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Thursday, Jun. 10, 2010

Van Duzer hires Patton Valley winemaker

DALLAS, Ore. — Van Duzer Vineyards announced Thursday that Jerry D. Murray will take over as its winemaker on June 14.

Murray will replace Jim Kakacek, whose dismissal was announced last month. Kakacek led the winemaking program at the Willamette Valley property since 1994.

Murray has been the winemaker at Patton Valley Vineyard in Gaston, Ore., since 2005. He graduated in 1993 from Ohio University with degrees in physiology and biochemistry. His career path includes working in the kitchen at Wildwood Restaurant in Portland, and that food and wine experience helped inspire him to become a winemaker.

“I am a big fan of elegant wines that are lower in alcohol levels and that are food friendly,” Murray said.

His training includes stints at Germany's Weingut Selbach-Oster and in New Zealand at Martinborough Vineyard and Highfield Estate. Murray returned to the Willamette Valley and worked at Erath Vineyards Panther Creek and Chehalem before becoming winemaker and vineyard manager for Patton Valley Vineyard.

Van Duzer Vineyards, an 82-acre vineyard that produces 15,000 cases, benefits from the cooling effect of the Van Duzer corridor. Murray said that influence will help him achieve a winemaking style that he prefers.

"Jerry Murray brings to Van Duzer a track record of sound winemaking practices and deep experience in cool-weather winemaking regions," Van Duzer Vineyards proprietor Carl Thoma said in a news release. "Moreover, Jerry and Van Duzer share a commitment to sustainability and to a wine style that favors bright fruit and classic balance."