Ricochet Wine Company

Location: McMinnville, Oregon
Founded: 2018
Varieties: Gruner Veltliner, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Syrah, Malbec, Viognier, Tempranillo, Pinot Noir
Viticulture: Sustainable and regenerative
Vinification: Whites – foot stomped in the picking bins and left to macerate for a day before pressing. Native yeasts, with no additives. No sulfur until bottling (and then very little). Aged in mostly older barrels and bottled unfiltered. Reds –  about ⅓ whole cluster; pumpovers to promote the native yeast population. Cuvaison lasts for about three weeks, and then the wines go into (mostly older) barrels from six to eleven months.

Erich Berg moved to Oregon in 2004 after years spent working in the fine-dining scene in Chicago. He landed at the right spot, working at Domaine Serene for three years until reconstructive hip surgery immobilized him and he had to change careers. After teaching high school English for six years he returned to winemaking for good. He worked with his good friend Brad Ford at Illahe Vineyards for three years, and was working with Brianne Day of Day Wines when he decided to try his hand at making his own wine. The first vintage of Ricochet Wine Company consisted of one ton of Pinot Noir and one ton of Gruner Veltliner, yielding about 60 cases of each. From those humble beginnings in 2018, this year he made almost 2100 cases – impressive, yet still quite small in the world of winemaking. The lineup has expanded considerably, although the production of each wine is small. He also teaches winemaking classes at Linfield University in McMinville.
The name Ricochet comes from Erich’s ability to bounce back and start over, heading off in not-always-predictable directions. He donates 5% of his sales to local charities that help other folks bounce back from life’s hardships.