Harry Peterson-Nedry is the founder, winemaker, and managing partner of Chehalem, one of Oregon’s premier wineries. Harry initially applied degrees in Chemistry and English from the University of North Carolina to a career in high-tech manufacturing. His interest in wine began innocently enough as a hobby, but developed into a serious passion—deeply rooted when he planted his 55-acre Ridgecrest Vineyards in 1980. Ridgecrest was not only the first of Harry’s vineyards, but was also the first vineyard development in Oregon’s newly designated Ribbon Ridge AVA. Ultimately, what began as a hobby led to a radical change in career paths.
Harry’s interest in the wine industry extends far beyond the wines of Chehalem. He has been appointed to and is now serving a second term on the Oregon Wine Board by Governor Kulongoski and serves on the board of WineAmerica (formerly the American Vintners Association), the national trade association for America’s wineries. He also has represented Oregon at the International Pinot Gris Symposium in Germany and has worked to establish Oregon Pinot Camp, ORCA (the Oregon Chardonnay Alliance), Willamette Valley AVAs (authoring the Ribbon Ridge petition), and to raise Riesling awareness.
Their Pinot gris style is unique, largely because their standard for emulation is Alsace. They produce two distinct wines: a tank fermented Pinot gris that is bright and crisp, and a rich, round Pinot Gris Reserve that is barrel fermented in neutral oak. An intense, bone dry Riesling and rich, full fruited Pinot blanc continue their Alsace resemblance. They also produce a 100% tank-fermented, unoaked Chardonnay, INOX, and Ian’s Reserve Chardonnay, a wine rich and full with 100% Dijon clone fruit.
For Pinot noir, their main distribution wine is the 3 Vineyard Pinot Noir, complemented by limited amounts of Reserve Pinot Noir and a vineyard designate from each of their estate vineyards.
Their philosophy and style do not always follow the industry norms or market trends. That they look for deftness and elegance in Pinot noirs at a time when black, opaque, extracted and heavily wooded wines are the norm, speaks to this sense. That they crop-thin Pinot gris as aggressively as Pinot noir and look for optimal ripeness such that it is harvested after Pinot noir indicates an almost obsessive attention to detail. At a time when Riesling is being pulled out, Chehalem counter intuitively plants prime acres to this variety, convinced it as sensitively reflects site and climate for white wine as Pinot noir does for red.
Many Oregon wineries have added sustainable practices. Chehalem’s newsletter outlines and explains a lot of their efforts and the results. Some of the practices included lighter bottles, screwcaps, improved techonologies, using recyclables and reused materials in the refurnishing of an older builingding, and much much more.
You can find their tasting room at
31190 NE Veritas Lane
Newberg, OR 97132