John Lyon - Winemaker

John Lyon – Winemaker

Like many in my family, I was born and raised in Oregon. Our family was full of restless vagabonds and pioneers who crossed the great expanse of America to find a place to call home. It is wonderful that so many years later we continue to call Oregon home.

While attending Linfield College in the heart of Oregon’s wine country, my interest in wine began. I started a small wine collection and experimented with winemaking in my basement. I graduated after completing studies in history and anthropology. Two weeks later, I was boarding a plane to Germany to live as a tree farmer in a small German town. My time in Germany reminded me that Oregon is special. After one year, I returned with a strong desire to work hard, live in Oregon, and learn more about winemaking.

When I returned, I had little practical knowledge of Oregon’s wine industry. I forged ahead, writing letters and applying for any position available at wineries in the Willamette Valley. I landed my first winery job at Lange Winery in Dundee. During my time at Lange I learned about winemaking and vineyard work. I spent my free time fermenting all sorts of fruit in my garage, learning what I could and having a fantastic time. While at Lange, I had the opportunity to work a harvest in New Zealand. In New Zealand I worked for the Central Otago Wine Company Limited. I learned a completely different ethos of making wine. Soon after returning from New Zealand I took a job at Owen Roe winery.

Owen Roe gave me the chance to make wine on a large scale. I grew the knowledge of winemaking I learned in Oregon and New Zealand while working with many different varietals. Owen Roe also gave me the opportunity to begin Idealist Wines! I made my first three vintages at the Owen Roe facility.

I began Idealist Wines in 2008. Idealist Wines let me combine my passion for Pinot Noir with my home, Oregon. My goal is to produce wines that are true to Oregon and true to Pinot Noir. Through Idealist Wines, I continue the strong principals and ingenuity that I learned at Lange. I dream and reach for the stars like I learned at Owen Roe. I make wine that is authentic to my experience.

In 2011, I began working for Crowley Wines. Crowley has taught me the invaluable lesson of reflection. The years of experience, determination, and a strong belief are the “what” and “why “of Idealist Wines but now I am answering the more practical question of “how”.

In 2012, I moved Idealist Wines to its current home in Newberg. This is the next step for Idealist Wines. As I continue to grow production I keep the lessons I’ve learned very close. Idealist Wines is Oregon, its Pinot Noir, and its principled.