Grace and Ken Evenstad settled in the Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley in 1989. At the time, the couple had spent more than 20 years together in Minnesota and had a deep appreciation for the wines of Burgundy. The Evenstads had faith in Oregon early on even well before there was a national market for domestic Pinot Noir. Oregon is on the same latitude as Burgundy and therefore also has a temperate climate. On average a fraction warmer, but this state is also characterized as an area with sufficient precipitation and a good difference in temperature between day and night and summer and winter.
Grace and Ken had the conviction and a bit of a dream to grow and produce world-class Pinot Noir, so they invested in a 42-acre hilltop estate that had just been cleared in Oregon's beautiful Dundee Hills. With the support of their family, the Evenstads founded Domaine Serene, essentially creating Oregon's luxury wine industry. They named the winery after their daughter, Serene, and their first vineyard on the estate was named after their son, Mark Bradford Evenstad.
Today, Domaine Serene produces wines from six individual wine estates, planted exclusively with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Each estate offers a diversity of soils, clones, rootstocks, microclimates, slopes and elevations that give the wines distinctive complexity and elegance.
In 2001, the Evenstads completed the construction of their current state-of-the-art Pinot Noir winery with five levels and completely gravity-based so no pump is involved. Quite recently, they completed a new winery dedicated to the production of Chardonnay and sparkling wine, the first of its kind in Oregon. Domaine Serene will debut their new sparkling wine later in 2021/2022. Located on the prestigious Winery Hill Estate, the wineries were built as a statement for the quality of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay that can be produced from the world-class Dundee Hills AVA.
Since its first vintage in 1990, Domaine Serene has produced award-winning wines, including Evenstad Reserve Pinot Noir, recognized as the world's #3 wine of 2013 by Wine Spectator Magazine. In addition, the 2012 Winery Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir was named the Top Pinot Noir in the World by Decanter magazine in 2016 and the 2014 Evenstad Reserve Chardonnay received 95 points and was ranked as the #2 wine in the world in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the year. This made Domaine Serene the only winery in the world to receive a Top 3 classification in Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year for both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. In 2017, the 2013 Jerusalem Hill Pinot Noir was awarded the Top American Pinot Noir at the Decanter World Wine Awards. Through its continuous pursuit of quality and innovation, Domaine Serene has gained worldwide recognition as an iconic quality leader of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
In April 2015, the Evenstads expanded their original vision to produce world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay by purchasing Château de la Crée, a Burgundy wine estate in the Côte d'Or. Burgundy vintners have been buying vineyards in Oregon for years, but now the Evenstads have reversed the trend. “Owning and farming legendary vineyards in Burgundy is a dream come true for us,” says Ken Evenstad. "We have a unique opportunity to make our own wines from famous vineyards such as Morgeot in Chassagne-Montrachet, Clos des Angles in Volnay and La Garenne in Puligny-Montrachet, where world-class wines have been made for centuries." This latest endeavor gives Grace and Ken another chance to further develop their expertise with their favorite varietals and to "discover" a new terroir of the place that inspired their winemaking more than 30 years ago.
For the past 30 years, Domaine Serene, under the leadership of the Evenstads, has focused on excellence in a never-ending quest to produce world-class Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Their mission is to produce excellent quality through continuous improvement and a commitment to extremely high standards. The wines of Domaine Serene represent the achievement possible in Oregon, one of the most beautiful regions in the world for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.
June 18, 2021, the relationship between Oregon and Burgundy has grown even closer. Evenstad Estates, the owner of Domaine Serene in Oregon and Château de la Crée and Maison Evenstad in Burgundy, announced a significant expansion in the Côte d'Or in Burgundy with the acquisition of Domaine Christian Confuron & Fils. The domain includes 15 hectares of grands crus and premiers crus vineyards in the Côte de Nuits.