Willful Wines

Location: Portland, Oregon 
Founded: 2011
Size: Sourced grapes
Varieties:  Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir
Vinification: Indigenous yeasts

Pam Walden, a native of Leicester, England, has been in the wine business since 2000, initially mostly working during harvest as she was pursuing a career in television production in Portland, Oregon. She created Willful Wines starting with the 2011 vintage, the first harvest from the vineyards she and her then-partner Aron had purchased and planted in the Dundee Hills three years prior. As the couple had recently split, she was suddenly on her own making the wine. Her innate “willfulness” came in handy as she immersed herself in the study of vinification while practicing it in real-time. When Aron sadly passed away in 2013, Pam found herself suddenly a single mom, so she sold the estate vines to spend more time with her boys. Ever since, she has sourced grapes from some of the best vineyards in the Willamette and Umpqua valleys in Oregon, as well as Walla Walla, Washington, making wine under the Willful label as well as a second label called Jezebel. Annual production is now around 7000 cases a year, split about evenly between the two labels. 
The wines are made at Willful’s winery, an old autobody shop not far from Portland’s airport. Pam and her assistant winemaker Kyla Walsh approach the process with a philosophy of minimal intervention, using whole clusters and allowing spontaneous fermentation with indigenous yeasts.