Valentines Rosé Cocktails

by Jean Smith | February 10, 2017

Here are some fun drinks for your Valentines weekend, enjoy them with friends or with your sweetheart. Either the Spindrift Cellars Vin Gris or the Pinot Noir Rosé would work perfectly in these festive drinks. Let us know what you think!

Rosé Grapefruit Cocktail

rose cocktail


  • 2 lemon wedges

  • 4 slices of grapefruit

  • Ice

  • 12 oz rosé wine

  • 3 oz gin

  • 1 oz simple syrup, to taste


  1. Muddle the lemon wedges and grapefruit in the bottom of a glass.

  2. Add in the ice, rosé, gin and stir well. Add in the simple syrup to your desired sweetness.

  3. Strain into 2 wine glasses and add the muddled lemon and grapefruit. Serves 2.

Adapted from

Strawberry & Peach Sangria


Strawberry Peach Sangria


  • 2.5 tablespoons sugar

  • 2.5 tablespoons brandy

  • 1 cups sliced strawberries

  • 1/2 cup sliced peaches

  • 1 bottles Rosé

  • 1/2 cup chilled club soda or sparkling water

  • 10 basil leaves


  1. Add the sugar and brandy to a large pitcher and stir until the sugar has dissolved.

  2. Add the fresh fruit, wine and club soda and stir to combine. Add the basil.

  3. Refrigerate the sangria for at least 6 hours before serving.

  4. Serve over ice with fresh strawberries for garnish. Serves 6.

Adapted from

January 2017 Beacon Wine Club Selections

by Jean Yates | December 31, 2016

Mixed Club Selections

Winter tasting room hours are Friday – Sunday Noon-5 pm.

Please come and pick up your wine during tasting room hours.

2014 Barrel Select Pinot Noir

Retail price $30
Club Member price $24

A barrel selection of Thompson Vineyard Pinot Noir 777 clones and Bovine Vineyard 667 clones. Rich dark red fruit aromas with a hint of smoke fold into spicy toasty notes. Complex flavors with a hint of soft fig fruit and fine tannins with appealing extended finish on the palate. This wine matches well with rich meat dishes.

production 90 cases

2014 Pinot Blanc

Retail price $18
Club Members price $14.40


2017 Wine Club Winemaker Notes: Barrels

by Jean Yates | December 31, 2016

toasting-barrelBarrel Education: Q & A with Winemaker Matt Compton

Why Barrels

Why use barrels? What do barrels do for each wine?

Oak barrels used for making wine serve a few important purposes, adding flavors (spice, tannin and roasted notes) slowly adding oxygen to the wine (which helps aging) along with concentration to the wines from evaporation.

What Barrels

What kind of oak do you use? Where do the trees come from? Why use a variety of coopers?

A majority of the wood used for wine barrels are different species of white oak. The most common oak forest throughout the world are in America, France, Hungary and Russia.   Each forest has its own flavors and tannin levels, so each one is often used for different wines.  Most Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays use French Oak for the softer silky tannins where American oak is a firmer tannin that does well with Cabernets.   Each forest gives different flavors along with each cooper (a maker of barrels) has their own roasting technique that influences flavors as well.   We mostly use all French Oak for our Pinot Noir’s but get diversity in flavors from using different barrel makers.


New Release Party!

by Jean Yates | November 9, 2016

Photographs from our Fall New Release party – a wonderful time was had by all!

— Matt & Tabitha


Celebrating Matt Compton’s 20 Oregon Harvests

by Jean Yates | October 23, 2016

photos by Jean Yates

“I came to Oregon’s wine industry twenty years ago not knowing what Pinot Noir was, with a drive to learn and a love of farming. I immersed myself in growing the grapes, which led to learning to make the wine. I am still learning. It is an ongoing process, constantly discovering new things and fine-tuning what I’ve learned.”
– Matt Compton

That’s how self starter Matt Compton, who calls himself an “agrarian at heart” describes his experience growing grapes and making wine over the last two decades. Matt is no slouch. You might call him one of the hardest working men in Oregon’s wine industry – building a thriving business based on his love for farming and a heck of a lot of hard work.



A Kid with the Farming “Bug”

Matt and his siblings are the eighth generation of a family deeply rooted in west central New Jersey. Born in 1973, his family had an electrical contracting business and appliance store. But Matt’s father wanted to farm, and in 1980 they moved west to Wisconsin’s dairy country, where they farmed dairy cows.

