Our Story

About Us

J. Christopher is owned by Ernst “Erni” Loosen, the internationally acclaimed winemaker behind Germany’s Dr. Loosen and Villa Wolf estates. Erni has a lifelong passion for Pinot Noir, and he recognized in the early 1990s that there was something very special going on here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He became an avid collector of Oregon Pinot Noir, visiting the state often and establishing his U.S. import company here in 2003.

Erni was particularly drawn to the wines of J. Christopher. Here, he saw, was a New World wine made in the unhurried Old World style with finesse, a clear expression of terroir, and excellent aging potential. A collaboration soon followed with a finely selected, high-end Pinot that Erni named Appassionata, after the Beethoven piano sonata. A few vintages later, Erni cemented his investment in Oregon by purchasing 40 acres on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery where we continue to produce Appassionata and J. Christopher wines today.

Over the last decade, J. Christopher has earned international acclaim and has been named a Wine & Spirits World Top 100 Winery in multiple years. Today, under the experienced hand of winemaker Timothy Malone, our Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, Rosés and Rieslings continue to showcase the Old-World style that first attracted Erni to J. Christopher – a style that Erni has always maintained in his German wines. It’s a patient approach to winemaking that gives each wine the opportunity to fully express where it comes from, whether it’s the Old World or the New. We hope you’ll come visit the J. Christopher tasting room and garden patio to enjoy a glass or two.

About Us

Christopher is owned by Ernst “Erni” Loosen, the internationally acclaimed winemaker behind Germany’s Dr. Loosen and Villa Wolf estates. Erni has a lifelong passion for Pinot Noir, and he recognized in the early 1990s that there was something very special going on here in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. He became an avid collector of Oregon Pinot Noir, visiting the state often and establishing his U.S. import company here in 2003.

Erni was particularly drawn to the wines of J. Christopher. Here, he saw, was a New World wine made in the unhurried Old World style with finesse, a clear expression of terroir, and excellent aging potential. A collaboration soon followed with a finely selected, high-end Pinot that Erni named Appassionata, after the Beethoven piano sonata. A few vintages later, Erni cemented his investment in Oregon by purchasing 40 acres on Chehalem Mountain in Newberg, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery where we continue to produce Appassionata and J. Christopher wines today.

Over the last decade, J. Christopher has earned international acclaim and has been named a Wine & Spirits World Top 100 Winery in multiple years. Today, under the experienced hand of winemaker Timothy Malone, our Pinot Noirs, Sauvignon Blancs, Chardonnays, Rosés and Rieslings continue to showcase the Old-World style that first attracted Erni to J. Christopher – a style that Erni has always maintained in his German wines. It’s a patient approach to winemaking that gives each wine the opportunity to fully express where it comes from, whether it’s the Old World or the New. We hope you’ll come visit the J. Christopher tasting room and garden patio to enjoy a glass or two.

WINES

VINES

SUSTAINABILITY

MEET THE TEAM

Ernst Loosen, Owner

“A great wine begins in your head.” So goes the philosophy of Ernst “Erni” Loosen, owner of the J. Christopher winery in Oregon’s Willamette valley and the 200-year-old Dr. Loosen winery in Germany’s Mosel River valley. To Erni’s mind, a great wine should be true to its roots, vividly expressing its grape variety, geography, soil and climate. In Germany, Erni raised his family estate to near cult status by adhering to this clear vision – the same vision that guides the winemaking at J. Christopher.

Driven by an insatiable curiosity about wine, Erni loves to start new projects in new places. In 1996, following his passion for Pinot Noir, he took on the Villa Wolf winery in Germany’s Pfalz region, where the warmer climate would allow him to make Pinot for the first time. (Incidentally, 1996 is the same year that J. Christopher produced its first Pinot.) Three years later, his friendships in the Pacific Northwest led to his first U.S. winemaking venture: the high-end Eroica Riesling, which he makes in collaboration with Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. Named after a Beethoven symphony, Eroica celebrated its 20th vintage in 2019.

With Eroica in Washington and a U.S. import business based in Oregon, Erni soon had both feet planted firmly in the Pacific Northwest. It wouldn’t be long before he planted vineyards here, as well. In 2005, he launched his first Oregon winemaking venture, a high-end Pinot Noir cuvée made in collaboration with J. Christopher. For this passion project, he looked to Beethoven once again and found a fitting name: Appassionata. In 2009, Erni followed his passion to its inevitable conclusion, purchasing 40 acres in the Chehalem Mountains, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery where both J. Christopher and Appassionata wines are made today.

