Mark and Pattie Bjornson are the grower-winemaker team, and founders of Björnson Vineyard. Their journey began in 1985 at the University of Minnesota when they dreamed of someday living in the country, raising a large family and farming. They married, raised four children, and worked in the Twin Cities until Mark’s job took them to Oregon in 2005. Within months, their long-term vision began to take shape when they purchased a scenic 107-acre parcel in the Eola-Amity Hills – complete with forests, creeks and a 20-foot waterfall.
Immediately they set to work, planting the 28-acre vineyard from 2006-2012, and naming the four main vineyard blocks after their children. During this time, they also studied viticulture and enology at Chemeketa Community College’s Wine Studies Center, and made many friends in the wine industry through their involvement with the Willamette Valley Wine Growers Group and Eola-Amity Hills AVA.
From 2011-2013, Pattie worked as an intern for Ben Casteel at nearby Bethel Heights Winery, and starting in the spring of 2013, she managed the construction of Björnson Vineyard winery. The wine production area was completed days before the 2014 grapes were harvested, and she quickly shifted gears from General Contractor to Winemaker – scrambling to outfit the winery with necessary winemaking tools and equipment. Now Pattie’s primary focus is on Winemaking and Business Management.
Mark’s focus is primarily on managing the vineyard and grape sales, but he also sits in on wine blending trials, and is an expert repair technician all aspects of the vineyard and winery. To support the development of Björnson Vineyard, Mark maintains a full-time day-job, but he hopes to become a full-time farmer soon.
Today, their team that supports their winegrowing endeavors are Scott Sabbadini, Winemaker; Gerry Rasch, Director of Sales; Aaron Svechenko, Tasting Room Manager; Nancy Morrow, Wine Club Manager; and Paul Futrell, Vineyard Manager. Pattie and Mark are grateful to their family, and the Oregon winemaking community for their ongoing support – particularly John Grochau and the Bethel Heights “Family.”