Kelley Fox

Oregon, USA

Kelley Fox Wines is a small Oregon winery created in 2007 by Kelley Fox along with her father, Gerson "Gus" Stearns.  Kelley is a veteran of the Oregon wine scene and has been a full-time, year-round, on-the-floor winemaker since 2000. Her winemaking experience includes stints at Torii Mor, Hamacher, and Eyrie, as well as ten years as the winemaker at Scott Paul Wines. Since 2015, Kelley has happily worked exclusively on her own wines.

After receiving dual master’s degrees in Biochemistry and Biophysics from Oregon State University, Kelley entered the Biochemistry PhD program but decided to later change her path and pursue winemaking.  She was deeply influenced by her dear friend and former employer, the late David Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards.  David was the ultimate iconoclast who pioneered the Oregon wine industry in the 1960’s. David Lett’s influence has certainly carried over into the style of wines produced at Kelley Fox Wines.  The wines are made to reflect the land, the vines, the fruit, the year, and everything else unknown and unseen that comes with those things. They are Oregon wines that display an honesty and transparency that are truly expressive of its origins and place. 

Her annual case production is now around 5000 cases, spread out over many different wines. Having worked so long in Oregon, she has access to some of the top vineyards in the state, many of which were planted in the 70’s or early 80’s. These include the historic Maresh Vineyard, Hyland Vineyard, Freedom Hill Vineyard, Weber Vineyard, Durant Vineyard, Dux Vineyard, Carter Vineyard and Canary Hill Vineyard. All the wines are made with a deft touch so as to allow each vineyard to have its voice

Kelley’s winemaking has evolved over the years to try and create the transparency she is looking for from these great sites (the details of which she chronicles on her website). The small lot fermentations have always been done with all native yeasts and no additions, enzymes, etc. After pushing a high percentage of whole cluster inclusion in her early days, she now does 30-50% for her Pinot Noirs, with gentle punch downs by hand (no pumpovers). Fermentations last around 12 to 20 days, and all of the wines are aged in 100% used, French oak barrels since 2012, down from 30% new oak in her early days.  

All that said, the wines are not really "made" at all.  Kelley has no end result in mind each year for what the wines will be, but rather lets them express themselves along the way. What she is doing takes a lot of inner and outer work in responding to the essence of the fruit from each block, along with the details of the year (the weather, the stars and the planets, etc. etc.). 

As the writer Josh Raynolds succinctly states, “I consider this small producer’s graceful, finely etched Pinots to be among the very best being made in the New World”. We couldn’t agree more!