Welcome to “Pour me a glass of…”, your backstage pass to the fascinating world of winemakers from coast to coast! In this blog series, we uncork the stories behind the bottles and learn more about the minds of the passionate individuals shaping the American wine scene. Get ready to meet the faces behind your favorite pours through a series of Q&A interviews.

In this installment we’re excited to introduce you to a young winemaker, Meg Rullli from Flipturn Cellars, an Oregon-based winery that’s making waves in the world of wine. As the founder and winemaker, Meg takes us along her winemaking journey, starting from her unexpected dive into the wine world after leaving a corporate job. She also shared the story behind Flipturn Cellars, Meg’s unique winemaking philosophy, and her exciting travel plans. Whether you’re a seasoned wine enthusiast or just dipping your toes into the world of wine, Meg’s insights promise to add a splash of fun and unpretentious charm to your wine-loving adventures.


Q&A with Meg Rulli, Flipturn Cellars

Meg Rulli winemaker of Fllipturn Cellars


What is the story of how your winery came to be?

My love of wine started through my passion for travel. 

Growing up in a “beer family” in Upstate, New York, it wasn’t until I was 20 and studied abroad in Barcelona, Spain that I enjoyed my first sip of wine. And boy was I spoiled! During my five months in Spain (and touring around Europe), I drank exceptional table wines (and bottles from my local market) that were incredibly delicious and affordable. 

Six years later, I was several years into my corporate job as a business management consultant and I quickly became burnt out. So my husband and I quit our jobs the same day in 2012 and took a year off to travel. During our travels, we got to explore incredible wine regions in South America, Europe, and Australia.

My passion for wine only intensified years later when we set up roots in Oregon. There was a major wine scene here in the Willamette Valley. Being constantly surrounded by excellent wine and local enthusiasts inspired me beyond belief. 

My passion for wine started to feel like a calling. 

In 2019, I dove into The Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) curriculum and made it through Level 3. I also started taking any part-time job I could find in the industry that year to gain experience and discover what I wanted to do in wine. 

I immediately got the “winemaking bug” when I signed up to be a Harvest volunteer for several local Oregon wineries in the fall of 2019. I loved learning about the transformation of grape to glass and working with my hands to help create something beautiful — plus, winemaking was a complete 180 from my day job in digital advertising. It scratched so many itches! 

So, in 2020, I decided to take a huge leap of faith: An opportunity presented itself to purchase 1 ton of Syrah fruit from Oasis Vineyards in the Yakima Valley (Washington) and make wine at a local custom crush facility in Portland. I immediately said yes!


What inspired you to become a winemaker?

In 2020, when I said “yes” to purchasing 1 ton of Syrah grapes, it was one of those moments where I spoke before my brain could process what was happening. I didn’t even know how much 1 ton of fruit was! Later I did my research and discovered that it would equate to roughly 600 bottles. 


I knew that my husband and I would never be able to consume that much wine, even if we gave a bunch away to friends and family. So I decided I would set up my commercial license to be able to sell my wine.

I’m really glad I decided to start Flipturn Cellars. Not only did I sell out of my Syrah in 2022 just six months after releasing it, but getting my commercial license right from the beginning of my winemaking journey forced me to learn as much — and as quickly — as possible. I put all of my efforts into making delicious wine for others. The pressure was on!


How would you describe the philosophy behind your winemaking?

Everything I have done to date has been learning by doing, trial and error, self-study, and working alongside talented winemakers that have served as my mentors since day one. 

I named my brand, Flipturn Cellars, as an ode to my years as a competitive (and collegiate) swimmer, but also because I truly dove into the world of winemaking and did an unexpected flip and turn in my career path.

I am a firm believer that wine should be accessible and approachable to everyone. I think there’s a lot of snobbery associated with the wine industry, but I always encourage people to be curious, branch out, and take risks when it comes to their love of wine. I am continually learning about wine and winemaking, and I don’t plan on ever stopping.

My journey with starting my label, Flipturn Cellars, also inspired me to start the online wine brand, Barrel Dork — the online community of zero snobbery wine education. I aim to make wine approachable, fun, and unpretentious to wine enthusiasts of all levels through my weekly newsletter, online workshops, wine guides, online courses, and social media tutorials, @barreldork


Are there specific winemaking techniques or traditions that set your wines apart?

I do not label myself as a natural winemaker, but I do practice minimal intervention. I think wine is a lot like cooking: If you work with quality ingredients, you don’t need to get in the way too much to create something delicious. 

I source my grapes from exceptional vineyards that put a lot of love into their land, vines, and fruit. Once the grapes are in my hands at the winery, I use a minimal amount of sulfur to protect my wine, but other than that, I leverage old-world winemaking techniques and try not to monkey around with the wine too much!


If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go? And why?

Oh gosh, that’s a loaded question! I adore traveling, so my list of places to visit is neverending.

I actually just found out this week that my in-laws are planning our annual family vacation in the Piedmont region of Northern Italy, specifically in the Monteu Roero municipality. 

Piedmont is home to some of my favorite red varietals (Barbera, Dolcetto, and Nebbiolo – especially Barolo and Barbaresco wines), so I am incredibly excited about this trip. 

Aside from Europe, Japan is high on my list to someday visit. I would love to visit Japan in the winter, as I hear the skiing culture in Japan is unmatched!


How do you think this destination would complement the identity of your wines?

My ethos of Flipturn Cellars is to make wines from varietals I have encountered — and fallen in love with — during my travels. And I would love to someday make a Nebbiolo. So if I visit Piedmont this summer, I plan to taste as much as possible, so I can discover what styles of Nebbiolo I love. I hope I can also talk to the local producers to see how they craft their wines — to pull inspiration from these Italian winemakers and transfer these learnings into my winemaking for an upcoming vintage. 


Is there anything else you’d like to share with our audience of wine-loving travelers about you and your winery?

As much as I love wine, at the end of a long day working in the winery, I will always grab a cold beer! 


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