& KEVIN CHAMBERS
Class of 1974
Entrepreneurship-Business & Technology
Carla and Kevin met as sixth-grade classmates at Edgewood Elementary but had no romantic interest until their college years at the University of Oregon. They graduated from South Eugene High School (SEHS) in 1974 and were married in 1976 after a short courtship. They raised two children, Kaitlyn, born in 1984, and Nathan, born in 1986. And they now enjoy four grandchildren: Samantha (21), Joshua (19), Jordan (19), and Ruby (1).
In high school, Carla participated in the Drama Crew, the National Honor Society, and was recognized as an Oregon Scholar. She spent most of her free time riding horses and working retail to save for college.
Kevin's greatest passion while at SEHS was chess, serving as captain and first board of the chess team. That team performed well at the district meets and the state championship, finishing seventh in the state his sophomore year, second and third during his junior and senior years, respectively. He played the bassoon in the band, orchestra, chamber orchestra, and Eugene Junior Symphony. Kevin also enjoyed playing with the bridge club and fishing with friends. Kevin was allowed to draft his own senior year curriculum and select faculty members to serve as his advisor/evaluators. His focus was economics and physics, particularly quantum theory, with faculty advisors Jake O’Donnell (physics) and Grace Miller (economics). He’s still a student of both topics today.
Kevin started working for the retailer Of Grape & Grain while attending and graduating from the U of O. During that time, he wrote a self-syndicated wine column for several newspapers and developed a role as a wine judge in regional and national competitions. That built his wine knowledge into a career, moving from retailer to a leader in the industry, spending time as the marketing director for Chateau Benoit, and then general manager of Willamette Valley Vineyards.
In 1989, the Chambers purchased a 32-acre property in what would become the Yamhill- Carlton AVA (American Viticultural Area). In that process, Carla left a great position with the Eugene Water & Electric Board to become a farmer. She says, “I traded in nylons for rubber boots.” Over the next 23 years, they built Resonance Vineyard into one of the most respected vineyards in Oregon. Along the way, they helped pioneer organic, Biodynamic, and regenerative farming practices.
From 1997-2014, they owned and operated Results Partners (RP), Oregon’s largest vineyard development and management firm, as well as Oregon Vineyard Supply (OVS), which provided products and services to vineyard operators. Kevin and Carla joke that OVS was the “water cooler of the industry” because on any given week hundreds of growers would pass through the store and discuss all manner of subjects.
The Chambers guided OVS and RP into employee-owned companies. When the companies ultimately sold, 253 families benefited from the proceeds. They created a third company, Willamette Valley Crossflow, to provide innovative beverage filtration technology. That firm also became employee owned. Kevin credits his senior year curriculum at South Eugene High School with the genesis of notions that lead him to build employee-owned companies.
In 2013, they sold Resonance Vineyard to the famed Maison Louis Jadot of Burgundy. The Chambers took those proceeds and purchased an 82-acre Christmas tree farm at the top of the Eola-Amity Hills. Over the next eight years, they converted it into the 44-acre vineyard and 5-acre cider apple orchard called Koosah Farm. In 2021, the Chambers Family sold Koosah Farm to Jadot, and retired from farming.
Having only emerged in the 1970s, Oregon’s wine industry now has a multi-billion-dollar impact annually and is recognized globally for quality. Kevin and Carla were among the leaders that fostered that stunning growth.
Three different Governors appointed Kevin to serve on statewide boards, first the Oregon Wine Advisory Board, and twice the Oregon Wine Board. He also served on the board of the Oregon Winegrowers’ Association, a statewide advocacy organization.
Carla served as the Executive Director of the Yamhill County Wineries Association (now the Willamette Valley Wineries Association) and as a board member for the Eola-Amity Hills Winegrower's Association. She proudly remembers her role in establishing the nation's first secondary-school-based vineyard at Yamhill-Carlton High School.
Carla is also well known for her role as a community leader. For over a decade, she volunteered as a grant writer, starting in 1986 with a grant for EWEB, establishing an on-site childcare center. This was followed by many state, local, private foundation and federal grants bringing in nearly $1 million for youth activities and community center operations in Carlton. She was honored as Yamhill County Volunteer of the Year in 2004. Carla served as an active board member of numerous local youth-related boards and councils. She's currently serving as a member of the Yamhill County Parks Board.
In 1985, the Oregon wine trade selected Kevin as Oregon Wine Retailer of the Year. In 2005, Oregon Business magazine declared him one of the Top 50 Most Influential Oregon Businesspeople. Together, they were recognized as Wine Persons of the Year by Oregon Wine Press magazine in 2013.
In 2021, at the 17th Annual Oregon Wine Symposium, an event Kevin helped found, the Chambers earned the Lifetime Achievement Award, the wine industry’s highest honor. In accepting, Kevin expressed gratitude, saying that the foundation of success was service to other people and sustained learning amidst challenges, adding “Oregon wine is worth the effort.”