Under Erni’s leadership, recognition for J. Christopher wines has grown worldwide. At J. Christopher, as in all of his ventures, Erni emphasizes sustainable farming and gentle cellar practices to allow each wine to develop naturally to its full potential. The result: wines that represent the best possible expression of their grape variety from the place where they’re grown.

Candice Robben, Sales & Marketing Manager

Candice brings a warm, welcoming energy to J. Christopher. While she officially joined us in 2022, she’s been a part of the family for years. With many friends and a husband on the team, she pitched in with special projects and events, from the Chamber Music Festival in the cellar to parties on the patio, whenever we needed a hand. Today, as our sales and marketing manager, she applies her years of experience with high-end Oregon wine brands, and with us, to making sure that every customer, visitor and wine club member has an extraordinary experience with the winery.

In addition to sales and marketing, Candice oversees hospitality and public relations for J. Christopher. She has set her sights on building stronger connections in the Yamhill County community, representing us at more trade events, hosting new events at the winery for our wine club members, reimagining our tasting room to treat visitors to meaningful and memorable experiences, and bringing more wine lovers into the J. Christopher fold.

Outside of work, Candice enjoys downtime in McMinnville with her husband, Cliff, their two daughters, and their dogs. “Raising the girls and exploring life with them is really fun right now,” she says. And when it’s time to return to the winery, she enjoys every minute of the commute. “The drive from our little town to the winery is so beautiful,” she says. “It’s pretty hard not to be happy out here.”

J. Christopher winemaker Timothy Malone

Timothy Malone, Head of Winemaking and Viticulture

Tim has been elbow-deep in our wines for years. A native New Yorker, he sold J. Christopher wines for a high-end East Coast distributor before we lured him west in 2006 with an offer of harvest work and learning opportunities. Over the next couple of years, he learned from some of the best, including Cameron Winery in Dundee and Flowers Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma, before joining us full time as our assistant winemaker. Tim helped drive every aspect of our winemaking from 2008 until 2015, when he left to focus on his own label, Timothy Malone Wines. Happily, we lured him back as our head winemaker in 2020. Today, it’s a best-of-both-worlds story as Tim directs the J. Christopher and Appassionata production and continues to produce his own brand at the J. Christopher winery.

As much as he loves wine, Tim’s first love was music. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he finds that many of the lessons he learned in his pursuit of music also apply to winemaking. “I was a self-taught bass player as a kid,” he says, “and then I went hard core into getting properly trained. It became very technical, but after a while, it grew kind of stale.”

Ever since then, says Tim, “I’ve been trying to return to that earlier sense of amazement, mystery and wow.” At J. Christopher, Tim maintains the wow in his winemaking by trusting his senses. “To make really good wine, you have to use your nose, to listen to the fermentation, to watch the wine’s progression, to hold your hands over the pumice,” says Tim. “The sensory has to take priority over the purely technical.”

Years ago, you might have heard Tim play his bass in the winery or around town. He hopes to find time for that again. Until then, “I still keep a guitar and ukulele around and play for my kids,” he says, “but these days, it’s pretty much wine and kids, and a little exercise when I can get it.”

Daniel Emmes, Production Manager

Daniel Emmes is our own resident philosopher and personal emissary of the Loosen family. Like his uncle, Erni Loosen, Daniel considered other paths, earning a master's degree in philosophy (Erni studied archeology), but eventually, there was no denying that wine ran in his blood.

Daniel moved to Oregon from Germany in 2020 to join our team, but it wasn’t his first encounter with J. Christopher. He interned with us during his university days and returned to work the harvest in 2017 and 2019. In the years between, he chalked up some serious wine cred, including internships at Dr. Loosen and Domaine de Chavalier in Bordeaux, a two-year winemaking apprenticeship at Weingut Dönnhoff in the Nahe, and three years promoting international sales for Dr. Loosen.

As J. Christopher’s production manager, Daniel makes sure we have everything we need, from corks to barrels, to keep wine production flowing. He serves as a vital communications link from the vineyards to the cellar to sales, both by leading the charge to bring better information systems to the cellar and by helping out personally wherever he’s needed. In many ways, his earlier studies prepared him well for this: “Whether you’re talking about systems of thought or systems of production,” he says, “it’s all about understanding complexity. It’s very colorful.”

