Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye – Owners
Iris Vineyards is owned by Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye, who live on the 800 acre estate including Chalice Vineyard at Iris Hill. Richard’s love of wine has its roots in his childhood, with early memories of making wine with his grandmother from grapes grown at their home on the Umpqua River in Roseburg, OR. The grapes were pressed using a small wood press which Richard’s father made as a high school woodshop project. Later, Richard’s dad, an occasional but ambitious cook, prepared memorable meals with carefully chosen wine pairings for extended family feasts. These experiences impressed upon Richard that good food and good wine are among life’s great and rewarding pleasures. During his teenage years, Richard began fermenting his own wine from fruit, berries and grapes gathered from around his family home.
At the University of Oregon, Richard and Pamela discovered a mutual interest in excellent food and wine. Together they toured the few wineries that were in operation in the Willamette Valley and after graduate school and a move to Seattle, the wineries of Washington State. When Richard’s employer offered the opportunity to move to Europe and open company offices, Richard and Pamela jumped at the chance. Weekends were frequently spent exploring the wine regions of France, Germany and Switzerland. After several years abroad, Richard and Pamela returned home to Oregon to start a family and turn their passion for wine into their own vineyard and winery.
After selecting a piece of property with the proper soil composition, orientation to the sun, and proximity to other pursuits in Eugene, OR, the vineyard was planted beginning in 1996. Iris’ first vintage was released in 2001. In addition to the vineyard, hundreds of acres of forest were planted on the property and are cultivated to the present day. Richard and Pamela also enjoy gardening and maintain a large garden on their property. Self-sufficiency and living well have been driving forces behind their journey together, and Iris Vineyards embodies these closely held ideals.
Aaron Lieberman – Winemaker
Aaron's interest in the Oregon wine industry started in 1990 while studying soil science at Oregon State University. After graduation, he spent three years in Guatemala with the Peace Corps. There he taught farmers how to improve crop yields through plant and seed selection. In 1996, Aaron landed a job at Amity Vineyards. He has managed and/or planted several notable vineyards in the Willamette Valley. In 2001 Aaron began working in commercial wine making starting with a harvest at De Ponte Cellars in the Dundee Hills under winemaker Isabelle Dutartre. In 2002 he began making wine for his own label while working at Walnut City Wineworks. Aaron accepted the assistant winemaker position at Owen Roe in the spring of 2003 where he worked with David O'Reilly through the 2007 vintage. Aaron was informed of the opportunity to work as the first winemaker at Iris Vineyards by a long time industry friend in the spring of 2008. Now going into his tenth vintage at Iris, Aaron has a well-developed knowledge of the estate vineyard as well as the best ways by which to coax the most flavor from grapes sourced from other vineyards throughout Oregon.
Kacy Minnis - General Manager
Kacy has been in the hospitality industry in conjunction with green house jobs since she began working. Slowly, but surely these two industries drew her towards wine. With a love for people, food, gardening and the Oregon wine scene, Kacy began working at Sweet Cheeks Winery in 2006. There she was involved with direct to consumer sales, wholesale, administrative duties, event planning and wine club management. She then spent three years as the General Manager.
In 2015 she dipped into the cider industry but ultimately her passion for the wine industry brought her back to Iris Vineyards in late 2016. Kacy completed her bachelor’s degree at Viterbo University in 2004 and as well as completing the Small Business Management program at Lane Community College in 2016.
Josh Parkinson - National Sales Manager
Like many people, Josh’s first foray into the world of wine began with what could generously be described as “table wine.” From there he just started exploring – trying everything he could, always believing in the mantra that wine’s primary purpose is to be enjoyed, and that good wine is for everyone. In college, he would often save up for that special bottle or a varietal he’d never tried, and with family ties to Oregon, it did not take long to develop an affinity for the diversity and nuance of the great wines this state produces.
As a confirmed wanderer, he has ambled around this country and the world at large, building businesses, making friends, drinking wine, and laughing. Somewhere along the way he went to law school, graduating in 2004 and practicing law for several years thereafter. Then, after deciding that life was better spent outside of an office, he ended up in Chicago in 2008 with the intent to immerse himself in the business of wine. He quickly developed an extensive knowledge of the three-tier system having ran, owned, and developed a retail shop, a distributorship and his own private label, which he ultimately sold in 2016 when he and his wife relocated to Portland to be around family with the birth of their son. Then, in early 2017, as a business development professional, he jumped at the chance to be a part of building on the great work occurring at Iris Vineyards.
Arpad Walker – Vineyard Manager
Arpad has had a lifelong interest in horticulture. After earning a Bachelor’s of Science degree from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, Arpad’s interest in viticulture led him to pursue a degree in Vineyard Management at Chemeketa Community College. After graduating, he spent a year working at Eugene Wine Cellars and managing select vineyards for AREA Inc.
In July 2004, Arpad joined Iris to manage our vineyard, grounds, and other agricultural enterprises on the estate. He is very motivated to farm sustainably through methods that include the use of cover crops to manage vine vigor, improve soil health and fertility, provide habitat for beneficial insects, and to prevent erosion on hillside fields. Arpad believes healthy soils grow spectacular wines.
Bruce Howard - Cellar Master
Growing up in Northern California in the heart of California’s wine country, Bruce was exposed to wine and wine culture from an early age. From classmates and friends, to winemakers and vineyard owners, he was exposed to world class wines and immersed in discussion about wine early on. Bruce’s background is in heavy equipment and firefighting, beginning in his high school’s FFA Viticulture Program. He went on to own his own backhoe service company, as well as work as a millwright/saw filter apprentice.
A third generation volunteer fire fighter, Bruce has in the past been involved with South Lane Fire Rescue as a Training Supervisor offering instruction in using forklifts, proper ladder use, as well as in pumps and hydraulics. Bruce joined Iris Vineyards for vintage 2011 as Cellar Master. He enjoys reading and listening to podcasts of all things wine related.
Crystal Henkel – Tasting Room Supervisor
Crystal traveled around Europe for 3 years starting in 2011 and found her love for wine in the small villages of Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Austria and in the busy streets of Paris, Prague, and Vienna. She returned to the United States and took two courses of Oregon Wine Country at Lane Community College where her passion for food and wine pairing started and where she was introduced to local Oregon wines, wine makers, and winery owners. She became involved with Creswell Coffee Company in 2014 where she developed a wine night for the local community to enjoy Oregon wine and beer once a week. She was the event coordinator and hosted local wineries, breweries, and artists, and created a specialized pairing menu that changed with new wines she introduced.
To further her involvement in the Oregon wine industry, she started working in the tasting room at Silvan Ridge Winery in 2015 where she was always learning more about ways to relate to wine lovers and those new to wine. Crystal has always had a passion for serving people and strives for customer service that goes above and beyond and that’s worth coming back for. She joined the Iris team in the summer of 2017, and she looks forward to creating lasting relationships at Iris Vineyards.