Wine country — Local winemaker starts mobile sparkling wine production company, looking to expand availability in Oregon

One of Andrew Davis’ goals has been to expand the sparkling wine industry in Oregon. Unfortunately, after working at Argyle Winery for eight years — six as a winemaker — he soon discovered that wasn’t achievable, not without more of the specialized equipment required for sparkling wine available. So he decided to take it upon himself to make that a reality, and started the Radiant Sparkling Wine Company, which specializes in offering mobile production of the bubbly concoction.

“What I propose to do is have that first step, that initial bottling occur ‘mobilely,’” Davis said.

He will have a truck with two features: a filler and a crown capper. After wineries produce a base wine, Davis can come to their facilities, add the yeast component needed to produce bubbles and cap the bottles.

“I wanted to do whatever I could to not damage the wine, so I’m coming to them,” he said. “Those bottles stay at the winery. I’ll check back to make sure they’ve completed fermenting. Once complete, they store like any old wine for one to 10 years.”

Once wineries want to finish the process, the bottles are brought to Davis’ fixed location in Newberg and “riddled.”

“The old method is you had this A-frame with holes in it that they put the bottles in. The method is the little old man of the cellar would turn every bottle a corner turn sharply,” he said. “That would dislodge the yeast that had been lying in that bottle.”

Over a period of three weeks, the yeast would slowly be worked into a plug at the crown cap for removal. Now that process takes less than a minute per bottle with the machine Davis will have set up.

“I think this is an incredible opportunity for sparkling wine in Oregon,” he said. “Working at Argyle I knew there was pent up demand (for the opportunity to bottle sparkling wine).”

When he announced his decision last year, he said he immediately had eight people sign on as clients. As the 2014 harvest looms in the fall, his client list now totals 15.

“It’s getting to the point, (where I’m asking myself) can I do this all by myself or do I need to expand the company,” Davis said. And that’s without actually starting production, with machine delivery delays, he won’t start bottling until July. “So where there were two or three (producers) in the valley, now there will be 18, at least. My mission has been accomplished in bringing more sparkling (wine) to the Willamette Valley.”

With a 400-case minimum, he said his company won’t be for everyone, but he welcomes additional interest and might look at expanding in the future.

“I have the potential to grow for certain, but I want to focus on the clients I do have and make sure they get the best care and attention I can give them,” Davis said. “I also think with the interest I’ve gotten, those people truly interested in sparkling have contacted me. This year I’ll get a feel for that.”

So far, his list includes local wineries such as Willamette Valley Vineyards, Stoller Family Estate, Trisaetum and ROCO.

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