The well-traveled son of a diplomat, Daniel speaks six languages and would be happy to engage you in deep conversation in any of them. He also enjoys playing guitar, and while he’s mainly a rock guy, he has a special affinity for the songs of the late great philosopher Johnny Cash.

Lukas Pospiszyl, J. Christopher Wines Vineyard Manager

Lukas Pospiszyl, Vineyard Manager

Since 2018, Lukas “POSS-pi-shul” (not popsicle, thank you very much) has kept our vineyards happy, healthy and humming with life. Lukas takes a low-impact approach to vineyard management that respects both the vines and their environment. “It’s not about producing a lot of grapes,” he says. “It’s about producing really good grapes that reflect the soil, the climate and the area, so that when you taste the wine, you can say, ‘Yep, that’s a Chehalem Mountain Pinot.’”

Lukas has always enjoyed growing things – it’s the reason he pursued a degree in viticulture. In the vineyard, he says, “You really see that if you put effort in, you get something back. You put this tiny, fragile stick into the ground, you take care of it, and it evolves into this nice plant that gives you flowers, and then fruit, and you can actually taste the fruit of your work.”

A native of the Pfalz region of Germany, Lukas first worked for Erni Loosen at Villa Wolf before taking off to explore other parts of the wine world. Ten years later, after an internship at the famed Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in New York’s Finger Lakes, Lukas found himself looking for his next job just as Erni was looking for a vineyard manager at J. Christopher. And here he is.

In his time off, Lukas enjoys gardening (no surprise), hiking, taking road trips and tasting local wines – “or beers,” he adds. “I’m from Germany, so there’s always a beer in the glass.”

GENERAL MANAGEMENT

General business and financial management for the winery are provided by the executive team of Erni’s Oregon-based import company, Loosen Bros. USA: Kirk Wille, President; David Yang, Executive Vice President of Sales; and Clifford Robben, Vice President of Finance and Operations.

Cliff lives in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country and is actively involved in the local wine community. In fact, he is currently serving as board president of the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) our state’s much-loved annual event for Pinot lovers.

Clifford Robben General Manager at J. Christopher winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Clifford Robben, Vice President of Finance and Operations

Clifford Robben has been part of J. Christopher since before the winery existed – Fun fact: as a young intern at an accounting firm that specialized in the wine business, Clifford was assigned Erni as his first client. By the time he left the firm to work with Erni full time, both his position and his taste in wine had risen considerably. Today, he is a certifiable Riesling and Pinot Noir fanatic. For him, being involved in the first New-World Pinot Noir venture of one of the world’s great Old-World Riesling producers feels like winning the wine lottery. “Stylistically, I have a great appreciation for the J. Christopher wines,” he says. “Like great Rieslings, they really express where they come from.”

MEET THE TEAM

Ernst Loosen, Owner

“A great wine begins in your head.” So goes the philosophy of Ernst “Erni” Loosen, owner of the J. Christopher winery in Oregon’s Willamette valley and the 200-year-old Dr. Loosen winery in Germany’s Mosel River valley. To Erni’s mind, a great wine should be true to its roots, vividly expressing its grape variety, geography, soil and climate. In Germany, Erni raised his family estate to near cult status by adhering to this clear vision – the same vision that guides the winemaking at J. Christopher.

Driven by an insatiable curiosity about wine, Erni loves to start new projects in new places. In 1996, following his passion for Pinot Noir, he took on the Villa Wolf winery in Germany’s Pfalz region, where the warmer climate would allow him to make Pinot for the first time. (Incidentally, 1996 is the same year that J. Christopher produced its first Pinot.) Three years later, his friendships in the Pacific Northwest led to his first U.S. winemaking venture: the high-end Eroica Riesling, which he makes in collaboration with Washington’s Chateau Ste. Michelle. Named after a Beethoven symphony, Eroica celebrated its 20th vintage in 2019.

