As a businessman, Adam Godlee Campbell can talk as pragmatically as you like about market share, distribution pipelines, and production capacity. But as a winemaker, Adam can also talk as mystically about wine as the most romantic idealist.
"I think the more you care about the wines in your cellar," he comments, "the better they become. Not just because of the little practical things you do to take care of them, but also because you're thinking about them all the time. There is something about giving them constant attention-the wines that I go back and taste and then taste again, somehow those are the wines that become the stars of the cellar."
Adam is in the forefront of the "second generation" of Oregon winemakers: men and women who are taking over the successful wineries built by their parents. They have a special challenge to balance a heritage of great winemaking with the running of a successful long-term business.
"It is important for me to be cautious," says Adam about managing Elk Cove Vineyards, "because this is my parents' entire retirement, plus it has to support my family as well."
And yet . . . there is an emotional component to Elk Cove that is always present for Adam.
"Making wine in general and making Pinot noir in particular is such a personal thing," he explains. "I think what guides my style is having grown up on the property and having been involved in a family business from the very beginning. I was very young when my parents were dreaming all this up, but every night at dinner we'd talk collectively about it."
That kind of perspective makes the business of Elk Cove very personal. "The first vineyard I bought in 1995 was land I rode past on the school bus every day as a kid," he says. "Sometimes I discount that as not being very important, but when you think about it, that is quite a perspective as I make our wines."