Wine Enthusiast | Oregon’s Artful Winemaker
Andrew Beckham, of Beckham Estate Vineyard in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains, is the first North American vintner to make 100- to 220-gallon amphorae in which to ferment and age his wines. As a ceramics teacher, Beckham says he has found the confluence of his life’s passions: clay and wine. Read more.
Food & Wine | An Artist-Turned-Winemaker’s Incredible Amphorae
Oregon winemaker Andrew Beckham of Beckham Estate Vineyard is obsessed with making every part of his wine himself—even the vessels he uses for aging. A high school ceramics teacher by day, he transforms 800 pounds of clay—sculpted over two weeks, dried for six weeks and baked in a kiln for 40 hours—into each gigantic clay urn for his A.D. Beckham wines. Read more.
Wine Enthusiast | Beyond the Barrel: Unique Ways to Ferment Wine
It’s quite common to see a person stick his or her nose in a glass, take a sip of wine and pronounce that it smells or tastes “oaky.” But have you ever heard of a wine tasting “concrete-y?” Or “amphora-y”? Concrete, clay and glass vessels have their own unique impact on a wine’s flavor. Read more.
VinePair | Winemakers Need to Think Big Instead of Chasing Trends in the Cellar
Ten years ago, if you traveled to any wine region and visited its cellars, you’d likely find a barrel hall stacked high with small oak barrels. Not anymore. Now you’ll find these small oak barrels, called barriques, alongside a variety of others. Even the most traditional cellars might also have a concrete egg or two, or a 1,000-liter barrel or three. In certain corners of the winemaking world, ceramics teachers-turned-vintners are creating custom terra cotta amphorae and selling them to other winemakers. Read more.
Forbes | Coming Soon to a Wine Near You: Ancient Amphorae
Terra cotta amphorae, hand-crafted into shapes and styles known since antiquity, are the latest innovation in experimental winemaking. And they’re coming soon to a wine near you.
Andrew Beckham is the unlikely yet ideally-suited leader of the movement in the US. He is a high school ceramics teacher who first bought land in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains AVA for its timber and suitability as an art studio. Read more.
Wine Anorak | Beckham Estate
Andrew and Annedria Beckham are making some of Oregon’s most compelling wines, and they have a great story, too. I visited their property in Parrett Mountain (in the Chehalem Mountains AVA) on a gorgeous July afternoon. They have 6.5 acres of Pinot Noir, plus an acre of Riesling, which they farm organically. They are planning to move to biodynamics in the near future. Allied with this transition, winemaking has moved from conventional towards natural. ‘We are just really interested in the holistic approach because we live here with our family,’ says Andrew. Read more.
International Wine Review | Oregon’s Beckham Estate Vineyard: Wine in Amphora
Winemakers around the world are returning to tradition and experimenting with making wine the way the Greeks and Romans did, in large clay vessels. Oregon’s Andrew Beckham not only uses clay vessels for fermenting his naturally produced Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Grenache, but he is, also, gaining a national reputation for the amphora and tinaja clay pots he produces for fermenting and aging wine. Read more.
The Vinguard | A Few Words About Amphora with Andrew Beckham, Beckham Estate Vineyards
Andrew Beckham has been a ceramics potter for 25 years. This was his first love before he got into winemaking. In 2004, he and his wife, Annedria moved to their home in the Chehalem Mountains and planted their first vineyard in 2005. By day, he is a high school ceramics teacher, but over the last few years, he has become an international star on the amphora winemaking stage, traveling as far as Italy and Georgia to attend conferences and advise other winemakers. His wines are even sold in Tbilisi, Georgia’s capital. When I set out to devote an entire newsletter to amphora, it seemed only natural to discuss this subject with Andrew. Read more.
Wine Folly | Ancient Amphora Winemaking is Alive in Oregon
Ever wonder what ancient wines actually tasted like? Scientists have put together many details of how ancient wines were made from studying the ruins of 6000 year-old cellars. A key component of these cellars is the use of earthenware pots called amphora to make wine. Surprisingly enough, there is a producer reinvigorating the process of using amphora in winemaking in a rural suburb of Portland, Oregon. Read more.
Prince of Pinot | Beckham Estate Vineyard
A small, family owned and meticulously farmed vineyard in Oregon’s Chehalem Mountains. The property was acquired in 2004 with the intent of building a pottery studio, but Andrew convinced his spouse to try planting a few rows of grapes. The Beckham Estate Vineyard was founded in 2005 and the first wine was made in 2009. Read more.
SevenFifty Daily | Why an Ancient Winemaking Technique is Making a Comeback
Clay vessels have been used to ferment and age wine since ancient times. Neolithic Age wine vessels recently found in the Republic of Georgia were tested and confirmed to be the world’s oldest. “Almost every ancient culture, from the Canaanites to the Egyptians to the Assyrians to the Greeks and Romans, vinified in pottery vessels,” says Patrick McGovern, Ph. D., the scientific director of the Biomolecular Archaeology Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania Museum in Philadelphia. Read more.
Wine-Searcher | Back to the Future With Wine Amphorae
A couple of years back, concrete egg-shaped fermenters were all the rage in the most fashionable winery cellars. Today, you just aren’t with the times if you’re not fermenting or aging your wine in a vessel that’s been around for millennia: the terracotta amphora. But with only a few terracotta artisans manufacturing amphorae, supply is slim and prices are steep. In Oregon, however, one winemaker possesses an unusual pair of skills, leaving him poised to begin domestic production of clay fermentation vessels on American soil. Read more.
The World of Fine Wine | Beckham Estate: Connection Through Clay
Inspired by natural winemaking traditions in Italy, Oregon’s Andrew Beckham is producing wines of terroir in terra cotta vessels he handcrafts himself and is also selling to other winemakers. Read more.