Oregon wine has been a constant presence in the Holstein family. In 1978, Jackson Holstein’s parents left their home state of Kentucky and drove to Oregon in a Chevy pickup truck. A few years later they purchased a 10 acre vineyard in the hills of Dundee where they built a modest house in which to raise a family. This became the Holstein Vineyard, where Jackson was born and raised. At the time, his father, Allen, was managing vineyards for some of Oregon's wine pioneers, including Domain Drouhin, Stoller, Knudsen, and Argyle Winery. Jackson’s earliest memories consist of bouncing around the back of a pickup truck from vineyard to vineyard, day after day. Tractors and wine barrels were his playground, and the smell of Pinot Noir was home.
Jackson studied Natural Resources at Oregon State where he grew accustomed to making wine in closets, garages and old barns to pay the rent. After finishing school, he spent time working in local wineries as well as in Australia. After returning, Jackson accepted a job at Advanced Vineyard Systems where he spent time as a vineyard manager for multiple sites in the Willamette Valley before moving to work on Granville full-time.
Upon graduating from Linfield College with a degree in economics, Ayla began working with a local sustainability startup company. However, when the opportunity presented itself to work in the wine industry, she couldn’t resist. She spent years working on all three sides of production, wine-growing, cellar work, and sales. She also ventured off internationally to the Yarra Valley of Australia.
In 2014, together with the support of family, friends and canines, Jackson and Ayla started Granville Wine Co. Right before harvest of 2017 they started a family. In addition to Granville, they farm and manage the family’s 10.5 acre Holstein vineyard.
From Jackson: “My earliest memories are in the back of a pick-up truck, bouncing along dirt roads from one vineyard to another in the Willamette Valley. Even now, nothing makes me feel more at home than the familiar sights and sounds of a vineyard during growing season. A dedicated viticulturist, my father exposed me to every aspect of his job and I began absorbing the craft bit by bit. It wasn’t always glamorous. Most of the time it was full of dust, tractor grease, and hands that seemed to be permanently stained.
And like any kid, I created games out of my environment. Hide-and-seek between vines and barrels and, to my father’s great displeasure, ‘chicken’ with the slow-moving vineyard tractors. To keep me out of trouble, I was put to work. I earned my allowance pruning vines in winter and washing picking bins during harvest. The results varied. Some vintages were superb, while seasons of torrential rain left us battered and emotional. Our family’s happiness and success were deeply tied to these vines and this land, a feeling which would only deepen over the years and decades.
Fast forward a few years. I was a clueless college student who’d become disinterested in cheap beer and increasingly intrigued by the bottles that decorated our dinner table growing up. After all, my father had dedicated his life to farming Oregon wine and I figured deserved my appreciation. After getting my hands on a few clandestine bottles of wine from my father’s cellar, my fascination with the intricacies of grape-growing and winemaking began to germinate.
During my last years of college, I bartered my way into a few bins of grapes from our family’s vineyard and convinced one of my professors to let me experiment in his old moonshine barn. In a short time, I found myself immersed in every aspect of winemaking, and with a healthy amount of experimental inventory to consume. After graduation, I spent several years managing vineyards and working in wine cellars oversees, all while maintaining the personal ambition that would one day become Granville.
Then, after more than 35 years of growing Oregon wine, my father retired. This moment presented the opportunity for us to lease the family vineyard. All had come full circle as I found myself back at the place of my formation in order to pursue its result. Just over the hill from my wife’s childhood home, this place became Granville Wine Co. It was nothing short of destiny when we decided to return to our roots in the hills that shaped us. We’re two proud Oregonians, born and raised in the hills of Dundee. At a young age, we had the red dirt of Dundee in their hands and between our toes.
Together Ayla and I have dedicated ourselves to nurturing a product and brand that represents all that we love about this special spot in the heart of the Willamette Valley. Through our wines, we embrace the present and show gratitude for the past. While it's no small undertaking, this is what we believe in and who we are. Most of our days are spent in the vineyards, practicing the art of wine growing and connecting with people who appreciate our goal of making products honest to the land. Our work starts at the beginning of every growing season and doesn’t end until we can share a glass with you. After all, we're only as good as what we stand on.”