With Eroica in Washington and a U.S. import business based in Oregon, Erni soon had both feet planted firmly in the Pacific Northwest. It wouldn’t be long before he planted vineyards here, as well. In 2005, he launched his first Oregon winemaking venture, a high-end Pinot Noir cuvée made in collaboration with J. Christopher. For this passion project, he looked to Beethoven once again and found a fitting name: Appassionata. In 2009, Erni followed his passion to its inevitable conclusion, purchasing 40 acres in the Chehalem Mountains, planting the Appassionata Vineyard, and building the winery where both J. Christopher and Appassionata wines are made today.

Under Erni’s leadership, recognition for J. Christopher wines has grown worldwide. At J. Christopher, as in all of his ventures, Erni emphasizes sustainable farming and gentle cellar practices to allow each wine to develop naturally to its full potential. The result: wines that represent the best possible expression of their grape variety from the place where they’re grown.

Candice Robben, Sales & Marketing Manager

Candice brings a warm, welcoming energy to J. Christopher. While she officially joined us in 2022, she’s been a part of the family for years. With many friends and a husband on the team, she pitched in with special projects and events, from the Chamber Music Festival in the cellar to parties on the patio, whenever we needed a hand. Today, as our sales and marketing manager, she applies her years of experience with high-end Oregon wine brands, and with us, to making sure that every customer, visitor, and wine club member has an extraordinary experience with the winery.

In addition to sales and marketing, Candice oversees hospitality and public relations for J. Christopher. She has set her sights on building stronger connections in the Yamhill County community, representing us at more trade events, hosting new events at the winery for our wine club members, reimagining our tasting room to treat visitors to meaningful and memorable experiences, and bringing more wine lovers into the J. Christopher fold.

Outside of work, Candice enjoys downtime in McMinnville with her husband, Cliff, their two daughters and their dogs. “Raising the girls and exploring life with them is really fun right now,” she says. And when it’s time to return to the winery, she enjoys every minute of the commute. “The drive from our little town to the winery is so beautiful,” she says. “It’s pretty hard not to be happy out here.”

Candice brings a warm, welcoming energy to J. Christopher. While she officially joined us in 2022, she’s been a part of the family for years. With many friends and a husband on the team, she pitched in with special projects and events, from the Chamber Music Festival in the cellar to parties on the patio, whenever we needed a hand. Today, as our sales and marketing manager, she applies her years of experience with high-end Oregon wine brands, and with us, to making sure that every customer, visitor, and wine club member has an extraordinary experience with the winery.

In addition to sales and marketing, Candice oversees hospitality and public relations for J. Christopher. She has set her sights on building stronger connections in the Yamhill County community, representing us at more trade events, hosting new events at the winery for our wine club members, reimagining our tasting room to treat visitors to meaningful and memorable experiences, and bringing more wine lovers into the J. Christopher fold.

Outside of work, Candice enjoys downtime in McMinnville with her husband, Cliff, their two daughters and their dogs. “Raising the girls and exploring life with them is really fun right now,” she says. And when it’s time to return to the winery, she enjoys every minute of the commute. “The drive from our little town to the winery is so beautiful,” she says. “It’s pretty hard not to be happy out here.”

J. Christopher winemaker Timothy Malone

Timothy Malone, Head of Winemaking and Viticulture

Tim has been elbow-deep in our wines for years. A native New Yorker, he sold J. Christopher wines for a high-end East Coast distributor before we lured him west in 2006 with an offer of harvest work and learning opportunities. Over the next couple of years, he learned from some of the best, including Cameron Winery in Dundee and Flowers Vineyards & Winery in Sonoma, before joining us full time as our assistant winemaker. Tim helped drive every aspect of our winemaking from 2008 until 2015, when he left to focus on his own label, Timothy Malone Wines. Happily, we lured him back as our head winemaker in 2020. Today, it’s a best-of-both-worlds story as Tim directs the J. Christopher and Appassionata production and continues to produce his own brand at the J. Christopher winery.

As much as he loves wine, Tim’s first love was music. A graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston, he finds that many of the lessons he learned in his pursuit of music also apply to winemaking. “I was a self-taught bass player as a kid,” he says, “and then I went hard core into getting properly trained. It became very technical, but after a while, it grew kind of stale.”

Ever since then, says Tim, “I’ve been trying to return to that earlier sense of amazement, mystery and wow.” At J. Christopher, Tim maintains the wow in his winemaking by trusting his senses. “To make really good wine, you have to use your nose, to listen to the fermentation, to watch the wine’s progression, to hold your hands over the pumice,” says Tim. “The sensory has to take priority over the purely technical.”

