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Our Story

Dick in the vineyard
Dick attending the grapes, 9/2006    

Pat in the vineyard
Pat picking Cabernet, 11/2006    

GrapesIn the 1970’s, Dick and Pat Ellis and their infant son, Teddy, moved to the San Francisco Bay Area.  A few months after they arrived, they were invited to help pick grapes in Woodside at a friend’s vineyard.  With their baby in a backpack as they picked, they experienced the excitement of the wine process for the first time.  Dick was bitten by the winemaking bug, and shortly thereafter, he began making wine from just about anything that would ferment, including the fruit from their backyard fruit trees.  Within two years, he had moved on to bigger and better things – grapes!! (Thankfully)   Together with a few friends, Dick and the family began picking, crushing, pressing, barrel-aging and bottling wine as home winemakers.  From 1981 to 2002, they picked grapes and made Cabernet Sauvignon exclusively from their friends’ vineyard on Tubbs Lane in Calistoga, California.

Off and on through the 1980’s and 90’s, they searched for vineyard property throughout the Napa Valley, Sonoma and Santa Cruz but were never able to find a property that suited their needs.  In 2002,  however, Dick and Pat began looking for vineyard property once again, and they found a vineyard site in Southern Oregon. The beauty of the vineyard, the views of the mountains, and the warm sunshine were very appealing.  By August of 2003, they became owners of the 26-acre parcel now known as Ellis Vineyards. 

The vineyard is midway between Ashland and Medford, Oregon, just 25 miles across the California border. Thirteen and a half acres were already planted with Tempranillo, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Pinot Gris in 1997 and 2001. The sandy, gravelly soil is perfect for growing grapes, and in 2004, they planted an additional two acres of Viognier, bringing the total planted acreage to 15.5 acres of premium grapes.  After selling all of the grapes to local wineries in Oregon in 2003, they decided to begin making wine commercially in 2004.  These first wines were made at an outside winery facility, and they were released in September of 2006, in addition to the 2005 Pinot Gris.

When Skipping Stone Winery, LLC, the parent company of PEBBLESTONE CELLARS, was founded in 2005, their three adult children, Ted, Wendy & Peggy, also became partial owners. Since all of the “children” had been in vineyards picking, working and playing at a very young age and beyond, it only seemed logical that they would all grow up with discerning palates for wine; and they, along with their two husbands, Adam & Pete and one wife, Greer, they eagerly take part in the winery operations as often as they can.

 

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