Honor & Dedication Builds a Legacy
Celia & Ken Austin
Owners & Founders of Rain Dance Vineyards
Humble stewards to the land. Creative talents to their trades. Celia & Ken Austin III have dedicated their lives to enhancing the community and the state that they love.
Ken was born and raised in Newberg, he is a fifth generation Oregonian; while Celia’s family moved to Chehalem Mountain in 1966 from Portland. Both attended Oregon State University and studied there at the same time but never crossed paths. It wasn’t until after graduation when Celia began working at A-dec in Newberg that they met. Since 1977 Ken & Celia have carried out a successful partnership both in marriage and business. From 1976 to 1990 Ken ran a manufacturing company. Then, in 1991, they established Rain Dance Ranch and began one of the country’s premier llama ranches. Ken & Celia traveled the world in search of the finest breeding stock and it paid off. Over the past 25 years they have had several national champions and take great pride in their practice of breeding quality bloodlines for excellence in conformation, fiber and temperament. To this day, the Rain Dance Ranch llamas are a prominent fixture on the hillside of Bell & Herd Roads in Newberg. They are busy at work clearing blackberries, scotch broom and poison oak from what will be future vineyard sites. With great appreciation for the arts, Celia opened Rain Dance Marketplace in 2011. The store boasts the creative work of many local artists, including Ken’s fine woodworking.
Over the years, Ken & Celia watched as the small farming area they have lovingly called home most of their lives began to rapidly grow. They began acquiring parcels of land in order to preserve it for agricultural use. By 2008 the Willamette Valley had become a world class wine destination and Ken & Celia took note. After realizing the many benefits of viticultural practices for the land, they decided to have one of their parcels evaluated to become a vineyard site. Low and behold, Ken & Celia came to realize they had property with perfect soil for cultivating fine fruit. In 2009 Rain Dance Vineyards was established and their first vineyard was planted on Chehalem Mountain that Fall. With their dedication and enthusiasm, Ken & Celia strive to ensure that Rain Dance Vineyards will honor the heritage of their family and create a lasting legacy for generations to come.
Bryan’s progressive path to becoming a winemaker was one that allowed him to combine a passion for food and wine with his acute precision in science and craftsmanship.
Born and raised in Salem, Oregon, Bryan began his career in culinary school where he was encouraged to take a wine and food-pairing course during his studies. It was there that his passion for wine first took hold and naturally his appreciation and love for Oregon Pinot Noir flourished. From culinary school, Bryan enrolled at Oregon State University majoring in Food Science and Technology where he earned his degree in Enology and Viticulture. Bryan’s vast experiences in both the vineyard and cellar span across three continents with work at Domaine Serene, Tyee Wine Cellars, Hogue Cellars and Kim Crawford. In 2012, Bryan had the unique opportunity to supervise the completion of Alexana Winery and join the team as Winemaker. In 2013 the same opportunity presented itself where Bryan traveled to Argentina to assist in the completion of Alexana’s sister winery Corazon Del Sol. It was also in 2013 that Bryan began working with Celia and Ken to craft Rain Dance wines.
Bryan possesses a special virtue that shows in his winemaking. He admires the diversity of the Willamette Valley and the wonder of the vine rich soils that it holds. His precision and keen judgement show in the end result. Bryan is thrilled to be working with Celia and Ken and the fruit from Rain Dance. With their shared respect of the land, enthusiasm to craft amazing wines and the OSU Beavers, it is a winemaker and grower relationship shaped to inspire.
Bryan lives in Dundee with his wife, Meghann and their two young daughters. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, scuba diving, aeronautics, sports, snowboarding and of course food and wine!
Born and allegedly raised in Bellingham Washington, Evan Bellingar has nurtured a lifetime love of growing things, learning, and the outdoors. He earned a degree in Horticulture from Oregon State University, and was OSU’s first graduate with the Viticulture and Enology Option. While at OSU he was deeply involved in student groups and government, founding a philanthropic event that is still raising money for agriculture related charities to this day. Evan was also the student manager at OSU’s research vineyard, learning hands on viticulture from Scott Robbins.
After OSU, Evan came to Yamhill County and worked with a local vineyard development and management company as a vineyard site manager. Evan joined Results Partners LLC for the 2011 growing season and thus began his relationship with Rain Dance Vineyards. When asked about the most intriguing part of working with Celia, Ken and the various estate vineyards, Evan had this to say: “Definitely the love of nature. Ken and Celia are true stewards of the land. When we develop a new block, we walk it and discuss each tree and how it could fit into the vineyard. We often leave a grove so that deer can have a place to graze, even if the land is prime Pinot noir land. As Ken and Celia have often said, their goal is to keep the Chehalem Mountains in productive farms, and vineyards are the best way to do that. Ken is also a true craftsman who appreciates the value of working with your hands, and getting to see some of his woodworking projects is a real treat.”
In his spare time, Evan also enjoys landscape gardening and growing bonsai trees, reading, running, garagiste style wine making, kayaking and going for walks in the beautiful streets of Newberg with his family.