LEAH JORGENSEN JEAN
Captain & Pirate Princess / Founder, Owner & Winemaker
Leah is wife to Asa and mom to Iver. She’s been in the wine indy for two decades and started making her own wine in 2011. The daughter of an Oregonian, Leah moved to the land of Douglas firs from the land of dogwoods in 2004 after attending Oregon Pinot Camp. She has worked for pioneering wineries including Erath Vineyards, Adelsheim Vineyard, and Ste. Michelle Wine Estates as a sales, marketing and communications expert before leaving behind administrative offices for the lure of the cellar.
A graduate of Sweet Briar College for women, with a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing, Leah went on to earn postgraduate degrees in holistic nutrition at the Wellspring School, studying a curriculum of Traditional Chinese Medicine and Functional Medicine, and then Enology, the science of winemaking, at the Northwest Viticulture Center. Leah finds her inspiration in her father’s farming heritage rooted in Denmark and Norway, and her mother’s winemaking heritage rooted in Italy and Austria. Leah specializes in the production of Cabernet Franc, what she calls the ultimate Cinderella grape.
1) If not yourself, who would you be? An astrophysicist. And a writer for SNL.
2) What’s your favorite quirky thing to do in Oregon? Picking roadside blackberries.
3) What food do you dream about? Dozens of Pacific Northwest oysters.
4) What are your most beloved hobbies? Writing, taking a Nordic sauna, cooking, hosting themed dinner parties, stargazing, quantum physics talk, and making up songs for my baby.
5) A fun(nny) fact about you that only a few people know? I used to do stand up comedy when I was a small child to entertain my family, as well as for school talent shows – my best work included impersonations of the cast of “Welcome Back Kotter”. And I love April Fools pranks. I’m also a verbal processor, but, instead of talking to myself all day, I sing about what I’m doing or thinking about – as if I’m in a musical.
6) Favorite song of all time. And why? “Sunshine on my Shoulders” by John Denver. This song always makes me cry. It was the song for my father/bride dance at my wedding.
7) What motivated you to work in food/wine? Honestly, I got bored with a cubicle desk job at a corporate think tank. I told myself there had to be more to life than that. So I took a job managing a whimsical wine shop in Washington, DC and haven’t looked back!
8) Favorite quote? “Barns burnt down…now I can see the moon” (Mizuta Masahide).
9) What do you want to be when you grow up? A poet.
10) If you had to get a tattoo right this second what would it be and why? A realistic oyster with a pearl. Lots of reasons. I’m an east coast/west coast girl and oysters are a nice metaphor for living on both sides of the country. Oyster shells are beautiful. I love to eat them (oysters, not the shells). I make white wines that are meant to accompany them. Pearls are also lovely metaphors – patience, a grain of sand becoming a pearl. And, for every major milestone in my life, my parents bought me Mikimoto pearls – earrings, a ring, and a string necklace. They are treasures to me! In fact, I really only wear my pearl earrings.
First Mate & Quartermaster / Director of Sales & Operations
Asa is husband to Leah and dad to Iver. He hails from Atlanta, Georgia and is employed as a Key Account Manager for Mitchell Wine Group in Portland. He is certified in wine by the CSW and WSET-1 Saké and has traveled through many old world wine regions, including the Minervois where his aunt owns a home. Asa is known by some in the industry as the “Millennial Falcon”. He is a Toastmaster and often teaches and critiques public speaking for his colleagues. Asa has years of restaurant and bartending experience and makes a wicked good Manhattan. He studied Theater and English at Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. Prior to the wine business, Asa has worked as a professional actor in NYC and Nantucket, he’s managed an art gallery in Nantucket, and he’s managed luxury boat sales – where he also honed his pressure washing skills that naturally translates to cleaning wine presses.
1) If not yourself, who would you be? A professional actor or investment banker.
2) What’s your favorite quirky thing to do in Oregon? Picking roadside blackberries.
3) What food do you dream about? SPAM pizza.
4) What are your most beloved hobbies? Gardening, shucking oysters, cooking, listening to financial/biz/tech podcasts, mowing my acre-yard with a cold beer, making buckets of cider from my fruit trees, and teaching my toddler how to work in the dirt.
