The phone rang. Alex Fullerton’s preschool teacher was on the line. “Is everything alright at home?” she inquired.
“Why. . . yes. Why do you ask?” responded Susanne, Alex’s mother.
“Alex keeps swirling his milk and spilling it. I’m concerned about him.”
After swirling his way through his childhood and adolescence, Alex Fullerton officially started his career in wine working as a cellar hand for Penner-Ash Wine Cellars and Bergström Wines. He came into the world of winemaking with scientific curiosity and a deep appreciation for wine’s ability to transcend language, culture, and place. His family’s journeys through Burgundy, Bordeaux, Champagne, and other Old World regions instilled a deep respect for the art and culture of wine and winegrowing. Alex first learned the winemaking process through hands-on work in the winery, and by asking mentors like Josh Bergström and Lynn Penner-Ash an uncountable number of questions about tending vines and making wine.
Alex studied viticulture and enology at Oregon State University. Having already developed a substantial understanding of wine production, he took full advantage of his time in the classroom to further explore the art and science of winemaking. “I was able to delve deeper into the subject because of my experience, and more confidently focused on topics that interested and challenged me.” He strives to achieve a balance between his first-hand experience and his classroom knowledge in order to make authentic, age-worthy wines that speak the language of this place—the Willamette Valley.
As with many things, Alex believes less is more. Grapes can make wine naturally, with a little help from yeast of course. This reality, in conjunction with Alex’s experience tasting hundreds of fermentations (both inoculated and spontaneous), guides him toward a preference for spontaneous fermentations. Additionally, Fullerton Wines eschews fining, resulting in vegan-friendly wines. Select wines will receive cross-flow filtration if they show they benefit from the process.
Alex’s winemaking philosophy emanates from his respect for vineyard sites. Working as a guide, he helps the grapevines produce concentrated, balanced, and healthy fruit. Stylistically, Alex crafts elegant, distinctive, and age-worthy wines with lively acidity, graceful tannins, and a tight core of fruit, accompanied by layered secondary notes. The finished wines speak profoundly while reflecting the vineyard and the vintage. His style also enables the wines to evolve gracefully over time, and pair beautifully with food.