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Ray Walsh travels 14,000 miles each year to make wine. We’re talking George Clooney “Up in the Air” kind of frequent flyer miles here. After all of that, the least we can do is head to Eugene to taste his Capitello wines. They are well worth the effort.

Capitello Wines is best known for: Its New Zealand-Oregon connection.

Walsh travels to Marlborough in New Zealand every March to make pinot noir and sauvignon blanc. He started making the marathon journey in 2006.

Later in the year, Walsh makes a wide variety of Oregon wines at the Capitello winery facility he owns and operates in downtown Eugene with Jennifer Hilliard-Walsh, his wife and national sales/marketing director.

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History: Walsh grew up surrounded by vineyards in Auckland, New Zealand. He earned a university degree in fermentation sciences and began his winemaking career with New Zealand wineries Villa Maria Estate and Coopers Creek.

After taking five-month research internships with King Estate Winery in 1993 and 1994, Walsh accepted a full-time position with them in 1995. He left King Estate 10 years later to launch his Capitello Wines brand.

— Michael Alberty writes about wine for The Oregonian/OregonLive. He can be reached at To read more of his coverage, go to

Original Article: Michael Alberty – Oregon Live