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Meet Pattie & Mark Björnson

Pattie and Mark met at the University of Minnesota in 1985. They married, raised four children, and worked in the Twin Cities until Mark was able to move his job to Oregon in 2005. Their plan was to spend weekends driving the countryside in search of their dream – a vineyard site with forests and streams. Within months, they purchased a scenic 107-acre farm in the Eola-Amity Hills and set to work. Since then, they have cleared and planted a 28-acre vineyard, built a winery, and produced award-winning wines. Their progress was made possible by taking viticulture and winemaking classes at Chemeketa Community College. Pattie also interned at Bethel Heights Winery, learning from Ben Casteel.

“LOOK ME UP WHEN YOU WANT TO GET MARRIED.”

The idea for Björnson Vineyard was conceived in the 1980’s when Pattie met Mark at the University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management. Pattie asked, “What do you want to be doing in 20 years?” Mark contemplated a moment before answering, “Long-term, I want to live in the country, plant an orchard and garden, and raise a big family.” Pattie was shocked. Most people in business school during the 1980’s had long-term goals of running a Fortune-500 company, not running a family farm. She responded with humor, “Wow! Look me up when you want to get married.”

The dream of an orchard evolved into a vineyard after a staying at several small wineries on month-long tandem bicycle trip through Europe in 1993. By this time, Mark and Pattie had developed an interest in wine, and since they loved the beauty of Oregon, it was the natural target for their land search.

Mark and Pattie’s passion for wine has grown out of an interest in many things. They love to grow and prepare quality food. They love to travel and meet new people. They love to work with their hands and be outside. They love to learn. Growing grapes and making wine embodies all these interests in a special way.

It was in 1989 that Mark and Pattie’s passion for Pinot Noir probably began when they went to purchase wine for their wedding. When they asked the Wine Steward how many cases of White Zinfandel they should buy for 150 guests, the Wine Steward tactfully encouraged Mark and Pattie to purchase a number of different varieties so that all of their guests might find something appealing. After the wedding, the leftover wine became the start of their cellar. Over time, Mark and Pattie gravitated to Pinot Noir as their favorite variety (so far!).

The Björnson Family

From the moment that Mark and Pattie met, they agreed about the importance of family – both nuclear and extended. Although they grew up in families that were quite different in many aspects, their core beliefs were the same. To Mark and Pattie, winemaking is a passion (a way to make a living); the family is life. They hope that these values are instilled in their own children.

Kaitlyn – graduated from Oregon State University in Chemical Engineering, is married to Daniel, and is working in an important role – mom to Lily and Willow! They live in Washington.
Kristjan (Kris) – graduated from University of Oregon, completing the CPA exams, and pursued a Masters in Analytical Audit at University of Southern California. Kris works as an Auditor in New York.
Claire – graduated from the University of Oregon where she double-majored in Romance Languages (passion) and Accounting. After passing her CPA exams, Claire lives and works in Portland.
Hunter – attended a couple years at Washington State University then took a break to work harvest in the Red Mountains (Washington) and at Björnson Vineyard. He currently works at a marina in Washington and plans to continue his education at Oregon State University.

Many Thanks

“We are extremely thankful for the continuous help and encouragement we have received from our family and friends – those who understand our past and believe in our future. We are grateful for to the many experienced people in the Oregon Wine Industry who have welcomed us, mentored us and helped us get established. It is a tremendously supportive and collaborative community.”
– Mark & Pattie Björnson

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