Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Pedals Power Pinot at Illahe Vineyards

No doubt you've heard about bike-powered blenders and slushies in summer.

Pumping Unfinished Wine by Exercise Bike!
Human power at Illahe Vineyards
Photo by Diane Stevenson at Salemis
Here's a more behind-the-scenes use of pedal power in the cellar.

Over at Salemis, Angela Yeager writes about Illahe Vineyards' artisanal Pinot Noir, 1899:
One of Illahe’s signature traits is the use of draft horses to harvest grapes for some of its specialty wines, including its trademark, the 1899 Pinot Noir. Made from the exact same grapes as Illahe’s $20 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, the 1899 pinot is created without the use of machinery or modern winemaking equipment. Not only do [horses] Doc and Bea replace the buzzing motors of tractors and ATVs, but workers de-stem the grapes and press, rack, bottle and cork the wine by hand.

“I’m trying to make wine in the simplest, most ancient way possible,” Brad [Ford, winemaker] says, taking time out from a busy Thanksgiving weekend open house to chat. “If the average person on the street thinks it sounds like a lot more work, the truth is, it is. But it also makes it more beautiful.”
Though the article doesn't directly address the pedal pump, with a motorized pump in the foreground, it has to be the case that the 1899 cuvee is bike-powered!  And totally appropriate for 1899, right at the peak of the first bike boom.  (For more on the 1899 cuvee, see the Illahe blog post.)

So maybe it's not exactly the "most ancient way possible," but it's certainly more gentle and non-interventionist.  It's a no-spoof wine!

Update, March 2015

Here's a better view:

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