Steve Anderson of Eola Hills Wine Cellars

Was there a specific wine, moment or place that unlocked your passion?

Steve Anderson: My college roommate invited me to spend the Christmas break with his family in France. At the time, I was not a fan of wine, and had only liked a few white wines before. In conversation, I made a blanket statement about not liking red wines. For that comment, I was then tricked into a blind tasting of two wines. I don’t honestly recall the white wine but assume it was a dry white, aged in barrel and tannic. The other was a Beaujolais Village, soft, mellow, fruity and, in the end, a RED wine. The crowd cheered with laughter as I raised the glass of red wine, declaring it the white wine. I removed my mask, confident I was correct, only to find out I was wrong. I lost a lot of preconceptions about wine that evening. The very next day my host took me visit several wineries in Vouvray– my favorite WHITE wine.

What did you study in school and what were you doing before you started in the wine industry?

SA: I received a BS in Horticulture from Oregon State University. Prior to winemaking, I was a farmhand at a retail nursery, drill instructor with the US Army Reserves and worked as an Explosive Ordnance Disposal bomb technician with the US Army. After graduating from OSU with plans to become a nurseryman, I started at Eola Hills as a cellar rat in 1993 and have been making wine here ever since.

How has being in the wine industry changed you?

SA: I have been making wine for such a long time, I think of all my previous experiences with wine as having changed me – vintages, travels, sharing meals. Winemaking is my way of life, a hobby that I get paid for.

What’s your favorite part of being in the wine industry?

SA: As winemaker, it is the creativity and self-discovery!

Blending wines, sometimes disparate ones, and making a wine that is enjoyable, delicious. Using science, math, and my senses to be artistic with wine.

Looking back, was there something in your past that led you to wine?

SA: A lot of little things led me to wine. I often state when asked, “Serendipity!”

I was at the right place, at the right time, with the right people!

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