5) A fun(nny) fact about you that only a few people know? I am a human manifestation of Dionysus.
6) Favorite song of all time. And why? Live fiddle played around a campfire… why? Because it feels right.
7) What motivated you to work in food/wine? Honestly, it was just an accident.
8) Favorite quote? “We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time – how much is enough” (Wendell Berry).
9) What do you want to be when you grow up? A gentleman farmer.
10) If you had to get a tattoo right this second what would it be and why? A fighting cock. Why? Because sailors get pigs and roosters tattooed on their feet because pigs and roosters usually survive shipwrecks.
Sailing Mistress & Navigator / Hospitality Specialist
After living most of her life in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in Elementary Education, and deciding to leave the frozen tundra of the Midwest to trade it in for the lush PNW, Shannon landed in Oregon 10 years ago. She became fascinated with the wines of Southern Oregon, working for handfuls of wineries in the Umpqua Valley, and quickly figured out wine was her new jam. You may recognize her smiling face from her days at Blackbird Wineshop and Thelonious Wines in Portland where she fell in love with Leah Jorgensen wines! Celebrating her 10th year in Oregon wine, Shannon has found a home here with Leah Jorgensen Cellars. When she’s not slinging the juice, you can find her getting lost in the nature foraging all the goodies, rocking out with her ukulele, and busting out the ole vinyl collection.
1) If not yourself, who would you be? A travel writer
2) What’s your favorite quirky thing to do in Oregon? Mushroom hunting.
3) What food do you dream about? My dad’s pan fried venison and walleye.
4) What are your most beloved hobbies? Bird/plant identification, camping, kayaking, yoga.
5) A fun(nny) fact about you that only a few people know? I was the only girl on my flag football team in college.
6) Favorite song of all time. And why? Dream Weaver by Gary Wright It’s just got a great vibe and I love to belt it out!
7) What motivated you to work in food/wine? I fell in love with the landscapes in Oregon and felt there was such magic in the vines on the hills.
8) Favorite quote? My 2021 Mantra: I am peace, I am love, I am joy ♥️
9) What do you want to be when you grow up? An R&B singer.
10) If you had to get a tattoo right this second what would it be and why? Some sort of flower vine on the top of my foot as I’ve always thought it would be cool.
Boatswain & Cooper / Cellar Assistant
Emily was born and raised on the central coast of California, Emily is a graduate of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. She graduated in 2017 with a degree in Wine and Viticulture concentrating in Enology. Post grad, she left the states for harvest in Australia and upon her return was lured to Oregon with a harvest spot at Soter Vineyards. There, she became hooked on Oregon and spent the next 2 1/2 years working with Ponzi Vineyards. “My favorite years in wine have been with a micro boutique winery on the coast of California, Stolo Vineyards,” Emily says. “Leah Jorgensen Cellars feels like coming home to the small scale production that I love! I haven’t worked directly with varietals other than Pinot noir since my first harvest in 2014, so I’m looking forward getting my hands into some Gamay and Cab Franc.”
1) If not yourself, who would you be? A wildlife photographer or stained glass artist.
2) What’s your favorite quirky thing to do in Oregon? Float down a river followed up by stopping at a food truck.
3) What food do you dream about? Rosmarino gnocchi or the gooey-ist grilled cheese.
4) What are your most beloved hobbies? Chasing my dog through vineyards, dipping my toes in the ocean, soaking up sunshine on a boat, and I dabble in sewing.
5) A fun(nny) fact about you that only a few people know? My nickname is Potato.
6) Favorite song of all time. And why? Hotel California by the Eagles Has been since middle school. It takes me back to long drives down dirt roads with the windows down – it’s magic.
7) What motivated you to work in food/wine? It’s an industry of art, science, and agriculture. What more could I want?
8) Favorite quote? Something I picked up from my grandma – “Assume nothing. Question everything.”
9) What do you want to be when you grow up? A beach bum.
10) If you had to get a tattoo right this second what would it be and why? A wavy line connected around my ankle so I never forget to put on an anklet and to remind myself that everything in life comes and goes in waves.