Posted by: santiamtocoast | August 28, 2010

Piluso Vineyard & Winery – Shaw, Oregon

I went wine-tasting today at a charming family-owned and run vineyard near Aumsville, located in the same microclimate as some of the wineries recently profiled by the Oregonian.

The vineyard is right off Highway 22 and very easy to find – but still feels off the beaten path and remarkably intimate. I pulled in past the vineyard’s four acres of vines and found the tasting room, where I was greeted by a woman who turned out to be the winemaker herself, Sandee Piluso.

I’d met her once before when I’d featured her vineyard in a story a year ago, and I’d always meant to try her wines.

I was her only customer that morning, although I dropped by about a half-hour after they opened for the day. I got to taste at least five or six wines and purchased two bottles for a little over $30. Many of her wines have a dry finish balanced with fruit or floral flavors. I particularly enjoyed her spicy, fragrant pinots and her only white that day, an excellent dry muller thurgau, a Riesling Sylvaner hybrid. I’m not typically a fan of dessert wines, but I enjoyed the green apple flavors of her bianco dolce.

Sandee Piluso introduced each wine with an unpretentious but accurate description of its flavors, and chatted about how the vineyard was doing given the late spring and her story (every winemaker has a story).

Before she bought the vineyard of her dreams in 2000, she had been a single mom living in Beaverton working odd jobs, trying to make ends meet. Then she’d been one of the first graduates of Chemeketa Community College’s now popular vineyard management/winemaking program and found the farm for sale in the Shaw/Aumsville area.

Now Sandee and her husband, Pinky, and their family run the vineyard just east of Salem, and she says business is growing. They cooperate with nearby Pudding River Wine Cellars to produce the wines and she takes a sustainable approach with her grapes.

About 90 percent of their production is sold out of their tasting room, but they also have retail locations at wine shops and restaurants throughout Oregon, including the Wine Place in Yachats. Her website lists where you can find the wines.

IF YOU GO
Piluso Vineyard and Winery’s tasting room is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April to December. It’s part of the East Valley Wine Tour and located at 6654 Shaw Highway SE, Aumsville. For more information, go to their website at www.pilusowines.com, call them at 503-749-4125 or email them at pilusovineyard@pilusowines.com.

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