Panther Creek Cellars has been producing top quality wines (primarily Pinot Noir) since 1986. Built inside McMinnville's former power plant, Panther Creek Cellars sits in the heart of Oregon's fertile Willamette Valley.

Philosophically, we at Panther Creek are minimal interventionists. We work hard in the vineyards to obtain the best fruit, then expend our best efforts to coax from the fruit all it can give, without resorting to filtering, fining or additives.

Since 1994, winemaking has been under the direction of Mark Vlossak and assistant winemaker Michael Stevenson. In November 1999, Michael Stevenson was named Panther Creek’s winemaker; Mark Vlossak continues as consulting winemaker.

Normal production is 7000-7500 cases, although the spectacular 1998 vintage will come in closer to 5000 cases. We returned to normal production with the 1999 harvest, estimated at 7,300 cases.

At the winery we hand sort every cluster on a sorting conveyor to remove second crop, leaves, botrytis, etc. The fruit is gently crushed in a Rauch destemmer-crusher and pumped into refrigerated stainless steel tanks, where it is cold-macerated for 5-8 days. After cold maceration the tanks are inoculated with up to four different strains of yeast (all slow acting to protract extraction) and fermented for an average of 10 days. We usually do a post-fermentation maceration with argon gas for 2-4 days. The must is pressed in a Willmes membrane press, and racked into tanks to settle for 10 days or so. The wine is then racked by into French oak barrels, where it will age for 10-18 months, depending on the wine.

The wine is generally racked only once, and is not fined or filtered (we view fining and filtration as remedial measures to be avoided absent compelling circumstances). The percentage of new French oak varies from 25-80% in the Pinot noir, and from 5-30% in the Melon and Chardonnay. The wines are hand bottled using a 12-head rotary filler, after double gas sparging, and corked with a vacuum corker. The corks we use are 2" top grade peroxide sterilized, so the chances of "corked" wine are negligible. The Reserve, Winemaker's Cuvée and Vineyard Designated wines are packed in lay-down containers separated with three molded wine trays.

Robert Parker has said that our wines "which are Oregon's most beautifully packaged (stylish label, heavy glass bottles), are also among the most concentrated and ageworthy wines now being made in Oregon... Panther Creek has established itself as one of the most consistent, high quality Oregon wineries."

Panther Creek Cellars / 455 N. Irvine / McMinnville, OR  97128 / 503-472-8080

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