Why Custom Crush is the Focus At This Winery

Custom crush partnerships connect those who want to make wine with the expertise, facilities, and resources needed to do so. Most partnerships connect grape growers without winemaking equipment or a dedicated winemaker with a bonded winery capable of processing fruit into wine.

Many such wineries in Oregon’s Willamette Valley offer custom crush winemaking on a contract basis, but these partnerships are usually not the focus of those wineries, whose own wines and brand recognition remain their top priority.

Vinovate, a new winemaking facility, estate vineyard and enology think tank located in the Dundee Hills AVA, is opening a winery solely dedicated to small-production custom crush winemaking.

The devoted custom crush winery was founded by Rob Townsend, Pam Turner, and Scott Baldwin, longtime investors in Yamhill County’s economic and cultural landscape, and Winemaker Bryan Weil. 

The facility will open its doors ahead of the 2023 harvest.

“These are exciting times for the Oregon wine industry, so I’m beyond thrilled to be opening Vinovate now,” Weil said. “We’re building a state-of-the-art winery and hiring the most experienced team possible to serve premium wine brands with complex custom crush needs. I can’t wait to get started.”

Designed by architect Juancarlos Fernandez, Vinovate’s new 24,000-square-foot facility features state-of-the-art design and technology, including a two-story, gravity-flow production space with an elevated crush pad, ample climate-controlled fruit chilling areas, various-sized blending tanks, and winemaking equipment for both sparkling and still wines. Its multiple barrel rooms provide space to produce and age 25,000 to 50,000 cases of wine annually.

The 40-acre estate vineyard will eventually provide an additional fruit source for wines made at Vinovate and is being planted and managed with a regenerative organic approach to maximize carbon capture. 

The facility utilizes solar power, rainwater collection, and wastewater recycling, while vineyard stewards will enlist the help of grazing animals to clear invasive vegetation in the place of engine-powered machines. 

Vinovate recently announced 2023 partnerships with luxury newcomer Ambar Estate, boutique brands Rain Dance Vineyards and Bellinger Estates, and esteemed iconic Knudsen Vineyards. 

“We’re thrilled to collaborate with Vinovate on the production of Knudsen Vineyards wines starting with the 2023 vintage,” said Page Knudsen Cowles, Managing Partner at Knudsen Vineyards. “As a pioneering Oregon vineyard, we have been a leader in viticultural innovation for over 50 years. This new winemaking relationship with Vinovate builds on that legacy and furthers our founding mission to produce truly world-class wines.”

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