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Joe Ginet, Plaisance Ranch

Joe Ginet, Plaisance Ranch

Joe Ginet, Plaisance Ranch

Bio – Joe Ginet is the 3rd generation “Joe” winemaker in the Ginet Family. He graduated UC Davis and started milking dairy cows on today’s farm in 1979. In 1998, the family planned to switch to wine grapes after a family visit to Savoie, France. Longer and fascinating story short (read up on the history on their website), they sold the dairy cows and switched to beef cattle and winegrapes in 2002 when they certified the ranch Organic, and the current Joe began winemaking in 2006. You’re invited to contact Joe directly for info, interviews, quotes, story ideas: 

What’s the ONE THING most unique, authentic, and memorable about your winery brand?

After a back packing, U-rail pass trip to Europe in 1972, visiting my roots in Savoie, I realized I wanted to pursue a wine growing future.  The lack of successful wineries in Southern Oregon at that time made acquiring a loan to start a winery impossible but financing for a dairy farm attainable.  With a UC Davis diploma and an Alaskan grub stake we started milking cows at the current location in 1979.  In 1998 my cousins from Savoie visited and we devised a plan for switching from milk to wine.  They were in the Grapevine nursery business in Savoie (Pépinérs) so with some investment from them and our resources we started Plaisance Viticulture.  We were selling around 50,000 grafted vines per year and slowly getting our estate vineyards planted.  All this time I was making garage wines honing my winemaking skills.  In 2002 my cousins returned to France and in 2004 the financial and economic situation was such that we were able to sell the dairy heard, certify the ranch Organic and start the beef herd.  In 2006 we became a TTB bonded winery.  One unique feature of our winery is that we have repurposed the dairy facility into a functioning winery producing 24 distinct, award-winning, wines yearly.  Our farming practices are not only Organic but also, we use some Biodynamic and we are very much committed to Regenerative farming.  One of our fields has not been plowed for 130 years, supporting over 36 species of grasses, legumes, brassicas, mustard family.  We also support many wildlife and pollinators.

Describe how and what you’d do with your winemaking career or winery business if you were not constrained. Sky’s the limit!

I think with no financial or time constraints I would have developed a management team that would allow the continued existence of Plaisance Ranch.  We have five children but none that want to take over the reins and be under the thumb to pay off siblings.  It would take more vineyards, more distribution etc.  Also, I would consider becoming Biodynamically Certified.

What is the One Wine most emblematic of your brand and/or winemaking style? Tell us its story.

The one wine would be our single variety “Mondeuse”.  Because it is unique, it is our heritage, my family is invested in this grape.  I’m still learning how to make this wine better, you only get one chance per year, so, patience is the biggest ingredient of fine wine. Stay tuned for this wine review, coming sometime in mid-June.

Bonus Question – Why Winemaking?

I’m doing this because I like it!

Also, there is something about making money that is very fun.  After dairy farming these 310 acres for 28 years and then taking 15 of the least productive acres and making them four times more productive than the rest of the ranch combined was a fulfilling accomplishment.

Another aspect that was fulfilling was when I realized that I have an innate or inherited acumen for winemaking.  When I finally felt comfortable to run with my intuitions, act on the perceptions of my nose or pallet and make a better wine.

I have a BS in Animal Science and Chemistry but winemaking is not rocket science it is as much art as science, 50/50.  God made grapes to make wine with, just don’t mess it up!


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