration of Harvest Weekend October 7-10 brings together wine makers, grape growers, chefs, and wine lovers for four days of merriment. From the four day Vintners Visa, Friday Harvest Dinner, Saturday Wine Seminar, Saturday Festival Grand Tasting, to the many winery special events, you don't want to miss this must attend weekend in Santa Barbara Wine Country.

The highlight of the weekend is the Saturday afternoon Celebration of Harvest Festival Grand Tasting held on the beautiful grounds of the Old Mission Santa Ines in Solvang from 1:00 - 4:00 p.m., with early entry available at 12:00 p.m. One hundred Santa Barbara County wineries will pour their newest releases alongside some of the region's best restaurants and food purveyors.

Additionally, Edible Santa Barbara will present wine and culinary demonstrations throughtout the day. Live music from two different bands will provide the perfect backdrop. The Santa Barbara Vintners Foundation Silent Auction will have wine country experiences and large format bottles available for bidding with all proceeds benefitting local chariities, including the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

Tickets start at $80 per person (plus ticketing fee) for an all-inclusive experience that includes wine, food, and convenient parking.

Extend your stay and see harvest in action! The Vintners Visa is your wine tasting pass to many tasting rooms throughout Santa Barbara Wine Country October 7 - 10 (Friday - Monday.)  Taste wine at up to 12 different participating wineries and tasting rooms for the price of the visa.  The Vintners Visa is valued at more than $180 per person, but is only $50 each!

On Friday evening the Santa Barbara County wine community will take a small respite from the harvest, along with attending wine lovers, who will all reach deep into their personal cellars, to attend the Harvest Dinner at Root 246 in the Fountain Courtyard, in downtown Solvang. Wine lovers will enjoy a walk-around meal. Tickets are $105 per person, inclusive of tax and gratuity, and a bottle of wine to share with fellow guests in the La Paulée style.

Join us for a morning of wine and conversation at the Santa Barbara Wine Seminar on Saturday, October 8 from 10-11:30am at the Hotel Corque in Solvang (walking distance to the Festival.) The seminar theme this year is "Women in Santa Barbara County Wine". The event features six women wine makers from Santa Barbara County sharing their wines and personal stories expertly guided by moderator Gabe Saglie, local wine and travel writer. Tickets are $35 person and are limited.



Extraordinary people are often found in special places. Such is the case with Eugenia Keegan and Ken Kupperman. With perspective that comes from years spent in the world’s most famous wine regions, the management team of Eugenia and Ken bring international renown to the Willamette Valley. Their viticultural expertise and winemaking knowledge are matched with unbridled passion that help make Gran Moraine such a memorable place.

Eugenia has held many top positions during her 38 years in the wine business. She began her career with Joseph Swan Vineyards as a cellar/vineyard worker in 1976. That experience led her to numerous opportunities, including cellar intern positions in Burgundy at the prestigious producers Pousse d’Or in Volnay and Etienne Sauzet in Puligny-Montrachet. Most significantly, she took the position of business manager at Bouchaine Vineyards in Napa, California, in 1982, during the early days of the winery’s start-up and later was promoted to president and CEO. In January of 1996, she accepted the position of president at Vine Cliff Winery, also in Napa.

Eugenia’s travels took her to Oregon in 2003, where she ventured into the world of wine distribution as the founder and co-owner of Tsarina Wines, a small fine-wine-only distributor based in Portland. In 2006 Tsarina merged with the Henry Wine Group of Oregon, and Eugenia continued as co-owner and president until 2009, when the company was sold. All through the years, she has been an industry consultant and has owned her own wine brand (Keegan Cellars in the Russian River Valley and now in the Roussillon, France). Just recently, she was the acting general manager of The Four Graces in Dundee, Oregon, prior to joining Gran Moraine as general manager in April of 2014.

Gran Moraine takes its name from cataclysmic floods that occurred in the northern Willamette Valley of Oregon during the last ice age. As the glaciers receded they released a torrent of water from the once giant Lake Missoula. These famous Missoula Floods traveled across the Columbia basin helping to carve out the Columbia Gorge.

The Willamette Valley became an extremely large temporary lake and was left with huge deposits of silt as well as giant boulders with origins in current British Columbia and Idaho. These are known by geologists as erratic rocks. These erratic rock outcroppings boldly manifest themselves throughout our vineyard. They were once part of the giant glacial dam’s moraine – what we refer to as the "Gran Moraine."

The Yamhill-Carlton AVA status was granted in 2004 to distinguish fruit grown in the oldest marine sedimentary-based soils in the greater Willamette Valley. These soils and the growing conditions create wine with a profile that is distinct from that of wine from the surrounding AVAs in several significant ways. More specifically, the Pinot Noirs lean to black fruit, minerality, and floral—rose and violet—elements.

In addition, the AVA is located primarily on hillsides between 200 and 500 feet in elevation, the sweet spot for distinctive, age-worthy Pinot Noir. Although the spring can often be wet and cool, it is normal for this AVA to enjoy a more Mediterranean weather pattern from July through mid-October, as the Coast Range protects the northern parts of the Willamette Valley.

The planting of Gran Moraine was completed in 2005 with several of the best recognized Dijon clones for Pinot Noir (667, 777, 115, 114 and Pommard) and Chardonnay (76 and 95), which were grafted to both 3309 and Riparia Gloire, two well-known rootstocks that reduce vigor and promote maturity and physiological ripeness in the climatic conditions that prevail in the Willamette Valley. The clones, block sizes, and row directions were matched to the many mesoclimates on the property to maximize the potential throughout.

The most pure, intense, and expressive fruit is grown in places that barely ripen a crop. This is a result of the fruit maturing in cooler temperatures, which helps preserve flavors and acidity. In temperate climates, ripening occurs under the waning hours of autumn days, as well as the duress of imminent season-ending frost. Gran Moraine’s vineyards in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of Oregon allow the Burgundian varieties Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to achieve ripeness under these ideal conditions.

The climate of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA combined with the sedimentary rock–based soils of our growing sites produces wines with nuanced fruit and earth characters driven by ageable tannins that are structured yet elegant when young. The fruit is picked at a point thought to best express the profoundness of both the site and the vintage. After hand harvesting, it is brought at most a mere 15-minute drive to our winery.

At the winery, the fruit is hand sorted before careful processing in which our Pinot Noir is fed by gravity into open-topped tanks. Depending on the vintage, block, and clone, the fruit is left for a cold maceration period of three to eight days. During fermentation, we use punchdowns as our primary method of cap management. At the end of alcoholic fermentation, the wine is racked to 100 percent French oak barrels for maturation and slowly undergoes natural malolactic fermentation.

The end result is a wine we are confident showcases our tireless attention to detail in both the vineyard and the winery. We believe these wines are a true expression of the vintage, the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, and the culture of Oregon’s north Willamette Valley.


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