In February 2014 Forbes published an article titled “How to Start a Winery in Napa if You Can’t afford $100K an Acre.” The subjects of the article were three wine industry veterans, Noah Dorrance, Baron Ziegler, and Steve Graf, all of whom hoped they’d have their own winery some day. They had effectively been priced out, until in 2009 Dorrance spotted a potential way in. He noticed hundreds of barrels gathering dust at the winery he worked at, destined eventually for $50-60 bottles of Pinot. Cash-crunched because of the recession, the winery was having trouble getting the raw product into bottles. In a “confluence of skill and timing,” Dorrance negotiated a good deal and he and his business partners snapped up 20 barrels. They sold out within two months, and Banshee Wines, named for Dorrance’s dog, has been going gangbusters ever since. Averaen is their new Willamette Valley enterprise, with this 2015 being their first vintage. Made from fruit sourced from some of Willamette Valley’s best vineyards, this is a Pinot that is lithe and appealingly fresh on the palate, with intense raspberry, cherry, and spiced-cake flavors that deepen and spread out with air.
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