Brad and Kathleen McLeroy arrived in Oregon in 2000, piled into a car with two dogs, no house, no land, and no jobs. Prior to their move, Brad owned a wine shop in Kansas City, Missouri, and both had a dream of owning a winery someday. They had set their sights on Oregon, having a love for Oregon Pinot Noir and a familial connection to the state-- Kathleen’s great, great grandfather was a pioneer on the Oregon Trail.
Upon their arrival, Brad sold wine for a small distributor and honed his winemaking skills at Domaine Drouhin Oregon. Under the direction of Véronique Drouhin, Brad worked the 2000 through 2006 harvests, serving as the cellar master for the last three years.
In 2000, Brad and Kathleen purchased the Newberg, Oregon property that would become the site of Ayres Vineyard, in the Ribbon Ridge AVA. The first vines were planted in 2001, and their first commercial vintage was 2003. In 2006 Brad left Domaine Drouhin Oregon to become Ayres Vineyard’s full-time winemaker. Brad brings a wealth of knowledge and experience from his work as a retailer, distributor, and now producer of wines, while Kathleen runs the winery’s day-to-day operations.
Ayres' Pinot Noir line represent an increasingly narrowing snapshot of the vineyard’s special location; The Perspective Pinot Noir is a symphony of estate fruit and neighboring farms, The Lewis Rogers Lane Pinot Noir is produced from estate fruit only, the Pioneer Pinot Noir is produced from single clone 667, and One Pinot Noir is bottled from a single fermenter.
More information: ayresvineyard.com
Photos by Josh Chang.