In just a few short years, SolÉna Cellars has become one of Oregon's top producers of both Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir. Launched in 2002 by Laurent Montalieu and Danielle Andrus Montalieu, this husband and wife team has wasted no time in establishing SolÉna Cellars'outstanding Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir as benchmarks for Oregon's two most prized grape varieties. And when one considers the burgeoning Oregon wine scene, the Montalieu's accomplishment constitutes no small feat, indeed.
Before establishing SolÉna Cellars, Laurent and Danielle enjoyed considerable renown in the wine industry as the force behind some of Oregon's finest wines. With their marriage in 2000, Laurent and Danielle gave birth to a new family operated winery by purchasing an eighty acre estate in Willamette Valley as a wedding gift to each other. They named the estate vineyard in Yamhill Domaine Danielle Laurent. The name of the winery, SolÉna, comes from a combination of two words that signify the sun and the moon – earth's two most powerful forces. SolÉna is also the name that Danielle and Laurent have given to their daughter.
Today, SolÉna Cellars produces a whole host of fine wines. Pinot Noir is the only varietal grown presently in the Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard, so the Montalieus fashion their exquisite Pinot Gris, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Zinfandel from other selected vineyard sites in Oregon and Washington State. So taken has the public and the press been by this couple's wines that they have already been served at official state dinners at the White House and are now highly allocated. What else could one expect from two great wine personalities whose impetus is the sun and the moon?
Willamette Valley: The Heart of Oregon Wine Country
Oregon's Willamette Valley was the destination and the dream of thousands of 19th century pioneers as they migrated west across the Great American Desert to "the promised land," a green oasis where crops and orchards bore fruit aplenty. Today, the Willamette Valley retains its original allure. It is the center of the Oregon wine and fruit industries and it has become a haven for many environmental and high tech industries.
Today, the Willamette Valley is home to more than two thirds of the wineries and vineyards in Oregon. At last count there were more than two hundred wineries in this broad and varied valley that follows the Willamette River from north to south for a hundred miles from the Columbia River to just south of Eugene. The Willamette Valley is one of the premier places on earth for the cultivation of Pinot Noir, one of the finest, yet most difficult grape varieties to grow. So favorable is this land for Pinot Noir that Willamette Valley is mentioned in the same breath as Burgundy and a few select cool weather locations in California as one of the few placse on earth for growing the often magical, yet mercurial Pinot Noir grape. Willamette Valley, also, provides ideal terroir for Pinot Gris and other premium white varietals.