The first thing you need to know about August Cellars is that it isn’t named after the month of August.
The winery is named after the patriarch of the family, August Schaad, who settled in the Newberg area in 1902.
“This is a family-owned and operated business,” said Tom Schaad, as he took a break from harvest – the family still operates the farm where they grow walnuts and prunes. “The farm doesn’t make enough income to support anyone, so we started this to keep it going. My grandfather was an iron worker and a farmer, my parents were teachers and a farmer, and now we have a winery and a farm.”
Schaad’s grandfather, Clarence bought the property the cellar and farm sits on in 1942.
The winery itself is a stunning building and unlike any other winery you will visit. It is a three-story building with efficiency in mind.
“The reason it is three stories is so it is built into the hill, it helps maintain the temperature and also we use the gravity to help move the wine from harvest to barreling,” said Charlie Garrell, tasting room manager.
Located between Newberg and Sherwood, August Cellars is perched right above Highway 99W and is a great jumping off point to start your exploration of Yamhill Valley wine country. While they do offer several of their own wines, the winery also offers space to other smaller growers. What that means for you is that in their tasting room, you can get a sampling of the different wines from around the area, before committing to a full day of driving around the valley.
“We built the building three times larger than it needed to be so we could have other wineries involved,” said Schaad. “We rent out space like a landlord.”
The cellar building is home to seven wineries, and each offers products in the tasting room.
“We are in this to make affordable wines people can enjoy with dinner,” Schaad said. “We are a great jumping off point to see what you like.”
Schaad said that his tasting room staff are very knowledgeable about the surrounding area, and if you do a sampling and like a specific-type of wine, say a Pinot Gris, they can point you to other wineries in the area you may enjoy.
“Here in the valley we all try to help each other and make the experience the best it can be for people who are sampling our wines,” he said. “It’s just smart business.”
The 16,000-square-foot building is mostly a production facility with a tasting room. Schaad said he didn’t have the desire to make it an event location, because he wants to keep the focus on growing great products and making excellent, affordable wines.
“For us it is most about the flavor and producing an accessible wine, we aren’t interested in prestige, we are interested in making wine,” he said.
August Cellars produces about 2,500 cases per year and they have two “flights,” in the tasting room. One flight is of their own wines that includes three white and three red wines. The second flight is made up of the tenant wineries, and includes five wines, four from the tenants and one from August Cellars.
Wines here can range from $12 a bottle to up to $60 a bottle, he said.
Schaad and Garrell both said that the best time to visit was during the harvest season, in September and October when the grapes are being processed. They also said that tours of the facility are available if staff can fit it in between tastings.
“We are here to introduce people to wine country and share some great wines,” Garrell said. “What I like about here is you can tasted different years of the same type of wine side-by-side to see how the weather and the fruit impacted the taste of the wine. We are here to help you navigate and learn.”
About August Cellars: August Cellars, situated at the gateway to Oregon Wine Country, is home to multiple wineries. At August Cellars one can taste and purchase Oregon Pinot Noirs from six different winemakers, each with their own style of Pinot Noir. Or one can taste wonderful white wines from Chardonnay and Pinot Gris to Gewürztraminer and Rieslings. All of these wines are crafted with quality and value as core values. Great wines are meant to be shared with friends and family.
What to bring: Schaad said that his winery doesn’t normally offer food, so bringing cheese, crackers or a snack to clear you palate. “It also puts food in your stomach, which helps with the alcohol,” he said. If you can get a tour of the facility, it really is very interesting how it all works, and the aging room is right next to the tasting room, so you can see how the barrels are stacked, and even smell the wines as they age.
Tip: The staff at the cellars are very knowledgeable about the local-area wine so don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations of other wineries to visit. Also, if you are new to wine tastings, ask questions because the friendly staff is eager to get more people interested in Oregon wines.
“Oregon is one of the most exciting places right now,” Garrell said. “This is the place to be if you want to see something really start to grow. It’s why I am here.”
Season: The cellar is open year-round.
Getting there: The cellar is located at 4000 NE Quarry Road, east of Newberg off of Highway 99W.
By Patrick Johnson