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Terroir of Willamette Valley: The Björnson Vineyard

November 1, 2019 @ 6:30 pm - 8:30 pm

Explore the concept of terroir in Willamatte​ Valley with a tasting of seven wines from one place, made by different winemakers.

Twin Cities Wine Education is proud to present a special evening showcasing one of the top vineyards of Willamette Valley.

TERROIR IN WILLAMETTE: The Björnson Vineyard

Instructor: Jason Kallsen

Location: Twin Cities Wine Education headquarters


There is a particularly special vineyard high in the Eola-Amity Hills owned by Minnesotans Mark and Pattie Björnson, right next door to the famed Seven Springs Vineyard (of Evening Land Vineyards fame). It’s a beautiful crest on a hill known for a great variety of soils for top grape growing (volcanic nekia over basalt). It’s the home vineyard for Björnson Winery, founded by Mark and Pattie Björnson (who met in a business class at the University of Minnesota, as chronicled in a great article by Bill Ward in the StarTribune).

The Björnsons are farmers. They know their vineyard like the back of their hand. During our tour of the vineyard with both of them early on a Friday morning in late August 2019, with their dog running and dodging both people and vines, we got to see and hear wonderful banter and back-and-forth between Mark and Pattie regarding the ripeness levels and when to make the call to harvest. The 2019 vintage looks fantastic!

The incredible quality of this vineyard is known to many in the Willamette Valley, and the Björnsons sell 80% of their fruit. This makes for a very interesting situation: it’s the Burgundy model, where you have a Premier Cru or Grand Cru vineyard, well known and highly regarded, with multiple winemakers producing a product from it. And that makes for the possibility of a fascinating wine class.

The day we were leaving the valley, the winery was holding their annual Björnson Vineyard tasting, showcasing a range of wines made by other winemakers from the property, plus of course the wine made by Pattie herself.

The list is a who’s who of the Willamette Valley: Ben Casteel of Bethel Heights (making a new wine outside of the Bethel Heights label), Fullerton, Hayden Fig, Failla, and more. We tasted through the line up before having to rush back to Portland, and we stunned at the overall quality but also the subtle differences. The personalities of the winemakers came through in fascinating ways, and the thought of putting together a class based on this Burgundy-like model was too good to pass up.

We will start with an overview of the Eola-Amity Hills and the Bjornson property, then move into a side-by-side comparison of seven incredible Pinot Noirs from some of the best winemakers in Oregon. This will be one of the best explorations into terroir this year!

We hope you can join us for this special evening of wine and learning.


Jason Kallsen is Minnesota’s most experienced wine educator, with over two decades of experience teaching the subject. A Certifed Sommelier with the Court of Master Sommeliers, plus a Certified Specialist of Wine with the Society of Wine Educators, Jason has taught over 30,000 students since starting in the wine business in the early 1990s. He’s appeared in local, national, and international media including pairing wine with classical music on an interationally broadcasted edition of Performance Today. His style is well known to be accurate but unpretentious, detailed yet not overwhelming.

***Terms and conditions:

All tickets are transferrable. No refunds within 7 days for wine classes, and no refunds available for larger “Grand Tasting” events. Refunded tickets do not include a refund of Eventbrite ticketing fees, which are at the expense of the ticket purshaser.

All ticket purchasers and attendees must be over 21 years of age with legal identification.

Twin Cities Wine Education reserves the right, at our own judgment, to refuse service to anyone for any reason during the class.


Twin Cities Wine Education
2446 University Avenue West, #106
Saint Paul, MN 55114 United States

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