Founded by Ted and Meri Gerber, Foris Winery and Vineyards is family-owned and managed. In 1971, Ted and Meri purchased hillside acreage in southern Oregon's remote Illinois Valley with the specific intention of growing grapes. Starting from scratch, they built a house, bought the land that is now Gerber Vineyards, and began planting grape vines. As one of the state’s grape growing pioneers, the Gerber family recognized the potential to grow high quality, premium viniferous grapes in the higher elevations of the region. For a number of years they provided fruit to various vintners in southern Oregon, and in 1986 started producing their own wines under the Foris label.
Foris now boasts more than 178 acres of estate vineyards, just 25 miles due east of the Pacific Ocean in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley appellation. Founding owner, Ted Gerber’s commitment as a caretaker of the vineyards since the planting of the first vine to the last, is the hallmark of Foris and the foundation of the family's commitment to produce distinctive, high quality wines.
The entire Gerber family subscribes to a simple philosophy that has served them well over the years. They strive to make the Foris experience "nice enough so that everybody enjoys coming to work." They go out of their way "to be friends to their employees, not just bosses." If low employee turnover and high client satisfaction are any indication, their philosophy appears to be working well.
Stephanie Pao is the female creative artiste behind the delicious and stunning wines of Foris Vineyards and Winery.
Stephanie received a Bachelor of Science degree in Molecular Biology from the University of California, San Diego in 1997, and then went on to study viticulture and enology at the University of California, Davis.
"What drew me to the profession was the opportunity to make both technical and creative decisions, to work in a small business in a rural setting, and because I like food and wine," Stephanie shared.
Before joining the Foris team, Stephanie spent time at Double Canyon, a custom crush in Washington, and three years with Justin Vineyards and Winery in Paso Robles. Her experience with Pinot Noir includes stints with Bethel Heights and Lemelson in Oregon as well as a season overseas with Dry River Vineyards in Martinborough, New Zealand. Lastly, she was a harvest enologist for the 2008 harvest with Saintsbury in Napa. At Robert Mondavi Winery, Stephanie was a winemaking intern in their reserve wine program for Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon.
She came on board as head winemaker with Foris in 2017.
"The opportunity to work with a grower with such depth of experience in a site is rare," Stephanie said. "I look forward to meeting the challenges of the position and am excited about crafting high quality, estate grown wines that will continue to enhance Foris’ reputation both nationally and within Oregon."
Stephanie loves what she does, champions other women who are interested in the wine business, and encourages them to take a chance.
"I think most of us look to some of the earlier women pioneers as women who have led the way for us to enter the profession. But I would definitely encourage women with different backgrounds to consider winemaking as a profession," she said. "Working a harvest to explore your interest is a low commitment way to really get a feel for what the profession requires, and we certainly need people with different educational backgrounds in the industry to bring their minds to new challenges we are facing with climate change, and also to bring their creativity to the craft and work. Women winemakers may be in the minority, but they are really diverse in approach and personality, and that diversity is reflected in the wines they produce and the culture of their cellars. People who stay in the profession do tend to be people that persevere."
his delightful white wine opens with aromas of honeysuckle, tangerine and ginger, developing white peach and herbs as it breathes. On the palate, it begins with flavors of slate, lemongrass and nectarine, finishing with sweet ginger spice.
This elegant, dry wine features delicate aromas of yellow rose, lychee, peach and cardamom, leading to a delightful palate of nectarine, citrus, rose petal and orange pith. It finishes with sweet ginger and white pepper tones.
Rich with aromas of tuberose and Meyer lemons, this lovely Pinot Blanc has a balanced acidity and a plush palate with pear, citrus and lingering notes of lemongrass.
Simply refreshing! This mostly-dry wine's nose delights with scents of pear, white peach, sweet orange and Meyer lemon. The palate is juicy with mouth-watering acidity, tangerine and nectarine, persisting with sweet citrus and honey on the finish.
Medium-bodied with a supple texture, this uplifting Chardonnay exudes lovely notes of honeysuckle and Meyer lemon. The palate boasts rich toast and lush stone fruit flavors.
A wildly aromatic wine with abundant amounts of white peach, pear, orange blossom and honeysuckle, this Moscato is delicately effervescent lending a bright refreshing quality to an otherwise sweet wine.
Light and dry, this rosé has a flowery and herbal bouquet, with notes of magnolia, freesia and lemon thyme. It is round and full on the palate, overflowing with mouthwatering flavors of fresh strawberry, melon and white pepper with just a twist of lime at the finish.
Foris Rogue Valley Pinot Noir features aromas of plum, fresh herbs and an enticing floral note. On the palate, flavors of raspberry, berry compote,mocha and white pepper shine through.
This Pinot Noir is fragrant with black raspberry, white pepper, baking spices and a characteristic floral note. The palate melds flavors of berry compote, Jamaica pomegranate and barrel spice.
This Tempranillo has a reductive fresh fruit character with fresh blueberry and black fruit, mocha, and chocolate, integrated with baking spices on the palate. It is medium-bodied with juicy fresh fruit qualities, good acid and dusty tannins.