Long steeped in the culture of Willamette Valley wine, Tony Rynders brings a steady hand, a seasoned eye, and more than two decades of winemaking experience to Zena Crown Vineyard. Tony has been working with Zena Crown fruit since 2008, and he accepted the role of Consulting Winemaker for the first domaine harvest in 2013. Tony takes the long view in his winemaking collaborations, suffusing Shane’s passion and exuberance with perspective and detail. With every Oregon vintage presenting a new and different challenge, Tony has learned to constantly listen and evolve in the adaptive winemaker’s playground of the Willamette Valley.
A Wisconsin native, Tony got his start in the wine business in 1989 at Mirassou Vineyards in California, and found his calling as a lab tech there in the cellar. Tony earned his Master’s Degree in Enology and Viticulture through the University of California at Davis in 1992, and broadened his scope by working harvests throughout the world. He then ventured northward from California to accept winemaking positions at Oregon’s Argyle Winery and Washington’s Hogue Cellars, and in 1998, Tony was named Winemaker for Domaine Serene in Willamette Valley. During his tenure there, Domaine Serene catapulted forward to become one of Oregon’s most prestigious properties and a leading producer of Pinot Noir in America.
In 2008, Tony founded his own label—Tendril Wine Cellars—narrowing his focus to small-lot, super-premium Pinot Noir. Today, he shares his years of experience and insight with a limited coterie of producers committed to maintaining the Willamette Valley as one of the world’s top growing regions for Pinot Noir. At Zena Crown Vineyard, Tony and Shane have the rare opportunity to control every detail of production size and style: “They’ve given us carte blanche in the vineyard and in the creative process.”
When he’s not zig-zagging from cellar to vineyard in the Willamette countryside, Tony spends his time cooking, biking, and working his third full-time job: fatherhood. He lives with his wife and children, in Forest Grove—which, as astute wine historians and Charles Coury fans point out, is the other birthplace of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.