What happens when a NASA scientist gets into the winemaking business? Spectacular things! At Vidon Vineyard in Newberg, Oregon you’ll experience the amazing Pinot Noirs that Don Hagge has to offer, along with his unique winemaking process and shining spirit.
At the age of 62, Don Hagge and his wife Vicki Hagge purchased Vidon Vineyard. They cleared the land in 1999, planted the vines, and literally dug into the winemaking process. Now 82, he continues to be extremely hands on in the vineyard – from mowing and tilling the land, to inventing the bottling line system. You see, Don is a physicist. With degrees from UC Berkeley and Stanford, and a stint with the Apollo Mission at NASA, he’s got quite an impressive resume under his belt!
It’s this scientific background that leads Don to be unconforming in nature. From sealing the wine with glass stoppers, rather than corks, to aging the wine in food-grade polyethylene oxygen-permeable tanks instead of the traditional stainless steel or oak. Everything he does is a bit different, and that leads to some spectacular wines.
The majority of Vidon Vineyard’s production is comprised of three single clone pinot noirs – Brigita Clone 777, Mirabelle Clone 115 and Hans Clone Pommard. Available individually, or as a blend, they are named after Hagge’s grandchildren. You’ll also find a Barrel Select Pinot Noir as well as a lovely Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Viognier.
Don and Vicki reside on the property, with their chickens who also get to greet the guests. It’s a real treat to talk with Don and get his perspective on the winemaking process and breaking tradition. He’s got a big wine club following, as well as plenty of volunteers who come in to help with the bottling process. You can truly feel how dedicated Don is to his craft. He’s got a hand in everything.
Vidon Vineyard only sells to a few select local wine shops and restaurants, and doesn’t use a distributor. That in itself should tell you that this wine, in fact, sells itself.
I’d highly suggest stopping by Vidon Vineyard and getting a sense of just how unique this vineyard is. They are open daily from 11am to 4pm and located at 17425 NE Hillside Drive in Newberg, Oregon.
A special thanks to Portland photographer Deann Orr for the amazing photographs used in this post. Be sure to check out her site for more of her stunning work.