Years ago, you might have heard Tim play his bass in the winery or around town. He hopes to find time for that again. Until then, “I still keep a guitar and ukulele around and play for my kids,” he says, “but these days, it’s pretty much wine and kids, and a little exercise when I can get it.”

Daniel Emmes, Production Manager

Daniel Emmes is our own resident philosopher and personal emissary of the Loosen family. Like his uncle, Erni Loosen, Daniel considered other paths, earning a master's degree in philosophy (Erni studied archeology), but eventually, there was no denying that wine ran in his blood.

Daniel moved to Oregon from Germany in 2020 to join our team, but it wasn’t his first encounter with J. Christopher. He interned with us during his university days and returned to work the harvest in 2017 and 2019. In the years between, he chalked up some serious wine cred, including internships at Dr. Loosen and Domaine de Chavalier in Bordeaux, a two-year winemaking apprenticeship at Weingut Dönnhoff in the Nahe, and three years promoting international sales for Dr. Loosen.

As J. Christopher’s production manager, Daniel makes sure we have everything we need, from corks to barrels, to keep wine production flowing. He serves as a vital communications link from the vineyards to the cellar to sales, both by leading the charge to bring better information systems to the cellar and by helping out personally wherever he’s needed. In many ways, his earlier studies prepared him well for this: “Whether you’re talking about systems of thought or systems of production,” he says, “it’s all about understanding complexity. It’s very colorful.”

The well-traveled son of a diplomat, Daniel speaks six languages and would be happy to engage you in deep conversation in any of them. He also enjoys playing guitar, and while he’s mainly a rock guy, he has a special affinity for the songs of the late great philosopher Johnny Cash.

Lukas Pospiszyl, J. Christopher Wines Vineyard Manager

Lukas Pospiszyl, Vineyard Manager

Since 2018, Lukas “POSS-pi-shul” (not popsicle, thank you very much) has kept our vineyards happy, healthy and humming with life. Lukas takes a low-impact approach to vineyard management that respects both the vines and their environment. “It’s not about producing a lot of grapes,” he says. “It’s about producing really good grapes that reflect the soil, the climate and the area, so that when you taste the wine, you can say, ‘Yep, that’s a Chehalem Mountain Pinot.’”

Lukas has always enjoyed growing things – it’s the reason he pursued a degree in viticulture. In the vineyard, he says, “You really see that if you put effort in, you get something back. You put this tiny, fragile stick into the ground, you take care of it, and it evolves into this nice plant that gives you flowers, and then fruit, and you can actually taste the fruit of your work.”

A native of the Pfalz region of Germany, Lukas first worked for Erni Loosen at Villa Wolf before taking off to explore other parts of the wine world. Ten years later, after an internship at the famed Dr. Konstantin Frank winery in New York’s Finger Lakes, Lukas found himself looking for his next job just as Erni was looking for a vineyard manager at J. Christopher. And here he is.

In his time off, Lukas enjoys gardening (no surprise), hiking, taking road trips and tasting local wines – “or beers,” he adds. “I’m from Germany, so there’s always a beer in the glass.”

GENERAL MANAGEMENT

General business and financial management for the winery are provided by the executive team of Erni’s Oregon-based import company, Loosen Bros. USA: Kirk Wille, President; David Yang, Executive Vice President of Sales; and Clifford Robben, Vice President of Finance and Operations.

Cliff lives in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country and is actively involved in the local wine community. In fact, he is currently serving as board president of the International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) our state’s much-loved annual event for Pinot lovers.

Clifford Robben General Manager at J. Christopher winery in Oregon's Willamette Valley

Clifford Robben, Vice President of Finance and Operations

Clifford Robben has been part of J. Christopher since before the winery existed – Fun fact: as a young intern at an accounting firm that specialized in the wine business, Clifford was assigned Erni as his first client. By the time he left the firm to work with Erni full time, both his position and his taste in wine had risen considerably. Today, he is a certifiable Riesling and Pinot Noir fanatic. For him, being involved in the first New-World Pinot Noir venture of one of the world’s great Old-World Riesling producers feels like winning the wine lottery. “Stylistically, I have a great appreciation for the J. Christopher wines,” he says. “Like great Rieslings, they really express where they come from.”