With two decades involvement in the internationally renowned South African winery Hamilton Russell Vineyards, Olive Hamilton Russell together with her husband Anthony Hamilton Russell, wanted to explore winemaking possibilities in the Northern Hemisphere. After an initial exploration of Burgundy, their search for world class, cool-climate Pinot noir and Chardonnay led to the Santa Rita Hills and eventually to Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Regular visits to the area when showcasing Hamilton Russell Vineyards wines, reinforced the believe that the Willamette Valley is best suited in the US to produce Pinot noir and Chardonnay fruit capable of expressing these varieties in a more refined classical style.
Serendipitous relationships enabled access to Pinot noir grapes from the very best vineyard sites from the beginning. With the Southern Hemisphere vintage safely maturing in the cellar, Hamilton Russell Vineyards winemaker Emul Ross was able to travel to Oregon to make the maiden vintage in 2018. Working initially with two famous Pinot noir vineyards in the sub-AVA’s of Eola-Amity Hills and Ribbon Ridge, the decision was made in 2019 to settled on a single Pinot noir from the Zena Crown Vineyard in the Eola-Amity Hills, adding an exciting new (2014 planted) Chardonnay vineyard, Maple Grove. Today Emul is still making the wines, with Olive assisting.