Kiley Evans Joins Ledger David Cellars as its First In-House Winemaker
Ledger David Cellars has hired Kiley Evans as its new winemaker. Evans is the winery’s first in-house winemaker and brings with him more than 15 years of wine industry experience. Most recently, he worked at Raffaldini in North Carolina – a winery with European origins that specializes in Italian wines.
Originally from the South, Evans moved to North Carolina in 2011 to be closer to family – but his winemaking roots actually began on the West Coast. After graduating in 2002 from U.C. Davis’s prestigious winemaking program as a Winkler scholar with a double major in viticulture and enology, Evans accepted a position with Abacela Winery in Roseburg. It was there that he made a name for himself producing award-winning Tempranillo and Syrah for the internationally recognized southern Oregon winery.
“I have a great respect for Kiley who initially earned his reputation with the Tempranillo grape at Abacela,” says owner Lena Varner. “Beyond Tempranillo, Kiley has continually demonstrated his prowess in producing excellent wines from a variety of wine grapes, including Rhone blends and Italian varietals.”
And he has the accolades to prove it. Among them is a World of Wine ‘Best of Show – White Wine’ for Daisy Creek’s 2009 Triple Play – a Rhone-style blend of Viognier, Marsanne and Roussanne; a San Francisco Chronicle International Wine Competition ‘Best in Class’ for Raffaldini’s 2011 Montepulciano Rerserva; and, a Wine Enthusiast score of 95 points for Abacela’s 2005 Syrah Reserve – the highest score a southern Oregon wine has ever received by the influential wine review publication.
“His reputation in hand-crafting the highest quality wines with a range of varietals is a key attribute that makes Kiley a great fit for Ledger David,” says owner David Traul. “We have 11 varietals and 22 different clone/rootstock combinations at our vineyard in Talent, many of them less widely planted varietals in southern Oregon including Chenin Blanc and Sangiovese. That could prove challenging for any winemaker, but Kiley embraces the diversity.”
Prior to joining Raffaldini, Evans worked at Agate Ridge Vineyard in Eagle Point where he produced estate and custom crush wines. It was there that he made Ledger David’s San Francisco Chronicle award-winning 2010 Tempranillo, which was celebrated in Sunset Magazine’s October 2013 issue as one of the editor’s top “Wines to Try.” He also produced Ledger David’s wine club and event exclusive Tempranillo Port-style wine and its first reserve wine of the same varietal.
Having lived in southern Oregon for several years, he’s happy to be back to where he says is “the best place in the world to live.”
“I’m thrilled to be working with Ledger David Cellars,” says Evans. “It’s a winery committed to producing the highest quality estate wines that can compete on an international level. Most recently, the winery earned a 93-point Gold for their Premier vintage 2011 Malbec at the 2014 Los Angeles International Wine competition. That’s where I’m setting my sights. Quality is my number one priority.”
For Evans, quality assurance starts in the vineyard. He uses his background in viticulture, enology and his time spent as a sommelier to handcraft the grapes into wine that ultimately best expresses the terroir of the vineyard.
“In our experience, the best winemakers are often the ones who want to be involved in the vineyard,” says Varner. “From harvest to winemaking to bottling, Kiley will be intimately involved in the entire process to ensure that what goes into the bottle is of the highest quality.”
Ledger David is in the final planning stages of its gravity-fed, estate winery – which is expected to be complete by the fall of 2015. The owners have been working diligently on winery plans since 2010 with Brian Westerhout of Ron Grimes Architects, PC.
“As with winemaking – all good things take time,” says Varner. “And all great things take a little longer, requiring additional patience, commitment and attention to detail.”
Ledger David will continue to operate its Le Petit Tasting Room in Central Point with an expansion project underway to better accommodate its growing number of patrons.
Wine Club Members, friends and guests can meet the new winemaker at an open house September 14 from noon-5pm at Le Petit Tasting Room in Central Point. Visit www.ledgerdavid.com for more info.
Ledger David Cellars is a premium boutique winery located in the Rogue Valley AVA. All wines are made with grapes from the winery’s estate vineyard in Talent, Oregon. Varietals include Chenin Blanc, Malvasia Bianca, Viognier, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc, Syrah, Malbec, Sangiovese, Tempranillo and Petit Verdot. Visit the tasting room at 245 N. Front Street in Central Point, conveniently located between Lillie Belle Farms and the Rogue Creamery.