All good things take time. So the saying goes. And this juvenile got off to a real slow start. We took our sweet time selecting premium ingredients, meticulously milling the grain, working and fermenting the mash, and most importantly, making well-considered, ruthless cuts at the condenser. Pot distillation is a slow, lengthy process, that when done properly and patiently can take 16 hours for one pass through the still. Rushing things usually leads to inaccuracy. On the other hand, critical decisions for making the right cuts need to be made within minutes, sometimes split seconds. This is likely where the wildness came from. Sometimes even the most well thought out of plans seem to develop a mind of their own. Anyway, we kept and collected only the very best fraction of distillate and lovingly placed it in oak to mature.
Ransom Spirits was started by Tad Seestedt in 1997 with a small life savings and a fistful of credit cards. The name was chosen to represent the debt incurred to start the business - Tad was paying his own ransom to realize his dream. Initially, the distillery made small amounts of grappa, eau de vie and brandy. Ransom began the production of a number of small-batch fine wines in 1999. In 2007, we took up the craft of grain-based spirits, adding gin, whiskey and vodka to the lineup. In 2010, we combined our crafts of winemaking and distilling to create our first Dry Vermouth.
Both the distillery and the winery moved several times in their early days, and in 2008, the purchase of a forty-acre farm outside of Sheridan, Oregon brought them together for the first time. Our first vines were planted in spring 2010, and barley has been planted since 2008. Ransom Farms is located in the Willamette Valley in the foothills of the Coastal Mountain Range, and is home to an abundance of wildlife including cougars, pheasants, and elk. In keeping with our commitment to sustainability and stewardship, our farm has been certified Organic since 2011. ?
Our wines exemplify true varietal character and express the individuality of our growers, vineyards, and vintages. Choosing vineyards with a commitment to quality and sustainability is always our first step, but they must also have pure expression of terroir, unique flavors, and a fellow iconoclast aboard the tractor. We seek out old vine, high elevation sites, many in the Eola Hills, which have the innate nerve and balanced acidity to make evocative, food-friendly wines naturally.
We distill our spirits in a hand-hammered, direct-fired French alembic pot still, making all of the selective cuts by taste and smell, without the use of computers or robots. This labor intensive, traditional method of distillation retains greater aromatic intensity and body from the raw materials we select with such great care. We mash and ferment our base wort on site weekly in small batches, sourcing local and organic grains where possible and incorporating barley grown on our own farm. Our gins include the finest natural botanicals, many of which are Organically grown in Oregon.
At Ransom Spirits, we strive daily to embody our core values of historicity, craftsmanship, and terroir. In working hard every day to make products that speak to their literal and figurative roots, we believe that we have created dynamic, terroir-driven wines and craft spirits with the weight and aromatic complexity of their predecessors which also speak meaningfully to a new provenance; the green foothills of the Oregon Cascades, where a new tradition of winemaking and distilling is springing to life.
We believe that wine and spirits are a celebration of life, deserving of a place on our table each day. Drinking premium quality, handcrafted wine and spirits does not need to be either expensive or pretentious, and both can compliment good food and add to the sense of delight and fulfillment found in gathering to eat and drink. It is the function of libations to enhance fellowship, discussion, and the exchange of ideas. So visit the market, invite over friends and family, and raise a toast to health and happiness through good meals, conversation and socializing! SALUD!!!!!