Elizabeth “Liz” Chambers – Owner
Business and civic leaders for three generations, the Chambers family has deep roots in Oregon, and particularly in the Eugene community. Their dynamic matriarch, Carolyn Chambers, is best known for establishing Oregon’s first chain of ABC television affiliates, Chambers Communications Corporation, which she founded in 1959.
In 1991, Carolyn acquired the family’s first winery, Hinman Vineyards, which she soon renamed Silvan Ridge Winery. Located in the picturesque foothills of Oregon’s Coastal Range, Silvan Ridge takes its name from the winery’s beautiful backdrop and surrounding area. “Silva” is the Latin word for a forest or woodland; and it also happens to have to have been Carolyn’s maiden name, reflecting the Portuguese heritage of her family.
A few years after purchasing the winery, Carolyn asked her daughter Liz to take over management responsibilities at Silvan Ridge. Oregon wine was in a nascent period of trial and discovery at the time, and Liz Chambers was among the first entrepreneurs working to establish Oregon’s reputation for world-class winemaking. Within five years Liz helped build Silvan Ridge into one of the foremost wineries in the state, a result she credits to limiting the winery’s focus to higher quality releases.
In 2005 Carolyn Chambers acquired another winery: Panther Creek Cellars in McMinnville. Once again she tapped her daughter Liz to manage business operations on behalf of the family.
Following Carolyn’s death in 2011, trustees of the Chambers family decided to exit the wine business altogether. Consequently, the Panther Creek brand name was sold to Bacchus Capital Management, a venture capital company. This allowed Liz Chambers to personally take full ownership of both wineries, and paved the way for launching her own boutique label, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar.
A sister winery to Silvan Ridge, Elizabeth Chambers Cellar specializes in low production Pinot Noir from elite vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley, and is based in the historic wine facility and tasting room that had formerly been home to Panther Creek.
Today, Liz is first to admit that she brings a uniquely personal perspective to both wineries and their wines. “It may be because I am a woman, but I am not interested in seeing who can make the wine with the biggest muscles,” she says. “I want to drink wines that have table manners, wines that can dance. I want elegance and style in my wines.”
In the midst of her duties at Silvan Ridge Winery and Elizabeth Chambers Cellar, Liz somehow maintains a busy community service calendar as well. She is an ardent advocate for abused and neglected children, in addition to other children’s health issues. Liz also serves as a Board Member for Volunteers in Medicine, is on the Board of Stewards for the Relief Nursery, and is an active volunteer and advisor to the Children’s Miracle Network.