A Toast to Barrels

The oak barrel is much more than a simple storage vessel, as it plays a key role in the development of red and white wines. Join us for this interactive session on barrels where we will discuss key aspects of barrel production with a Master Cooper and explore cutting edge research on the interaction between barrels, oxygen and wine with a world-leading expert on barrels and oxygen. Come prepared with questions for our winemaker panel who will be discussing key steps in developing an effective and impactful barrel program.

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Speaker Bios

Dr. Ignacio Nevares is an agricultural engineer specializing in agro-food industries at the Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. He earned his Ph.D. from the Universidad de Valladolid. In 2000, in collaboration with Dr. Del Alamo-Sanza, he created the research group UVaMOX focused on oxygen and wine aging. Within this multidisciplinary group, Ignacio has been responsible for the area of engineering applied to oenology with a specialization of more than 20 years in the measurement of dissolved oxygen and the application of sensors and automation in wine aging and oenology in general. His line of research has focused on the evaluation, characterization and improvement of the processes of wine aging with the application of optical measurement techniques, image analysis and control. For the last few years, he has focused on the study of the aspects that control and define the functioning of the oak barrel as an active container with a physical approach, as well as on the characterization of oxygen diffusion in wood and other materials used in oenology.
Brennon Leighton is the vice president of winemaking and viticulture at Wines of Substance where he oversees all viticulture, vineyard relations and winemaking for all Charles Smith brands, including K Vintners, ViNO CasaSmith, Substance, POPUP Sparkling, Golden West, B. Leighton Wines and SIXTO. Considered to be one of the best winemakers in the state of Washington by wine critics and connoisseurs alike, Brennon has over 20 years of experience in winemaking and viticulture. Prior to working at Wines of Substance, Leighton worked in vineyards in California, eventually returning to Seattle to work for Chateau Ste. Michelle and later as head winemaker for Efeste. After first meeting in the early 1990s, Brennon and Charles Smith reconnected, and Brennon was as a consultant to help with Smith’s well-known wine, Kung Fu Girl Riesling. Two years later, in 2012, Brennon was hired as the winery’s full-time winemaker, and Smith’s partner in his new Chardonnay project – SIXTO. Brennon’s thoughtful, kind and intense passion for wine made him perfect for the job.
Dr. James Osborne is an associate professor and enology extension specialist in the food science and technology department at Oregon State University and a member of the Oregon Wine Research Institute. He received his Ph.D. from Washington State University in 2005 researching interactions between wine yeast and bacteria, after which he spent time in his native New Zealand working at the University of Auckland. His current research focuses on the impact of wine microorganisms on wine quality. James provides outreach programs for the Oregon wine industry such as technical workshops and seminars to aid in the transfer of relevant research results to winery application. In addition, James teaches undergraduate and graduate classes in support of the enology and viticulture program at Oregon State University.
Raised in Salt Lake City, Kate Payne Brown first came to Oregon to study at the University of Oregon where she received a B.S. in general science with emphasis on biology and chemistry. She had intended to go to optometry school and had worked in the field for a number of years before the allure of winemaking led her to Adelaide, Australia where she completed her master’s degree in oenology. After working in Australia she made her way back to Oregon to work at Archery Summit for six years as assistant winemaker before leaving to work for Kyriakos Kynignopoulos’ French consultancy. She now is a winemaker at Stoller Family Estate focusing on the sparkling wine program and Reserve/Legacy tier wines. When she is not at the winery she is often found chasing her spirited boys around, cooking, doing yoga and pursuing the ever elusive work/life balance. She can roll a barrel like nobody’s business but still struggles to get the perfect line when stacking barrels on stillage.

Sam has chaired the Oregon Business Association, the Oregon Wine Board and the Oregon Winegrowers Association, was a member of the Nature Conservancy’s Oregon Business Leaders’ Greenhouse Gas Emission Reduction Task Force, the International Pinot Noir Celebration Board and the Governor’s GMO Task Force. He currently serves on the board of the Oregon Business Council, Oregon Business and Industry, Oregon State’s Food Science and Technology Advisory Board, Business Oregon’s Futures Commission, and is co-founder of the Oregon Food and Beverage Leadership Council.

Ben Casteel is the son of Terry Casteel and Marilyn Webb, co-founders of Bethel Heights Vineyard. Ben grew up at Bethel Heights. The vineyard was where he played as a child and it was where he spent his summers working as a teenager.

After college Ben spent a season working the ’99 harvest in Burgundy, then returned to Oregon to work at REX HILL under Lynn Penner-Ash, where he spent the next five years working his way up to assistant winemaker. In 2005 when Ben’s father retired as winemaker at Bethel Heights, Ben agreed to accept the position.

Ben strives to continue the vision of his father and family to produce wines that reflect time and place at Bethel Heights Vineyard, more than the hand of the winemaker. It is a vision born of thoughtful experimentation, patience and restraint, and one that he believes can only reach fulfillment with a focus first—and foremost—in viticulture.

Anna Matzinger is co-owner and winemaker for the Matzinger Davies Wine Company, a small family brand founded in 2006 with her Kiwi husband Michael Davies (REX HILL, A to Z), specializing in small lot Pinot noir and Chardonnay from the north Willamette Valley and single site Sauvignon Blanc and Grenache from the Columbia River Gorge. Arriving to Oregon’s Willamette Valley for the harvest of 1999 from Idaho by way of California, Australia and New Zealand with the hopes of making some of the world’s finest Pinot noir, Anna’s path led to a 14-year stretch at Archery Summit where she rose to winemaker and general manager, garnering numerous accolades and helping steward and nurture both winery and brand in their growth and distinction as a producer of world class wines. In 2014 Anna began consulting for several Oregon wineries and deeply enjoys the pursuit of helping to bring voice to client’s wines through connecting site and process with the people who make them.
Ramiro Herrera is a Master Cooper currently crafting barrels for Caldwell Vineyard in Napa, California. He started making barrels over 25 years ago with Seguin Moreau’s Napa cooperage and within a few years was offered the opportunity to travel to Cognac, France to begin training as a Master Cooper. Out of 40 participants in the four-year program, Ramiro was one of only two to complete his degree and earn the distinguished title of Master Cooper.

Ramiro spent 19 years with Seguin Moreau involved in many facets of the business from production supervising and training to inventory control and sales in Mexico and South America. In 2014 Ramiro began working for Caldwell Vineyard as their exclusive Master Cooper. Each year he travels to a small cooperage in France and personally crafts all the barrels used for the Caldwell Vineyard wines.