Producer Profile
James Rahn Wine Co.
Oregon, USA

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James Rahn Wine Co.

Oregon, USA

Small batch single varietal and site-specific wines from Willamette Valley.

Founded by James Rahn, this boutique winery in Oregon has earned its reputation for crafting wines that bear the distinct mark of Oregon’s terroir. With a passion for wine and an unwavering commitment to local growers, James Rahn has succeeded in producing a range of wines that is pure, unpretentious and approachable for everyone.

Location: Willamette Valley, Oregon, USA

Viticultural standards: Organic practice


Interesting fact: Brian Morgan, an artist residing in Chicago’s west-side neighbourhood of Humboldt Park, is the designer of the wine labels. He is known for creating raw and comical depictions of American life and politics. Morgan’s signature style involves combining india ink, thin monochromatic oils, and striking splashes of vinyl paint on wooden panels, also creating a diverse range of characters.

James Rahn’s Wines

James Rahn, winemaker.

James Rahn’s wine journey began as a waiter at Seattle’s Café Campagne, where he found mentorship in sommelier Shawn Mead. His career continued with a sommelier role at Chicago’s Cafe Matou. Later, he became the Wine Director for the opening of Girl and the Goat, a restaurant by James Beard Foundation Award winner Chef Stephanie Izard. During this time, James ventured into winemaking, collaborating on a house cuvee with a Walla Walla Winery.

The desire to create wine took firm root in James’s heart. In 2012, James and his wife moved to Portland, Oregon, where he interned under Luisa Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards, the owner and winemaker of the iconic Ponzi Vineyards. A significant turning point occurred in 2013 when James reached out to Janie Brooks, owner of Brooks Winery, to purchase 500 lbs. of Riesling grapes. However, fate had more in store, and he ended up with 2.4 tons of fruit, marking the birth of the James Rahn Wine Company!

James Rahn Wine Co Vineyard
The foundation of James Rahn’s winemaking lies in two main vineyards: Maresh Vineyard and RainSong Vineyard.

Maresh Vineyard, dating back to 1970, stands as one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon. Its history and character contribute significantly to the wines crafted by James. On the other hand, RainSong Vineyard, a family-operated venture offers a charming blend of meadow, pond, and woodland on its 55-acre property. The vineyard boasts 9 acres of vines, primarily Pinot Noir, along with Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier.

In his winemaking journey, James Rahn adheres to the principle of minimal intervention. He believes that the role of a winemaker should be that of a guide rather than a dominant force. This approach involves utilizing native yeast fermentation, gentle extraction techniques, and minimal manipulation during the ageing process. The result is wines that faithfully reflect the grapes and their origin.

However, he is also transparent about the occasional need for adjustments, such as acidifying or filtration, to enhance taste or stability. His philosophy views winemaking as a series of small decisions aimed at preserving the integrity of the exceptional fruit sourced from talented farmers.

James Rahn Wine Co.

“I don’t blend, and I want the grape variety and site to speak for itself,” Rahn said. 

James Rahn’s wines show the cool climate characters of the Willamette Valley. They embody low alcohol content and a harmonious balance, often matured in neutral oak barrels. These wines are celebrated for their site and variety specificity, serving as a canvas to showcase the distinctive personality of each vineyard and vintage.

Whether it is Pinot Noir, Riesling, or Pinot Gris, James Rahn’s creations are an invitation to explore the nuanced flavours of Oregon’s wine country, each bottle a reflection of his dedication to the craft.