James is the Winemaker, Vineyard Manager, and Founder of Syncline Wine Cellars.
Originally from the Midwest, he graduated with a degree in Microbiology and Organic Chemistry before moving to Oregon to pursue wine making. First hired as a cellar master at Secret House Vineyards in 1995, James concentrated on furthering his education. The following year he moved to LaVelle Vineyards (Willamette Valley) and worked his way to winemaker of Custom Crush production. At LaVelle he was exposed to a wide variety of Varietals and Wine making styles; from Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Walla Walla Merlot to Northwest Sparkling wine. James also creates series number VI for Force Majeure Vineyards
Poppie is the General Manager for Syncline Wine Cellars.
Following seven years of world travel, university study in New York City and Amsterdam and love for wine, Poppie moved to Oregon from Provincetown, MA in 1997 to become involved in the production of wine. She went on to work harvests at LaVelle, as well as in the vineyards of neighboring wineries and practiced Biodynamic farming at Wintergreen Farm, OR.
Ava, now eight years old, loves to greet all who come to visit the winery. She is very hands-on, both in the winery and vineyard, helping us with everything from picking grapes to getting the wine into bottles. If you come to visit, she is always happy to give you a grand tour of her ‘big backyard’.
Naomi was born in 2010. She arrived with eyes wide open and has been a joyful, shining light on all of us.
Birth of Syncline Winery: James and Poppie Mantone.
Poppie and James met during the harvest of 1997 while working together in the cellar at LaVelle Vineyards (Willamette Valley, Oregon). Shortly after, they had fallen madly in love, married and began plans for a new endeavor: a winery of our own.
Four years later they relocated their home to the Columbia Gorge; where passion for Rhône wines led them to explore the emerging potential of vineyards in the Columbia Valley, Washington.
Inspired by early efforts of Rhone and Burgundy varietals sampled from Washington wineries, Syncline’s first vintage consisted of 76 cases of Celilo Vineyards Pinot Noir from vines planted in 1972. The next year, production was increased to include Columbia Valley Syrah and Grenache. At the same time they began working with vineyards to plant Viognier, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Cinsault, Counoise and Carignan.
They have kept production under 6,000 cases annually to ensure intimacy with each barrel and every vine.
Naming of Syncline Wine Cellars
Syncline Wine Cellars is located along the Columbia River in southern Washington State. The location, in the eastern Columbia River Gorge is unique place for growing wine grapes. The estate vineyard, Steep Creek Ranch, is located on a southern slope, on the very eastern edge of the new Columbia Gorge AVA. Directly west of the vineyard and winery is a series of 300-foot cliffs rising up into the surrounding mountains straight out of the Columbia River. Locally known as the “Coyote Wall Syncline” and to geologists as the “Bingen Syncline,” this dramatic feature gives the winery its name. It is at this point that the rainy western Columbia Gorge transitions to the semi-arid eastern Gorge.