Iris Vineyards: Sip and Savor Consciously Crafted Wines from Oregon


By Linda Kissam, “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva”


ON BIG BLEND RADIO: It’s all about Iris Vineyards in Oregon with travel writer Linda Kissam, the “Food, Wine & Shopping Diva,” winemaker Aaron Lieberman, and wine media specialist Carl Giavanti. Watch here in the YouTube player or download the podcast on Spreaker, PodBean, or SoundCloud.


A boutique winery and vineyard, Iris Vineyards specializes in producing small quantities of quality, handcrafted Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and sparkling wines. Since the first plantings at the winery’s Lorane Valley Vineyard, Iris Vineyards has been dedicated to growing high-quality fruit through sustainable viticulture practices.

“We work hard at making the best possible wines from the grapes we grow in our own vineyard and those we purchase from others.“ Iris makes wines that are true to the varietal listed on the label of each bottle, being ongoing stewards and protectors of the environment they work in.  “We believe that great wines require the hands-on effort of a talented winemaker who has an intimate understanding of the vineyards from which the wine grapes originate and each lot of wine in the cellar.”  The proof, as you would expect is in each bottle. The brand is nationally distributed. The wines are reasonably priced, and also sold through the winery’s online store at

Iris Vineyards is owned by native Oregonians, Pamela Frye and Richard Boyles. The Chalice Vineyard at Iris Hill was planted in 1996.  The foundational vintage was 2001. The family lives on their 870-acre family estate overlooking Iris Vineyards south of Eugene. A winery was built on the estate with a 25,000 case capacity. Annual production is about 14,000 cases. The winemaker is Aaron Lieberman who has over a decade of experience in Oregon winemaking. Winemaker Lieberman’s winemaking philosophy is to create fruit-forward wines that honor their source with crisp acidity and low alcohol. Visitors can now visit the new Iris Vineyard Wine Bar centrally located in downtown Springfield, Oregon.

Average phenological events:

~ Bud Break – third week of April

~ Bloom – 3rd/4th week of June

~ Veraison – 3rd/4th week of August

~ Harvest (sparkling) – second week of September

~ Harvest (still) – begins last week of September, finishes last week of October

  •  Iris Vineyards in Oregon
    Iris Vineyards in Oregon


2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Gris:
Pinot Gris, for me, can be a-hit-or-miss proposition varying wildly from winery to winery. Too often this pleasurable wine presents light in color with a flabby or nondescript flavor. Iris Vineyards has found the magic to this wine.  The aromas bring notes of spring flowers and juicy pink grapefruit. The flavors blend well and present with pleasing acidity, and aromas of Asian pear and pineapple with a lively balanced palate. The versatility of this wine allows it to pair well with halibut, scallops, and Pad Thai. About $15.

2020 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: The Pinot grape is a finicky vineyard soldier. It is extremely hard to grow. It needs just the right soil, temperature, sunlight, and attention during winemaking. If conditions are good, expect some phenomenal wine; if not, things go haywire producing a substandard blend. I think you’ll love this version with its smell-to-taste delivery of pomegranate, earthy spice, and wild raspberry aromas further complemented by red plums and blueberries. Each release is carefully crafted from grapes grown in some of the finest vineyards in the Willamette Valley.  About $24

Iris Vineyards Brut: The aromas are nuanced, with beautiful notes of baked bread, stone fruit, and citrus zest. Fresh, clean flavors are ready to be served to novice and aficionado alike. The taste profile of this wine makes it a great choice for appetizers or a dinner entry. We served this sparkler and a shrimp appetizer to friends on our boat. Delicious. Sometimes…shake things up a bit and serve this wine with corn dogs. Yup, corn dogs. Corn dogs are salty, fried, and fatty, with a little sweetness in the batter. And that makes them an ideal partner to the acidity in brut champagne. Just sayin’. About $30

Tasting new wines offer the opportunity to pair them with new recipes. Winemaker Aaron Lieberman recommends two recipes that will pair well with the above-mentioned Iris Vineyards wines. Braised Lamb Shanks with Peppers is a recipe by Annette Gertner that was adapted by Florence Fabricant and featured in the New York Times. Yeasted Pancakes as featured in the book Beard on Bread by James Beard pairs especially well with the Iris Vineyards Brut.

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits. Visit

About the Author:

Linda Kissam ‘Food, Wine & Shopping Diva’ is a professional travel, food, and wine writer who specializes in easy, breezy destination stories sharing her favorite things about the places she visits.

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