I love wine.
I don’t love it for the psychoactive effects of the alcohol, although that is a benefit, but because it is the expression of human-meets-divine creativity.
It is the essence of the land, the soil, the climate, and the weather. The flavor encapsulates the philosophy of the farmer, and the taste buds of the winemaker.
I love how you can drink wine from the same grape vines from different years and have a very different taste.
This does not exist at your big-box wineries. They are mass-market suppliers that require a homogenized flavor in order to have consistent sales revenue. These wineries are commodity producers where they source grapes from around the region or country, blend them together, and add chemicals for taste and preservation.
That is why I go out of my way to find the farmers and winemakers that are choosing to do it differently. The best wines I have found are the ones produced by farmers and winemakers that care about land stewardship and soil regeneration with a philosophy routed in deep ecology.
That’s why we put together a tour to visit Hiyu Wine Farm outside of Hood River recently.
Located on a stunningly beautiful property with 30-acres overlooking orchards and the snow-capped peak of Mount Hood, Hiyu is the embodiment of place.
China Tresemer, one of the owners and founders of the winery led the tour. She told us about their vision to create a farm based upon permaculture design principals where they have overlapping systems that build the resiliency of the soil and utilize organic farming methods that are regenerative in nature.
As an example, China mentioned that she doesn’t care about the weeds that grow between the vines. Their cows and pigs keep the weeds at bay while giving back nutrients to the soil. This keeps the animals feed and in return they get milk and meat for their exquisite meals.
After the tour we were then seated at their enormous wooden table in a spacious and inviting tasting room that opens onto their commercial kitchen. This is where visitors are seated and served in a communal atmosphere that is both intimate and elegant. We were treated to a tasting flight of six wines and several small plates of delicious food that was sourced directly from the farm.
If you have yet to experience anything like this I highly encourage you to visit Hiyu. It will be one of the most memorable trips to a winery you will ever take.