Domaine Serene Founders to Receive Wine Spectator’s Highest Honor, the 2018 Distinguished Service Award
Dayton, Ore. • Grace and Ken Evenstad, founding owners of Domaine Serene Winery and owners of Château de la Crée in Burgundy, have just been announced as the recipients of the 2018 Distinguished Service Award by Wine Spectator Magazine. The award, meant to honor those that have made significant and long-lasting contributions to the wine industry, will be given to the Evenstads for playing a key role in the region’s rise from a sleepy wine community to one of America’s most dynamic and respected growing regions.
“We are honored and thank Wine Spectator for this prestigious award recognizing our continuous efforts to elevate Oregon wines on the global stage,” said Grace Evenstad, owner and co-founder of Domaine Serene.
Grace and Ken Evenstad will accept the award as the guests of honor at the Grand Award Banquet on the final night of Wine Spectator’s 38th Annual New York Wine Experience - October 20th, 2018. Fifteen hundred people will attend the black-tie event, one of the most sought-after tickets in the industry, where the top wineries converge for a night of celebrating after three days of tasting through the finest wines in the world. Three Domaine Serene wines will be paired with the multi-course culinary event.
The honor crowns a thirty-year career spent leading the quality efforts in Oregon by continually pushing the boundaries and the norms of business and winemaking in the region. True pioneers, the Evenstads pushed the envelope, planting Pinot Noir vineyards at high elevations including west-facing slopes and would go on to establish their highly successful and world-renowned Chardonnay program by planting early ripening Dijon clones at high elevations in deep Jory soils atop the Dundee Hills. Their Côte Sud vineyard was one of the first Dijon clone Chardonnay plantings in the U.S. in 1992.
In 2001, the Evenstads completed construction of their current state-of-the art, five-level, gravity flow Pinot Noir winery. In 2004, Domaine Serene was the first winery in the country to make barrel fermented white wine from Pinot Noir grapes, their Coeur Blanc “White Heart” Pinot Noir. In 2017 Domaine Serene opened a new best-in-class hospitality center, the Clubhouse at Domaine Serene, that is changing the landscape of fine wine hospitality in the Pacific Northwest. In 2018, they completed a new white winery dedicated to the production of Chardonnay and Sparkling wine, the first of its kind in Oregon. The wineries are located on the beautiful Winery Hill Estate in the Dundee Hills AVA.
In addition to their numerous pioneering efforts, they are the only vintners in the world to have both a Pinot Noir and a Chardonnay rank in the top 3 of the Wine Spectator’s Top 100.
Wine Spectator went on to acknowledge the Evenstad’s tireless advocacy for Oregon wine through their generous support of wine education and other philanthropic causes. Charitable giving is an essential part of the fabric that makes up the culture at Domaine Serene, Château de la Crée and the legacy of Grace and Ken Evenstad.
In September, the Evenstads pledged $500,000, in hopes of raising a total of $1,000,000 through matching industry donations, to launch an initiative taking aim at eradicating the Grapevine Red Blotch Virus - a clear and significant threat to vineyard properties and winemaking in the Willamette Valley and beyond.
This sizeable donation and initiative comes on the heels of the largest gift in support of wine studies in Oregon history, $6 million dollars in total, to endow the Evenstad Center for Wine Education and the Evenstad Chair in Wine Studies at Linfield College – creating the first institution in the country to offer an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree and master’s degree in wine studies. The Evenstads have now donated or raised more than $25 million for philanthropic causes over their careers.
With this award, Grace and Ken Evenstad join the distinguished ranks of the wine and culinary industry’s most recognized leaders; Personalities like Ernest and Julio Gallo, Robert Mondavi, Eric de Rothschild, Julia Child and longtime friends, Piero Antinori and Emeril Lagasse.
About Domaine Serene
The Evenstads settled in the Northern Willamette Valley in 1989. Their spirit and passion to produce wines that rival the great wines of Burgundy, led them to purchase and plant a hilltop estate that had just been logged in the now famous Dundee Hills.
Today, Domaine Serene produces wines from six individual vineyard estates, planted exclusively to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In Oregon, the Evenstads own nearly 1,000 total acres of land in the hills of Yamhill County, with 275 acres planted to vine.
Working every job in the winery for many years, Grace and Ken Evenstad built Domaine Serene from the ground up with a focus on producing high-quality wines through innovation and a focus on excellence. The Evenstads have gained a true appreciation for the attention to detail required to make exceptional wines.
In 2015, Ken and Grace Evenstad fulfilled a lifelong dream of producing wine in Burgundy, France, by acquiring Château de la Crée, the respected wine estate located in the birthplace of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay: the renowned Côte d’Or. They own 25 acres of prime vineyards in Pommard, Volnay, Meursault, Puligny-Montrachet, Chassagne-Montrachet, Santenay and Maranges. This made them the first Oregon-based vintners to own land and produce wines in Burgundy.
In just under three decades, the Evenstads have propelled Domaine Serene onto the global stage as one of the world’s most acclaimed and respected wineries. Domaine Serene’s wines represent the achievement that is possible in Oregon, one of the finest regions in the world for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
Matthew Thompson | Domaine Serene Winery