Matt caught the farming bug in Wisconsin, driving a tractor and baling hay at ten years old.

“In Wisconsin, all of us got the bug for farming work. I loved tractor work, but not so much the animals. You can’t get away from the farm milking twice a day.”

The Compton family lived through difficult times in the ‘80s. The dairy industry took a big hit and they lost their farm. Matt’s father worked for other farms, and eventually the family moved back to New Jersey.

Matt’s focus in high school was sports—he participated in football, wrestling and Lacrosse—before graduating from high school in 1992. He played football in college for one year. He studied horticulture in college in 1993, looked for land to farm for a time, then took a series of jobs not related to agriculture. The fall of 1995 was a turning point for Matt. He moved to Oregon.

The Big Move

In the summer of 1994, Matt took a trip around the country. His friend was going to be starting graduate school at Oregon State University (OSU) in Corvallis, so Matt decided to check it out. Leaving his camping spot in Newport, he visited campus on “a typical May day, a little moist, looking really green, a little overcast.” He was hooked.

Returning to the East Coast, Matt decided to move to Corvallis where his friend was starting graduate school. He “came out with nothing, sat down with his friend John Luna, and said he needed a job.”

John sent him to Scott Robbins, a researcher at OSU. Scott suggested that if he became a student he could get a job as a student worker. Matt signed up for school and started working for Scott and other researchers.

Scott and Matt connected on the long drives from Corvallis to Woodhall, OSU’s experimental vineyard outside Alpine. On the trips, Scott would talk about the winemaking process and give Matt a one on one course, followed up by the work they would perform after arriving at the vineyard. Scott was Matt’s first mentor in the wine industry. In the winter of 1995, Matt helped Scott plant an apple orchard for cider at the OSU’s Lewis Brown research facility and Scott taught him to graft vines at Woodhall Vineyard.

Working at Woodhall, Matt got to know Chris Heider, (720 Cellars) then assistant vineyard manager at Woodhall. Chris decided to finish his graduate studies and Scott Robbins offered Matt the assistant vineyard manager job.

Matt says, “I got the job because I knew how to farm, not because I knew grapes.”

Matt’s student status transitioned into a regular job, and in 1996 Matt made his first wine as a home winemaker. For several years, Matt continued to manage Woodhall, make wine, and help out at Lewis Brown Farm, an OSU experimental facility




Three Businesses Are Founded

Matt built a reputation as a talented farmer and in 2000, took his first vineyard manager job beyond Woodhall. Starting a company called West Vine Farms, he managed Deerhaven Vineyard, delivering the fruit to Willamette Valley Vineyards. Today, Matt still manages the vineyard.

When Matt started interviewing for vineyard management jobs at wineries in the North Willamette wine country, he came to a turning point. Was he going to move to the other end of the valley or say put in the Corvallis area? He believed the South Willamette was a better fit for him—more affordable, a place where he could help develop an industry. In addition, in 1996, Matt and Tabitha got together and Tabitha’s family is in the Corvallis area. He interviewed and received the position of Assistant Manager at Benton Lane Winery in 2001, and was promoted to Vineyard Manager in 2002.

While working full time at Benton Lane, Matt was also growing his West Vine Farms business, managing vineyards and delivering fruit to local wineries. In 2003, he made his first commercial vintage at 720 Cellars. He had no label name, but wanted to get a wine produced and build a business.

In 2004, with friends and family supporting them, Tabitha and Matt founded Small World Wine Company with Jeff and Diane Cyan. The wine he made in 2003 was labeled “Sahalie” and the winery was born. At the same time, the two couples started a wine bar in Corvallis.

Speaking of birth, in 2005 the Comptons had their first child—the first of three boys. 2005 must have been the year of no sleep. Matt was working full time at Benton Lane and managing the vineyards at West Vine Farms, while Tabitha was raising a newborn, and both were running the winery and wine bar with the Cyans.

Something had to give, and at the end of 2005 they divided Small World with the Cyans. Matt and Tabitha took the winery and the Cyans took the name Sahalie and the wine bar.




