Van Duzer Vineyards announced today that Jim Kakacek, its general manager and winemaker, will be departing this summer.
Kakacek stated, “After fifteen years with the Van Duzer brand, it is time to step down, change my focus and seek different challenges. My short term plans are to see that this transition goes smoothly.” Carl Thoma, proprietor, commented, “We will miss Jim but he has built a strong team that can continue to grow sales and make great wines.”
When Kakacek came to Oregon in the late 1990s, Van Duzer was a struggling Pinot Noir brand. Today, the family estate winery produces and sells 15,000 cases of estate wines, operating out of a new winery finished in 2006. Kakacek said he is excited that his last vintage of Van Duzer Pinot Noir, the 2009 that is going into the bottle shortly, may well be his best vintage.
Carl Thoma will handle more of the general management while the assistant winemaker will take on more winemaking responsibilities. Thoma commented, “We will probably beef up our team because, without Jim, we will all be stretched. However, I want go about it carefully since we are a family winery and any new people must fit with the current team.”
About Van Duzer Vineyards
Van Duzer Vineyards is an Oregon family winery and 100 percent estate vineyard in the Willamette Valley. Its vineyards in the foothills of the Van Duzer Corridor are the first to benefit from maritime breezes each summer evening. The cool microclimate stamps Van Duzer wines with a bright fruit character, generous complexity and pleasing balance. The Thoma family practices sustainable farming on the vineyards and has been endorsed by internationally recognized LIVE (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe. For more information, please visit www.vanduzer.com.