Planning years ago began the process to open Abbott Claim in Oregon’s Willamette Valley (Yamhill-Carlton AVA), so opening during a pandemic isn’t ideal, but the new winery has laid a plan to find success as it looks forward to a brighter 2021.
Newly appointed Director of Hospitality, Andrew Dirks, shared with Vintner that the tasting experience is going to be a key to connecting with consumers and building a base of sales for the time being.
“Creating a connection between our guests and all that Abbott Claim is will be the focus of our hospitality department,” Dirks said. “Abbott Claim is more than a vineyard, we really look at it as an ecosystem, and we’re looking forward to seeing the results from some really forward-thinking plans and projects.
“The wine is at the forefront of our conversation but encompassing all the richness of the property into the guest experience will allow us to stand out and create a deeper bond with our guests.”
The goal, Dirks said is after a visit, when guests are enjoying the winery’s product at their own tables at home, he wants them to be transported back to the facility in their mind and heart and have that resonate with the others around their table.
As of September 24, Abbott Claim opened for visitors by reservation only. Each tasting experience is tailored to the guest and offers the opportunity for the Abbott Claim Vineyard to reveal itself in surprising and memorable ways. The range focuses on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the Willamette Valley, with single-vineyard wines from the Abbott Claim Vineyard as well as other select sites.
“I personally host 3-4 private appointments each day during which the guests and I are the only people in the entire winery aside from a few necessary production team members,” Dirks explained. ”After a champagne welcome, we taste all the Abbott Claim wines accompanied by a few small bites designed to showcase wine pairing options for our wines.”
Touring the guests through the winery is something Dirks also incorporates into the visit to truly make a consumer feel at home and further the connection they have with the wine.
”Guest comfort is at the absolute core of true hospitality and I believe that our experience embodies everything expected for both a safe and wonderful tasting,” he said.
In his new role as Director of Hospitality, Dirks will work closely with both winemaker Alban Debeaulieu and General Manager Kristin Marchesi to tell the winery’s story.
“The main thing that attracted me to Abbott Claim was the excitement the team had about starting a project from the very beginning that was completely focused on the expression of the place,” Dirks said. “Learning the language of the land and taking the responsibility to be caretakers and stewards of the vineyard was the absolute focus of our production team.
“Building a new hospitality program from scratch and having the responsibility of sharing the vision and story of the vineyard was an opportunity I was thrilled to have.”
At this time the wines are available at the winery, by allocation and guests are currently being invited to join a mailing list. Abbott Claim’s wines will be available in three-tier distribution in early 2021.