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Our Roots


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Our Roots


Stewardship, Growth & Celebration

 

In 2009, with their dedication to preserving and sustainably farming the land, fifth generation Newberg resident Ken Austin III and his wife, Celia, planted the first vines on their estate in the Chehalem Mountains. On May 1st 2015, the Austin’s celebrated the release of their first vintage, the 2013 Estate Pinot Noir. Driven by quality and inspiration, Rain Dance embraces the natural phenomenon of the Pacific Northwest,  where the sun and notable rainfall nourish roots that run deep, in rich and bountiful soil.  

We invite you to embark on our journey of inception, cultivation, exploration and ultimately discover the celebration of Rain Dance wines.

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Our People


Our People



Honor & Dedication Builds a Legacy

Celia & Ken Austin
OWNERS

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Humble stewards to the land. Creative talents to their trades. Celia & Ken Austin III have dedicated their lives to enhancing the community and the state that they love.

Ken was born and raised in Newberg, he is a fifth generation Oregonian; while Celia’s family moved to Chehalem Mountain in 1966 from Portland. Both attended Oregon State University and studied there at the same time but never crossed paths. It wasn’t until after graduation when Celia began working at A-dec in Newberg that they met. Since 1977 Ken & Celia have carried out a successful partnership both in marriage and business. From 1976 to 1990 Ken ran a manufacturing company. Then, in 1991, they established Rain Dance Ranch and began one of the country’s premier llama ranches. Ken & Celia traveled the world in search of the finest breeding stock and it paid off. Over the past 25 years they have had several national champions and take great pride in their practice of breeding quality bloodlines for excellence in conformation, fiber and temperament. To this day, the Rain Dance Ranch llamas are a prominent fixture on the hillside of Bell & Herd Roads in Newberg. They are busy at work clearing blackberries, scotch broom and poison oak from what will be future vineyard sites. With great appreciation for the arts, Celia opened Rain Dance Marketplace in 2011. The store boasts the creative work of many local artists, including Ken’s fine woodworking.

Over the years, Ken & Celia watched as the small farming area they have lovingly called home most of their lives began to rapidly grow. They began acquiring parcels of land in order to preserve it for agricultural use. By 2008 the Willamette Valley had become a world class wine destination and Ken & Celia took note. After realizing the many benefits of viticultural practices for the land, they decided to have one of their parcels evaluated to become a vineyard site. Low and behold, Ken & Celia came to realize they had property with perfect soil for cultivating fine fruit. In 2009 Rain Dance Vineyards was established and their first vineyard was planted on Chehalem Mountain that Fall. With their dedication and enthusiasm, Ken & Celia strive to ensure that Rain Dance Vineyards will honor the heritage of their family and create a lasting legacy for generations to come.


Bryan Weil
WINEMAKER

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Bryan’s progressive path to becoming a winemaker was one that allowed him to combine a passion for food and wine with his acute precision in science and craftsmanship.

Born and raised in Salem, Oregon, Bryan began his career in culinary school where he was encouraged to take a wine and food-pairing course during his studies. It was there that his passion for wine first took hold and naturally his appreciation and love for Oregon Pinot Noir flourished. From culinary school, Bryan enrolled at Oregon State University majoring in Food Science and Technology where he earned his degree in Enology and Viticulture. Bryan’s vast experiences in both the vineyard and cellar span across three continents with work at Domaine Serene, Tyee Wine Cellars, Hogue Cellars and Kim Crawford. In 2012, Bryan had the unique opportunity to supervise the completion of Alexana Winery and join the team as Winemaker. In 2013 the same opportunity presented itself where Bryan traveled to Argentina to assist in the completion of Alexana’s sister winery Corazon Del Sol. It was also in 2013 that Bryan began working with Celia and Ken to craft Rain Dance wines.

Bryan possesses a special virtue that shows in his winemaking. He admires the diversity of the Willamette Valley and the wonder of the vine rich soils that it holds. His precision and keen judgement show in the end result. Bryan is thrilled to be working with Celia and Ken and the fruit from Rain Dance. With their shared respect of the land, enthusiasm to craft amazing wines and the OSU Beavers, it is a winemaker and grower relationship shaped to inspire.

Bryan lives in Dundee with his wife, Meghann and their dog, Lainey. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, scuba diving, aeronautics, sports, snowboarding and of course food and wine!


