Lonesome Rock is the story of love, family, a leap of faith, and the drive to risk everything to create something exceptional, unique, and personal.
Danny and Susan Klieman met in French Drama & Poetry at the University of South Florida in 1989. They headed off to France in 1991 where Danny studied Oenology at the Université de Bourgogne. A summer vineyard worker job turned into a year in the cellar and vineyards at Domaine Yves Chaley in the Hautes-Côtes de Nuits. All of their free time was spent combing the vineyards of France, Italy, Germany, and Spain dreaming of the day they would care for their own vineyard.
After 3 years of escapades in France, they returned to Chicago where Danny worked as an importer/distributor for Heritage Wine Cellars and Susan become an entrepreneur, launching an e-commerce store that she subsequently sold.
Fast forward twenty-five+ years, three children, three dogs, and many trips scouting out vineyard properties in California, Oregon, and France. In 2020, Danny and Susan finally found the idyllic plot of earth that they had been seeking: a beautiful, Willamette Valley cool-climate, high-elevation site situated off the beaten path in the foothills of the Pacific Coast Range, six miles west of Carlton.
The property, originally developed by Scott and Rae Baldwin of DePonte Cellars, consisted of twenty-nine acres with panoramic mountain views, dramatic terrain covered in a diverse spectrum of flora, and blocks of organically-farmed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Meunier. Tasting DePonte's Lonesome Rock wines only further convinced them of the site's greatness: Lonesome's grapes in the hands of DePonte's French winemaker Isabelle Dutartre were pure magic.
Lonesome Rock's first harvest with Danny and Susan at the helm was in September of 2021. Their son and nephew, Elliot and Adam, worked as harvest interns at DePonte where Isabelle continued as Lonesome Rock's Pinot Noir winemaker. A small amount of Lonesome Rock Chardonnay was also produced by Jackson Holstein, the talented winemaker and owner of Granville Wines. Jackson had previously worked with our vineyard management company and was part of the team that planted and maintained Lonesome Rock.
The inaugural vintage of Lonesome Rock will be released in the spring of 2023. Danny and Susan can't wait to share this wildly beautiful place, vineyard, and wine with you next year.