Ransom Wines & Spirits

Country of Origin: USA
Location: Sheridan, Oregon
People: Tad Seestedt, Owner, Winemaker & Distiller
Viticulture: Certified Organic


Ransom Wines & Spirits 2012 'Archive' Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley Login In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits 2015 'Selection' Pinot Noir, Eola-Amity Hills Login In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits 2015 Pinot Noir, Cattrall Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills Login AG 92 In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits 'The Emerald 1865' Straight American Whiskey (87.6 proof) Login TP 95 In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits 'Whipper Snapper' Whiskey (84 proof) Login In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits (375 ml) Dry Vermouth, Oregon (36.8 proof) Login WE 94 WE 91 In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits (375 ml) Grappa (80 proof) Login In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits (375 ml) Sweet Vermouth, Oregon (35.6 proof) Login TP 92 WE 90 WE 92 In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits Dry Gin (86 proof) Login In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits Old Tom Gin (88 proof) Login BTI 93 BTI 95 W&S Best Spirits 2010 TP 96 In Stock
Ransom Wines & Spirits Rye, Barley, Wheat Whiskey (93.4 proof) Login In Stock

Media Links
The Whiskey Wash: New Ransom Rye, Barley, Wheat Whiskey Showcases Used Casks
Thrillist.com: America's Best Craft Distilleries
Chicagoist.com: A Conversation with Ransom Spirits at Billy Sunday
Tasting Table: America, the Vermouth-iful
Serious Eats: The Best American Vermouths
The Oregonian: New crop of Oregon-made vermouths pushes the envelope

Social Media
Twitter: @RansomSpirits
Ransom Facebook

Ransom Wines & Spirits, founded by Tad Seestedt in 1997, is an artisan winery and distillery located in McMinnville, Oregon. Tad named the operation Ransom to represent the debt incurred to start the business; Tad was paying his own ransom to realize his dream.

Initially, the distillery made small amounts of grappa, eau de vie and brandy. The production of small batch, fine wines started in 1999. In 2007, Tad took up the craft of grain-based spirits, adding gin, whiskey and vodka to the lineup. In 2010, Tad combined his crafts of winemaking and distilling to create his first dry vermouth.

Both the distillery and the winery moved several times in the early days, and in 2008, the purchase of a forty-acre farm outside of Sheridan, Oregon brought the operation together for the first time. The first vines on the farm were planted in spring 2010 and the barley in 2008. The farm is certified organic and has been since 2011. In addition to their own production, Tad sources fruit from organic, sustainable and biodynamic vineyards mostly in the Eola-Amity Hills AVA to produce small batches of site specific Riesling, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir. The wines are hand crafted in a style that emphasizes acidity, purity, structure and length. For the spirits, Ransom sources local and organic grains where possible. Tad mashes and ferments the base wort on site weekly in small batches. The spirits are distilled in a hand-hammered, direct-fired French alembic pot still. Tad makes all of the selective cuts by taste and smell, without the use of computers or robots. This labor intensive, traditional method of distillation retains greater aromatic intensity and body from the raw materials they select with such great care.

Wine Advocate 2012
"Tad Seestedt named his operation “Ransom Spirits” (begun in 1997) for the degree to which his idealistic and artisan – some might, after tasting the results, exclaim “alchemical” – pursuit of distillates distinctly delicious and rigorously founded in historical research, rendered his financial security; the patience of supportive friends; and all of his waking hours hostage to the bank. Visit the farm south of Sheridan to which Seestedt moved three years ago if you want to taste the likes of authentic Old Tom Gin, Whipper Snapper Oregon Spirit Whiskey, or a stunning recreation (long in research and development but soon to be unveiled) of fin de siecle vermouth ... but, more to the point, also if you want to experience some of the best wine values I’ve tasted anywhere in America since I was introduced to them a half dozen years ago. Wine was part of Seestedt’s labors from the beginning, and fortunately for U.S. oenophiles, he’s now ramping back up a bit – developing new vineyard contacts and contracts – after a several year lull while his distillery grew. What’s more, he’s preparing to plant his own first vineyard, though the Ransom estate is too cool to grow Pinot and its initial vines are going to be the likes of Albarino. Hallmarks of Pinot vinification chez Ransom have long included ultra-gentle extraction and moderate alcohol, though in the latter regard 2010 and 2011 – in which Seestedt says he believes not one lot came in above 12.5% potential alcohol – must be counted as exceptional."


