Zesty Spotlight: Illahe Vineyards: sustainable viticulture, low impact winemaking in Dallas, Oregon
Updated: May 23, 2021
Hand-picked, horse-drawn and canoed (yes transported via CANOE) to market, Illahe's 1899 Pinot Noir is one of the most “put-a-bird-on-it moments” I've experienced in Oregon - and I'm from Portland!
Portlandia-centric jokes aside, Illahe Vineyards is actually doing something special - and ancient - in the rolling hills of the Mount Pisgah area in Dallas, Oregon.
Enter the 1899 project: making wine without the use of electricity or modern mechanization. The Illahe team handpicks fruit, then hauls buckets up to the winery by horse or mule. It is then hand-sorted, and destemmed via the power of a bicycle. The grapes are then fermented naturally in French oak vats, pressed by hand in a basket press, then bike pumped again to the barrel where it will age for 19 months. Bottle, cork, label, and wax by hand. Mules carry cases of wine to canoes waiting in the river, which then make the three-day journey to the distributor in Portland. Check out Illahe’s full product line up on their website.
Over the course of a year, I had the pleasure of documenting the entire process.
If you're looking to go on a day trip to wine country, skip Dundee and head south to Dallas (near Salem). Book an appointment to enjoy Illahe wine in the tasting room, social distance style, or pick up a bottle of 1899 at the Whole Foods in the Hollywood neighborhood.
3275 Ballard Rd.
Dallas, OR. 97338