Imagine meeting your future spouse and business partner in the cellar of a Willamette Valley custom-crush winery. That’s the sweet truth behind Syncline!
Poppie moved to Oregon from Massachusetts in 1997 after world travel and study, to capitalize on her love for wine and get involved in its farming and production. James hailed from the Midwest with a degree in Microbiology and Organic Chemistry, a background he hoped to apply to winemaking. What was once a crush became drunken love, and the two started dreaming of a winery of their own.
Jumping into a new growth of vineyards in Columbia Valley, Washington, Syncline Winery began with inspiration from Rhône and Burgundy grape varietals in the area. Since then, the winery has collaborated with other growers, but with no plans to exceed 6,000 cases annually to “ensure intimacy with each barrel and every vine.”
The wine nerds might like to know that all grapes are hand-picked and delivered partially de-stemmed to the winery, then get fermented in a variety of vessels, including concrete fermenters, with various yeasts. Each lot gets a satisfying foot trod, manual punchdowns or pump-overs. Resulting wines are bottled either before the next harvest or the following spring.
So what’s a syncline? It’s a trough-like geographic feature made of stratified rock – the beds dip toward each other from either side to make lines like the rings in a tree trunk. The Mantone’s estate vineyard, Steep Creek Ranch, sits east of a set of 300-foot cliffs that rise up out of the Columbia River into surrounding mountains, locally known as the Coyote Wall Syncline.