Lynn Penner-Ash: The Female Wine Pioneer Who Revolutionized the Oregon Wine Industry

The Dundee Hills

Willamette Valley’s Lynne Penner-Ash

Lynn Penner-Ash is a trailblazing female winemaker from the Willamette Valley who has earned a reputation as a “master blender” and has become synonymous with exquisite, world-class wines. Alongside her husband, she founded Penner-Ash Wine Cellars in 1998, which has since become a renowned winery in Oregon, the United States, and the entire wine world.

Lynn is an accomplished winemaker who has worked with other notable winemakers like Kate Ayres to produce exquisite wines. She has forged successful alliances with other Willamette Valley winemakers, solidifying her influence and presence in the Oregon wine industry and paving the way for women in the wine industry.

The Penner-Ash winery collaborates with some of Oregon’s most distinguished vineyards, including Bramble Hill Vineyard, Bella Vida Vineyard in Dundee Hills, Yamhill-Carlton’s Shea Vineyard, and Zena Crown Vineyard in Eola-Amity Hills. These vineyards are known for their unique Pinot Noir terroir, wine characteristics, flavors, and textures.

A Wine Lover's Paradise: Discover the Beauty of Penner-Ash Winery nestled in the Heart of Yamhill, OR
A Wine Lover’s Paradise: Discover the Beauty of Penner-Ash Winery nestled in the Heart of Yamhill, OR

Lynn has a bachelor’s degree in viticulture and a degree in enology from the University of California, Davis. She worked at several vineyards and cellars, including Domaine Chandon, Stag’s Leap Cellars, and Chateau St. Jean, before joining Rex Hills Vineyards. She was among the first female winemakers in the region and made a name for herself before leaving to start Penner-Ash Wine Cellars.

Lynn’s passion and understanding of wines enabled her to run a successful consultancy, and she became the first female winemaker in the Willamette Valley. Her eye for detail and practical experience in leadership positions contributed to her establishment in the wine industry. She served in several leadership positions, including participating actively in the Oregon Pinot Noir Camp as a director and the International Pinot Noir Celebration. Additionally, Lynn Penner-Ash was a mentor to many upcoming winemakers in the Willamette Valley.

Penner-Ash Sells to Jackson Family Wines

In 2016, after nearly two decades of being an independent winery, Penner-Ash Winery announced that it was sold to Jackson Family Wines, a family-owned company based in California. The sale was seen as a strategic move for both parties, with Jackson Family Wines gaining a foothold in the Willamette Valley and Penner-Ash Winery being able to expand its reach and distribution.

Lynn Penner-Ash expressed her excitement at the acquisition, noting that the Jackson family shared her passion for quality winemaking and commitment to sustainability. She also assured fans of her wines that the acquisition would not change the winery’s approach to crafting exceptional Pinot Noir and Syrah.

Since the sale, Penner-Ash Winery has continued to produce top-rated wines and has even expanded its tasting room and hospitality offerings. The winery remains a testament to Lynn Penner-Ash’s legacy as a pioneering female winemaker and her dedication to crafting world-class wines. 

A Stunning View of Penner-Ash Winery in the Serene Willamette Valley
A Stunning View of Penner-Ash Winery in the Serene Willamette Valley

When asked about her favorite grape, Lynn revealed that she wouldn’t be in Oregon if it weren’t for her love for Pinot Noir. Besides her Pinot, Lynn has an attachment to Champagne. Outside of winemaking and tasting, Lynn loves climbing, having conquered Mount Everest and Mount Kilimanjaro.

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Want to read more on women winemakers? Try these books!

Pinot Girl A Family. A Region. An Industry Cork Dork- A Wine-Fueled Adventure Among the Obsessive Sommeliers, Big Bottle Hunters, and Rogue Scientists Who Taught Me to Live for Taste

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