I'm a big fan of natural processes and traditional techniques, and I find that wines made with this approach tend to be more interesting, unexpected, and have an overall higher quality. Natural wine making allows the wine to run in the direction it wants to go—that means each wine every year is a unique one-of-a-kind experience.
The Willamette Valley is world-renowned for it's Pinot Noir, and they are indeed specactular, but for me, I tend to find the most interesting wines are coming from the East. The Columbia Gorge and Columbia Valley have some of the most spectacular and diverse landscape of anywhere in the world—from lush forests to high desert in less than 40 miles. This diversity and character is reflected onto the wines that come from this region. Many of the following wines are Columbia Gorge AVA and Columbia Valley AVA with a couple of select wines from the Willamette Valley AVA and a few of my favorite natural wines from imported from Italy.
Graham Markel, the winemaker behind the Buona Notte wines, has found his niche—classic Italian varietals sourced right here in the Gorge AVA using natural techniques. To me, these wines are not just great, they also envoke a special sense of home in every way possible. Learn More
For our first wine release, we wanted to put a new look on an old grape—Cabernet Franc—which is traditionally used in the classic “Bordeaux” blend. This wine was fermented on the skins until dry, then aged in American Oak for 8 months. It has notes of cinnamon, black cherry, and sweet tobacco with a light effervescence. Served slightly chilled, it’s the perfect bold red wine to drink on a summer evening.
Mylan Wines are the creations of the next superstar natural winemaker, Benjamin Wasby. These are largely French-inspired wines made with grapes sourced from the Gorge and Columbia Valley AVA. Benjamin also has a tasting room located in the heart of downtown Hood River—a basement art gallery that's been converted to a tasting room with a speakeasy feel. Learn More
The Smockshop Band label is devoted to the wines made at Hiyu Wine Farm from grapes sourced from the surrounding vineyards in the Columbia Valley. If you have the chance, I encourage you to take a drive through the Hood-River Valley and stop by Hiyu to let Master Sommelier Nate Ready lead you down a majestical culinary journey. Learn More