Winemaker Rob Folin, doesn’t have a fancy enology degree, he drives a souped up pick-up truck, and is proud of his military background; you could say he is a little “Rogue.” While he may not be your stereotypical winemaker, Folin has consistently produced standout wines with depth, character and elegance from his Southern Oregon winery since 2005.
The oldest son of Scott and Lorain Folin, Rob graduated from Crater High School, just a stones throw from the family’s estate vineyard. After high school he quickly enlisted in the United State Marine Corp, where he excelled at heavy equipment operations and was a natural leader.
Folin is a graduate of Oregon State University where he enjoyed studying abroad, traveling and focused his educational efforts on merchandise management. Following graduation Rob took a job selling men’s suits at Nordstrom, where he quickly realized that what he really wanted was to work outdoors and create something.
In 2002 Folin took an internship at Domaine Serene winery in Dayton, Oregon. His strong work ethic, forklift driving skills and innate ability to help wherever help was needed earned him a permanent position with in the company. Rob moved his way through the ranks, learning much about the wine making process, earning himself the title of Cellar Master.
Capitalizing on a small parcel of land that had previously housed a failed baby kiwi project on his parent’s farm, Rob encouraged them to plant a small amount of wine grapes, with which he would produce their own family label.
Folin’s wines are produced in small lots, and individually fermented in ton and a quarter increments. His focused efforts allow him to concentrate on quality rather than quantity, turning out a humble 1500 cases annually. While he bottles each variety on its own, Folin also takes advantage of the varietal diversity creating unique blends. His most popular (and the wine he most enjoys making), is the Misceo. Latin for “to blend,” the Misceo is a combination of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, and varies each vintage. It was also the motivation for Folin’s decision to plant these heat loving Rhone varietals.
In addition to the Folin Cellars wines, Rob also produces a small amount of wine under the Hayward label. Hayward, Folin’s paternal grandmother’s maiden name, and also his middle name, is a tribute to the Folin family heritage and their willingness to take the path less traveled. These 75 cases lots are produced from fruit not grown on the Folin Estate. His Utopia Vineyard, Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir, has consistently received praise and accolades, often surrounded by some of the best Pinot Noir producers in Oregon.
“There are no shortcuts to making good wine and I won’t release a wine that’s not up to my standards,” Rob says. “If my family’s name goes on the bottle, you know that I’m 100 percent proud of what’s inside.”