About Us

Sometimes, A Great Notion
Turns Into Reality

John_vineyard

Dr. John Zelko comes from a family of doctors. His father was an ophthalmologist and was always disappointed that he didn’t follow his career path, (but at least his brother did).  John and his wife Kathy moved to Oregon in 1983 from Hawaii filled with romantic visions from Ken Kesey’s “Sometimes a Great Notion”, perhaps the greatest Oregon book ever written. Looking for a lush landscape of frontier and promise they sought out experiences that were fresh, cool and offered a hint of craziness.

They became enamored of the local wines and at the request of a good friend, Rachel Starr, they spent several years as part-time “cellar rats” helping her make wine and learning what it takes to produce a superb vintage. Eventually John and Kathy bought a ton or two of Pinot Noir from lesser known vineyards and made their first wine in Linton. This went on from 1992 to 1999 when Starr Winery moved to Newberg. By 1995, the insanity was in full fever and they purchased 40 acres of exceptional land in the Eola-Amity Hills in the north Willamette Valley. This is where their estate vineyard was planted in 1996 and where Z’IVO was born.

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