Spindrift Cellars

In January of 2006, Matt and Tabitha started Spindrift Cellars and registered the trademark as their new brand. As they built their business, Small World diversified, making wine for private labels and hosting Domaine Meriwether in their facility. Matt got to know Ray Walsh, the winemaker for Domaine Meriwether and owner/winemaker of Capitello Wines. Ray, an experienced winemaker, particularly known for his expertise in white and sparkling wines, became another of Matt’s winemaking mentors. Today Matt sells Pinot Gris grapes to Ray and continues their mentoring friendship.

Matt considers himself a farmer first and a winemaker second. To increase his knowledge of winemaking, from 1996 to 2000 Matt took winemaking and viticulture classes while working at OSU (how did he have the time?). “I focused my education on things to achieve my goal for my business, rather than a diploma,” Matt says.

During the first harvest for Spindrift Cellars, Matt made 1,000 cases of wine. By 2015, Matt made 8,000 cases of wine from more than ten different varietals. “We’ve been on a small, steady growth curve,” says Matt.

Choosing to offer a wider range of wines in their tasting room than the usual Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris, Matt traveled to Walla Walla for several years to pick up grapes for a Spindrift Syrah. And he traveled to Southern Oregon to purchase additional red varietals. But Matt says his “heart is in Pinot Noir” and plans to scale back the number of varietals Spindrift offers.

Matt’s West Vine Farms now only manages the vineyards from which he gets fruit for his Spindrift wines.

“In 2006, when I moved on from Benton Lane, I gave my winery my full-time effort. All my vineyard management has gone to managing vineyard for our own wine.”




Today and the Future

Matt describes his goals for Spindrift and West Vine Farm: “We’d like to increase the market return at the size we are at. We’d like to establish a reputation that gives us the best return, not worrying about managing on a cash basis but making a really good wine that gives us stability as we move forward”.

“As the vineyards mature we will continue to work with a great core of vineyards. We have good relationships with the owners. We’d like to build up a reputation and keep growing the brand strong.”

Going forward, Matt plans to stay at 8,000–10,000 cases and to focus on making wines that are blended from several vineyards.

“Well do a few single vineyard wines because I think they are really distinctive, and I have a good relationship with the owners.”

Today, Spindrift Cellars is a three-generation family business. Tabitha’s parents, Norm and Cheri Galvin, assist when needed. Matt’s parents moved from New Jersey a few years ago and pitch in as well. Tabitha and Matt’s three sons can be seen vacuuming and helping out when they
are not climbing the barrels or skating through the facility.

The future? With Matt’s focus and drive, this “agrarian at heart” seems destined for a long and successful career, with plenty of tractor driving along the way.


October Beacon Wine Club Selections

by Jean Smith | October 1, 2016

Mixed Club Selections

2014 Woodhall Pinot Noir

Retail price $26
Club Member price $20.80

A nose of fresh berry fruit and hints of pie spice introduce the wine – along with an undercurrent of earth and forest floor. Immediately approachable, with commingled Oregon caneberry flavors: ripe blackberry, raspberry and loganberry: fresh and sweet with balanced fruit acidity, deep, smooth tannins, and a long finish of berries laced with cinnamon, star anise and a whisper of white pepper. Layers of varied berry, spice and earth evolve as you taste and the wine opens with exposure to air in the glass.
production 168 cases

2014 Riesling

Retail price $18
Club Members price $14.40 (more…)

Fall Recipes

by Jean Smith | October 1, 2016

Chilled Corn & Sun-Dried Tomato Chowder
with Goat Cheese Chive Croutons
Pairs well with Spindrift Cellars Chardonnay

Serves 6 as an appetizer


Ingredient List

4 ears of sweet corn, husks removed
1 ½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cups chopped sweet onion
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon (1/2 tablespoon dried)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
1 ½ teaspoon lemon zest
2- 14 ½ oz cans, plus 6 oz of chicken stock
¾ cup white wine (more…)

Harvest 2016: Winemaker’s Report

by Jean Yates | September 29, 2016


Greetings from Matt and Tabitha!

Harvest is close to over here in Philomath, our earliest harvest ever. Great news, the fruit is beautiful. For the first time in a few years the crop size is down a bit. Yes there will be less wine, but don’t worry, we’ll have enough for everyone. Harvest in the South Willamette is warm, so we are trying to hurry up and get it in now, as opposed to last year when we spread harvest over four weeks.