Hello my name is Chris Barnes. My wife, Bethany, and I are the owners of Artem Wine Company and I do all of the farming and winemaking for the company.
In my early 20’s I became very interested in wine and started researching and trying wines from all around the world. My love of wine eventually grew into a dream of having my own vineyard and farming it myself. Around 2008 or so I had decided that Oregon was the place that I eventually wanted to be. Eventually in 2011 my wife and I purchased on a piece of land on the western edge of the Yamhill-Carlton AVA and set out on our mission to plant a vineyard. In 2012 we planted our first vines, mainly Pinot Noir, and have been slowly expanding ever since. Today the vineyard is about 11 acres and we have about 50% Pinot Noir (Pommard, 777, 828 clones), 1 acre of Dolcetto, 1 acre of Lagrein, 1 acre of Sauv Blanc, 1 acre of Scheurebe, and 1 acre of Gewurztraminer. We will be planting an acre of Gammay Noir next month.
In 2015 we had our first harvest of Pinot Noir, Sauv. Blanc, Dolcetto and Lagrein and we produced the wine at a local winery. After the first harvest I did some math and decided that I would rather build for my own winery rather than pay to produce our wines elsewhere. So, in the summer of 2016 I started construction of our winery and managed to get it finished and bonded in time for the 2016 harvest.
We’ve completed two harvests now and so far everything has gone really well! My project for early 2018 is to complete our tasting room which I hope to open in March.
Our wines: My goals with whites and reds are actually quite opposite of each other.
For white wine production I have a particular focus on developing very aromatic, fruit forward whites with a backbone of acid balanced with some residual sugar. We keep all of our white ferments very cold to preserve as much of the aromas as possible (by keeping the yeast lethargic ) and I stop the fermentations before they go to dryness. I feel that the residual sugar gives the wine a really nice mouth feel and stopping the fermentation also helps to preserve the volatile aromas in the wine. In 2016 we also did 12-24 hours of skin contact with all of our whites. Currently we offer a Gewurztraminer, Riesling, and a Late Harvest Riesling.
For red production (which has been primarily Pinot Noir, until 2017) my goals are to develop deep rich and dark fruit flavors. I try to achieve this goal through various farming techniques (with the goal of increasing tannin in the fruit). I then try and extract as much as I can from the berries through cold soaks (typically) and, occasionally, post-fermentation soaks.
We have two Pinot Noirs available from 2015 (from our vineyard and a friend of mine in Eola-Amity Hills) and they are both showing really well. Each wine is made in a slightly different style; the Eola-Amity Hills Pinot is more of a classic Pinot Noir with bright fruit and lots of cherries. The Yamhill-Carlton Pinot is a monster Pinot with a good amount of new oak, dark fruit character and some drying tannin on the finish.
We are also offering a dry Pinot Gris Orange Wine which was soaked on skins for 1 month and barrel aged for 6 months before bottling. This is a unique and interesting wine that goes great with food (shown in the photo below).
Thanks for your time, if you’re out and about in the Willamette Valley feel free to contact me for a visit. I am very passionate about farming and winemaking and love to talk about it.