Our history

We began twill cellars as a project to explore some of the more unique terroirs in Oregon while employing the three varietals best suited to express the variations of land and vintages that we are hoping to capture.  We're a fairly unobtrusive bunch - organic in the fields and very low impact in the winery.  All of our wines are sourced from the grape and no procured bulk wine is used in our production.  We likely won't attain Instagram fame or pay too close attention to trend-setting wineries, though our hope is to keep ahead by crafting serious wines that are vineyard and vintage specific from some of the best terroirs in Oregon. 

Molly and Darrel Roby began as growers of a small, 2.7-acre vineyard that they planted together in 2000. With the guidance of a stellar foreman, Luis Hernandez, they’ve learned the subtle details in farming for wine and not just fruit.  Darrel sees to the day-to-day work in the vineyards while fixing or innovating new equipment for the cellar.  Molly handles hospitality and keeps our immeasurable amount of paperwork humming along. When they have the chance, they can be found exploring the great gastronomy in Portland or spending time with their pup Mica, a Bernese Mountain Dog. 

Chris Dickson was determined to find a way to travel and get away from writing papers for a while after graduating from UNC Chapel Hill following studies in Psychology and Biology. A while is still present tense and following twelve years of work in wine production around the world for many excellent winemakers - Matello, Evesham Wood, Penner-Ash, Betz Family, Framingham, Landmark, Lammershoek and Dr. Loosen - he continues to hone the quality of wines he crafts. When he’s not scrubbing a tote or moving something to get to something, he's spending time with his wife Ruth, their four cats, a shovel for yardwork and levain for baking.

Jonathan Sundy, our resident artist, has known Chris since high school in Pittsburgh, PA. When Chris was looking for a designer for this project he happened across Jonathan’s work and discovered he had also settled in Portland.  Jonathan's talent and exceptional fine art ability help bring the essence of twill cellars to life visually. 

Below is a parable we refer to in the search for what this project is or might become.  It was written by Aldo Leopold, a famous conservationist, from his book A Sand County Almanac (1949).

"There is an allegory for historians in the diverse functions of saw, wedge, and axe.

The saw
The saw works only across the years, which it must deal with one by one, in sequence. From each year the raker teeth pull little chips of fact, which accumulate in little piles, called sawdust by woodsmen and archives by historians; both judge the character of what lies within by the character of the samples thus made visible without. It is not until the transect is complete that the tree falls, and the stump yields a collective view of the century. By its fall the tree attests the unity of the hodge-podge called history.

The wedge
The wedge on the other hand, works only in radial splits; such a split yields a collective view of all the years at once, or no view at all, depending on the skill with which the plane of the split is chosen[...]

The axe
The axe functions only at an angle diagonal to the years, and this is only for the peripheral rings of the recent past. Its special function is to lop limbs, for which both the saw and wedge are useless.

The three tools are requisite to good oak, and to good history."