Started with a small life savings and a fistful of credit cards, the Ransom Project was launched in 1997, with the distillery making small amounts of grappa, eau d'vie and brandy. Gin and whiskey were added to the lineup in 2007.
Still wine production began during the 1999 vintage, with Ransom operating as a semi-nomadic entity. For the first five years Ransom Wine Co. followed the path of it's founder, Tad Seestedt, through several contract winemaking jobs, and custom crushing locations until 2004 when permanent housing was finally located (and the day job quit) in the heart of mcminnville's granary district.
In 2008, the purchase of a forty acre farm outside of Sheridan, Oregon has brought both the distillery, and winery together for the first time. Vines go in the ground in spring 2010, and barley has been planted since 2008. The farm is located in the Willamette Valley in the foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range.
The name "Ransom" was initially chosen to represent the investment necessary to become self employed. It has since come to represent the amount of debt owed to banks and other loaning institutions.
The intent of Ransom Wine Co. is to create artisan crafted wines that exemplify true varietal character and express the individuality of the growers, vineyard sites, and vintages. Our belief is that wine is best made by hand with minimal intervention and minimal use of mechanization, chemicals, computers, and high tech laboratory analyses. Winemaking decisions are mainly based on taste, the other four senses, a small degree of common sense, instinct, and of course what the grapes themselves want to do. Call it path of least resistance, laziness, low budget or anything that seems to fit. We prefer to call it "keeping it real". Very hands on, low tech, low hype.
Committed to helping reduce planetary toxicity, the majority of fruit sourced for Ransom Wine Co. is farmed organically or biodynamically. All of the Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Gewurztraminer bottled under the Ransom label is made from organically farmed grapes. We also have an additional label called "Jigsaw" which is a blend of Pinot Noir from organically and conventionally farmed vineyards. Another of our major commitments is to provide the highest quality, food friendly wines at a cost that allows for an affordable daily ritual of sharing wine, meals and company. We believe that wine itself is a food and should be an integral part of everyday meals. Drinking premium quality, handcrafted wines does not need to be either expensive or pretentious. It should not outweigh the food in either expense or emphasis, but instead compliment the food and add to the sense of delight and fulfillment found in gathering to eat and drink. it is the function of wine to enhance fellowship, discussion, and the exchange of ideas. So visit the market, invite over friends and family, and raise a toast to health and happiness through good meals, conversation and socializing!