Or everything you’d want to know about St. Josef’s (and a little bit more). Planted in 1978, St Josef’s is one of the pioneer wineries in the Northwest and one of the first 25 in Oregon.
What people are saying about us:
“Of all the picturesque wineries in the Willamette Valley for family owned coziness try St Josef’s…we’ve yet to find a better place to sip” – Portland Monthly
’4 stars’ – Yelp,’4 1/2 stars’– Travelscape,’86 Points’- Cork’d,’Top 10 Secret Sweet Spots in Oregon’– Mt Hood Territory
St. Josef’s History
Like many family owned and operated businesses, we have a story! Founders’ Josef and Lilli both have European roots. Josef (the winemaker) was born in Hungary and had wine in his veins as his grandfather had a winery in the picturesque valleys of Central Hungary. After WWII the families were kicked out of the Eastern Block as private lands and businesses were confiscated. Josef grew up along the shores of Lake Constance in Southern Germany. Lilli (the boss) was born into a German community in Odessa, Russia. During WWII her family was resettled to Eastern Germany, which they fled soon after.
After studying and then apprenticing in baking, Josef immigrated to the states in the late 50s where he pursued a number of interests in the restaurant and food business in New York City and then Chicago. Josef and Lilli met amongst the German community in Chicago – and the rest is history.
Opportunity for new adventures and land brought them to the NW where Josef established a string of European bakeries. Always hard working and ambitious they had a vision to plant, cultivate and produce high quality wines. Josef and Lilli worked long days at the bakeries and even longer nights and weekends establishing a farm & vineyards. After more than a decade of baking across Portland, Josef finally turned in his baker’s apron and the smell of rising dough for the full-time use of rubber boots and aromas of fermenting wine.
Josef and Lilli purchased acreage in the Willamette Valley about 30 miles South of Portland in the ‘garden spot’ next to the farming towns of Canby and Aurora, OR. Known in history books as the end of the Oregon Trail, the Willamette Valley boasts rich farmlands and favorable weather. Because of the soil content, combined with hot days, cool nights and abundant water Josef realized it was an ideal place for an aspiring vintner. The first vineyards were planted in 1978 and after a few years of hard work and vision; they produced the first commercial (legal) vintage in 1983. Producing quality wines many years before the world had heard of the outstanding varietals of the region, St. Josef’s is one of Oregon’s true wine pioneers.
At first Josef concentrated on producing wines that he was familiar with from the days of his youth: For white, he produced light, off dry Rieslings and Gewürztraminers, as well as Alsatian style Pinot Gris. For Reds, the up and coming Pinot Noir as well as bold full-bodied reds similar to his grandfathers produced in Hungary. (St Josef’s 1983 and 1985 Cabernets both won gold medals in the NY Wine show). Now St Josef’s makes small batches of 5 white wines and 5 reds, along with a line of barrel select reserve selections. Favorites include Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Riesling and Syrah.
We are celebrating over 30 years in the business and proud to remain family owned and operated with 3 generations involved in the winery and vineyards. Please come visit and enjoy the European hospitality, the wines, and the people. The St Josef family is what you’d expect to find in the wine business: hard working and fun-loving people that strive to make the next vintage the best one yet!
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