  • Ransom Old Tom Gin (88 proof)
    Beverage Testing Institute
    Rating: 93 (6/11/2009)

    Pale amber pink color. Aromas of sweet berry and citrus pastry, floral hops, honey and spice follow through on a soft,silky entry to a dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body with wintermint, mango custard, dried lavender, and herbal juniper and sweet spices on the gentle polished finish. Very nice. International Review of Spirits Award: Gold Medal
  • Ransom Old Tom Gin (88 proof)
    Beverage Testing Institute
    Rating: 95 (5/1/2010)

    From Oregon. Medium amber/orange color; aroma of mint, juniper and citrus peel; silky and spiced with notes of vanilla, orange and various spices; add toastiness and creamy texture; lovely and complex with depth and unique flavors.
  • Ransom Old Tom Gin (88 proof)
    Wine & Spirits
    Rating: Best Spirits (10/15/2010)

    Ransom Spirits joined forces with cocktail historian David Wondrich to develop Ransom Old Tom Gin, which approximates the sort that would have been behind bars pre-Prohibition. Barrel-aged and based on malted barley and corn, Ransom almost feels like a whiskey, so don't get stingy with the bitters. Try it in a Tuxedo cocktail: 1 part Ransom Old Tom, 1 part dry vermouth, 2 dashes Maraschino, 1 dash absinthe and 2 dashes orange bitters, stirred with a maraschino cherry and a lemon twist
  • Ransom Old Tom Gin (88 proof)
    The Tasting Panel
    Rating: 96 (3/1/2015)

    Alambic pot-distilled, 88-proof Old Tom was the result of a collaboration of efforts with cocktail historian David Wondrich. It is barrel-aged for six to eight months, and the oak gives it a hue the color of a new copper penny. The nose is winsome, with orange peel, new leather and dandelion. Unctuous and broad on the palate, singed orange peels bandy with spiced pears. A category standout.
  • Ransom 'The Emerald 1865' Straight American Whiskey (87.6 proof)
    The Tasting Panel
    Rating: 95 (3/1/2015)

    This modern American interpretation of an Irish whiskey combines malted and unmalted barley, malted rye and rolled oats into a bright, sassy and mouthfilling spirit. The nose has a lilt of heather and oatmeal, while the tongue tingles with a hot flash of cinnamon, old book leather and a touch of rancio.
  • Ransom (375 ml) Sweet Vermouth, Oregon (35.6 proof)
    The Tasting Panel
    Rating: 92 (3/1/2015)

    With a list of 24 "home-grown" and imported botanicals on its label, the dream sequence of flavors skips across the tongue. Some standout notes include sarsaparilla, cinnamon bark, black mission figs and cacao nibs. You won't want to wake up.
  • Ransom (375 ml) Dry Vermouth, Oregon (36.8 proof)
    Wine Enthusiast
    Rating: 94 (11/1/2016)

    Made from organic wine and mostly organic botanicals, this straw-colored dry vermouth layers notes of golden raisins, citrus peel, cardamom and vanilla on a base of fresh apple and pear. Recommended for classic cocktails, or to sip alongside a cheese plate.
  • Ransom (375 ml) Sweet Vermouth, Oregon (35.6 proof)
    Wine Enthusiast
    Rating: 90 (11/1/2016)

    Packed with citrus and dried fruit, this bold, tawny-orange vermouth has a scent that suggests dried orange peel and dried fig, while the palate mixes grapefruit, orange and honey. The herbal finish is redolent of warm chamomile, cardamom and baking spice.
  • Ransom 2015 Pinot Noir, Cattrall Vineyard, Eola-Amity Hills
    Rating: 92 (6/1/2019)

    Highly perfumed aromas of ripe red fruits, musky earth, exotic flowers and cola; a spicy flourish adds clarity and lift. Juicy, mineral-accented bitter cherry and raspberry flavors deepen and turn sweeter on the back half. Dusty tannins sneak in on a very long, focused finish that leaves a sexy floral pastille note behind.
  • Ransom (375 ml) Dry Vermouth, Oregon (36.8 proof)
    Wine Enthusiast
    Rating: 91 (10/1/2020)

    A distinctly floral aroma leads the nose, revealing gentle honeysuckle and spice. The palate is sweet-tart and extremely herbaceous, leading with sprightly cucumber and basil, plus a notion of overripe peach, pulling up abruptly into the drying finish of lemon peel and lemon verbena.
  • Ransom (375 ml) Sweet Vermouth, Oregon (35.6 proof)
    Wine Enthusiast
    Rating: 92 (12/22/2020)

    The bold, rich aroma is redolent with cocoa, cinnamon, fig jam and strawberry compote. The palate echoes the nose, layering on dried date, walnut and strawberry-rhubarb, winding into a gentle, lingering waft of cocoa and spice.