By a cozy fire on the patio, wine enthusiasts taste pinot noir and tempranillo at Spire Mountain Cellars, taking in the view of the valley below from a foothill of Tyee Mountain.
Kevin Kohlman and his daughter-in-law Megan Kohlman opened the Spire Mountain Cellars tasting room by appointment only in July and are excited for the grand opening March 17 at 774 Hidden Meadows Lane, Oakland. In an old rustic barn with stone walls and stained concrete floors, the tasting room will be open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays following the grand opening.
Kevin Kohlman travels around the country for his work as a chemist, and said he has worked with wineries in California. He learned about the wine industry from those experiences and decided he wanted to have a vineyard of his own.
“We’ve had a passion for wine all our adult lives,” he said. “We started planting as soon as we came on the property.”
Kevin Kohlman and his wife, Karen Kohlman, began planting their pinot noir vineyard right when they moved to Oakland in 1999 with their sons, Tyler and Dan Kohlman. The family added a tempranillo vineyard in 2002. Kevin Kohlman said it’s been a family effort since the start, with everyone pitching in to plant, prune and harvest the vineyards that sit below a natural basalt spire for which Spire Mountain Cellars is named.
Tyler Kohlman married Megan in 2011 in the old barn, which opens up as a larger event center, and Megan Kohlman said she got involved in the vineyard right away.
“It’s been fun to learn the business, from planting to bottling,” Megan Kohlman said. “When I joined the family I knew nothing about grapes, and I slowly learned the process of working out in the vineyard and seeing the seasons the grapes go through.” She said she’s been involved with pruning, harvesting, making the wine, and now marketing and offering it to customers.
“It’s become a passion because I’ve watched it evolve through the whole process,” she said.
Dan Kohlman also got married at the event center to his wife, Destiny Kohlman, who helps out at the vineyard as well.
The Kohlmans started by selling its grapes to other wineries.
“We sold our grapes to other wineries for a long time, and the other wineries were winning awards with our grapes,” Kevin Kohlman said. The family began contracting with a wine maker before they started making their own wines at the Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College. Kevin Kohlman said he hopes to make the wine from the Spire Mountain Cellars property in the near future.
Along with pinot noir and tempranillo, Spire Mountain offers a dry rosé, dry riesling and pinot gris.
At 1,200 feet in elevation, the property is the original homestead of Hugh Cole, a settler who came to the area in the late 1800s. Four generations of Kohlmans live at the vineyard property, including Kevin Kohlman’s dad and Megan and Tyler Kohlman’s young children.
Megan Kohlman said wine tasters can expect a personal feel when they come out to the tasting room.
“This is not just a business but this is our home, so we want it to be a personal experience,” Megan Kohlman said.
So far, Spire Mountain Cellars has already hosted special event dinners and private parties, and it plans to be part of the Umpqua Valley Barrel Tour this May. The Kohlmans also represented the business at the Greatest of the Grape event Saturday, and their event calendar is quickly filling up with private events and weddings to come.