Here at RAM Cellars, it’s our pleasure and honor to bring hand crafted wines to you and yours. We seek to make small batch lots of wines that are reflective of both the season they were grown and the varietal characteristics of the grapes they contain. We do this through native yeast ferments on all wines, zero fining or filtration, minimal sulfite levels and meticulous treatment of our wines through their life-cycle in the cellar. We work with some of the under-hyped Bordeaux varietals in Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, as well with Tempranillo, Pinot Noir, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Gruner Veltliner. Utilizing neutral french oak or stainless steel aging to accentuate the true varietal characterictics of the grapes, we work to develop balanced, approachable wines that exhibit good acidity and aromatics. We pick fruit earlier than many other wineries in order to ensure that our wines are acid forward and we typically produce dryer whites, rosés, and red wines that are authentic and straightforward!
Meet the Winemaker
Hi! My name is Vivianne Kennedy (she / they), and I’m the owner and winemaker at Portland Urban winery RAM Cellars. We make small lots of natural wines with grapes we dearly love, in southeast Portland.
I believe in working with growers who handle grapes sustainably and with meticulous care. I believe in making natural wines with native yeast ferments, no fining or filtration, and the absolute minimum sulfite levels necessary for shelf stability. And I believe that wine is a social elixir that should be more accessible to all.
I’m in unique position as a transgender woman working in the wine industry, and feel it’s important to use our platform to do good for communities I’m a part of.
From 2014 to 2019, RAM Cellars was just me , with occasional spot help for a few bigger events and a spare set of hands here and there during harvests. I launched the winery in 2014 and released the first RAM Cellars wines in early 2016. Pouring the wine somewhere nearly weekly, I created a market for the wines, bottle by bottle, at wine shops, New Seasons & Green Zebra Grocery stores, and restaurants in Oregon and Washington.
In 2018, I made the decision that saved my life, and came out as a transgender woman. In the spring of 2019, I launched the first wines under a new label, dubbed “VIV”, which raise money for organizations that provide support to queer and transgender people through a $5 donation for the sale of every bottle. Although the name of this label is the shorthand of my first name, it’s actually named ‘VIV’ because that’s also the french root word that means “To live, to be alive” and, as I can tell you, making the choice to come into the light and live fully as myself means that I too get to live, and be alive, for a long time to come. And with that extra life comes extra responsibility to do good, meaningful things for members of communities I'm part of, which led to the birth of the new label. Partners whom the VIV label has raised money for to date include the Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund (in support of their Name Change Project) and Portland’s Q Center.
In August of 2019, Rebecca Fry (She / They) joined team RAM Cellars as our assistant winemaker. The 2019 harvest was a collaboration between Bex and I that yielded some truly beautiful wines in our VIV label Pinot Noir blanc & Pinot Noir Rose. Rebecca took the lead on our beautiful 2020 Le Belier Orange during harvest 2020.
Then, in May of 2020, our communications and social media director, Aidan Kennedy (They / Them), joined the team. Aidan then joined Bex and I as part of the winemaking team during the harvest of 2020, taking the lead on the Rose of Tempranillo!
The 2020 wines that Rebecca, Aidan, and I crafted are hitting the shelves around Portland (and most states, digitally via our website) NOW!
In closing, I'd like to share my thoughts on mentoring Bex & Aidan this past harvest:
”I love making wine. With every fiber of my being. And I want to see more queer people doing it, having access to making wine and being able to successfully learn how to do it and be a part of our industry. To that end, for harvest 2020, I was overjoyed to see wine through a new perspective and support Aidan and Rebecca through the process of being the lead winemaker on their chosen projects, doing what I can to empower other queer folks to craft beautiful wines, starting with the queer folks closest to me. I hope that I’m able to continue to do this - and am thankful for the time that I have, doing what I love: making wine, and imparting that knowledge to others while I’m at it”