Evan Bellinger
VINEYARD MANAGER

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Born and allegedly raised in Bellingham Washington, Evan Bellinger has nurtured a lifetime love of growing things, learning, and the outdoors. He earned a degree in Horticulture from Oregon State University, and was OSU's first graduate with the Viticulture and Enology Option. While at OSU he was deeply involved in student groups and government, founding a philanthropic event that is still raising money for agriculture related charities to this day. Evan was also the student manager at OSU's research vineyard, learning hands on viticulture from Scott Robbins.
 
After OSU, Evan came to Yamhill County and worked with a local vineyard development and management company as a vineyard site manager. Evan joined Results Partners LLC for the 2011 growing season and thus began his relationship with Rain Dance Vineyards. When asked about the most intriguing part of working with Celia, Ken and the various estate vineyards, Evan had this to say: "Definitely the love of nature. Ken and Celia are true stewards of the land. When we develop a new block, we walk it and discuss each tree and how it could fit into the vineyard. We often leave a grove so that deer can have a place to graze, even if the land is prime Pinot noir land. As Ken and Celia have often said, their goal is to keep the Chehalem Mountains in productive farms, and vineyards are the best way to do that. Ken is also a true craftsman who appreciates the value of working with your hands, and getting to see some of his woodworking projects is a real treat."
 
In his spare time, Evan also enjoys landscape gardening and growing bonsai trees, reading, running, garagiste style wine making, kayaking and going for walks in the beautiful streets of Newberg with his family.


 Ralph Jackson
General MANAGER

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With a deep respect for an area he has called home his entire life, Ralph is grateful for the opportunity work with the properties of Rain Dance and to be a part of an industry that honors the viticultural integrity of the land.

Born and raised McMinnville, Oregon, Ralph attended Oregon State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. Ralph spent nearly 40 years in the financial world working for US Bank as a lending officer and branch manager. He then worked for the state as a Public Finance Officer, where he underwrote credit for public water and sewer systems, infrastructure loans, grants and bonds. In 2012 Ralph began working with Celia and Ken to assist in managing the various businesses they had established. Today Ralph oversees more than 140 acres of property including vineyards, llamas and the Rain Dance Marketplace.

In becoming a part of the rapidly growing wine industry, Ralph says it has been exciting and educational. Like Celia and Ken, Ralph passionately believes in maintaining the land and approaches its care conscientiously with forward thinking.

Ralph lives in Newberg with his wife, Chris. In his free time, he dabbles in auto mechanics, woodworking and fishing. He enjoys spending time in the outdoors of the Pacific Northwest and quality time with Chris and their two sons.


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 Meghann Weil
SALES & MARKETING MANAGER

Meghann was born and raised on the Monterey Peninsula of California, but spent most summers and holidays at her grandparent’s vineyard in St. Helena, Napa Valley. Every year harvest was a family affair and from an early age Meghann was exposed to all of the elements of wine: passion, labor, patience and reward. Upon graduating from California State University, Monterey Bay, with a degree in Early Childhood Education, Meghann made the permanent move to St. Helena. Torn between two passions; wine and education, Meghann began working as a sales representative in the tasting room at Whitehall Lane Winery while at the same time substitute teaching in Napa Valley Schools and beginning courses to obtain her teaching credentials. Ultimately, Meghann’s intrigue and desire to learn about wine took hold and thus began her professional career in the industry. Meghann began taking viticulture and winery courses at Napa Valley College and immersing herself in home studies. With a progressive path, Meghann gained experience as Wine Club Manager at Cakebread Cellars, as a National Sales Representative for Jepson Vineyards and then as Director of Distribution Sales & Marketing at Napa Wine Company. With a move to Oregon, Meghann began working with Southern Wine & Spirits before joining Rain Dance in January 2016.

Meghann is honored to be working with Celia and Ken and shares in their philosophy of creating both exceptional wines that speak to the region and a brand that has a lasting legacy in a place their family has called home for generations.

Meghann lives in Dundee with her husband, Bryan and their dog, Lainey. Meghann is a dedicated and enthusiastic San Francisco Giants and 49ers’ fan and enjoys traveling, skiing, gardening, reading and studying interior design. She is also an avid runner and hiker.