If you’re a fan of boutique wineries that produce distinct, site-specific wines, look up Vidon. The wines are great, and Don is a charming fellow.Gabe Sasso - Snooth
The Name VIDON (Vee-Dohn) Comes From Vicki And Don, Founders Of VIDON Vineyard.
Don’s vision for VIDON was shaped by two life experiences – having been born and raised on a farm in North Dakota and living in France while doing post-graduate research. As a result, he loves farming and Burgundy wines. This led to his plan to develop a small vineyard with a winery that produced premium Estate Pinot Noir wines. He feels there’s real pleasure in developing new skills and creating something from scratch and he believes that “it’s the journey, not the destination” that is most satisfying. Vineyard labor and spraying are provided and managed by Chad Vargas, CEO of New Gen Vineyard Sercies. Don makes the wine and loves his tractor and does all mowing and tilling in the vineyard. Our vineyard and winery are certified through LIVE and Salmon-Safe. We care about the natural environment, our workers and the community and show this through our participation in LIVE – an internationally recognized certification of sustainable winegrowing practices in the Pacific Northwest.
Our boutique winery on the vineyard practices minimal intervention in winemaking. The processes are gentle and natural with gravity used whenever possible to avoid pumping – meaning a forklift is often required. Our goal is to not make big, fruit-forward wines that garner high marks with major wine publications. All fermentations are natural. The grapes are picked by hand and delivered in small bins to the winery on the vineyard. The fruit is generally very clean when it arrives but it is hand-sorted again before passing into the de-stemmer and 1.5 ton fermentation tanks. After an initial “cold soak” (below 60 degrees) for 3 to 5 days to extract color and flavor from Pinot Noir’s small, thin-skinned grapes, fermentation is allowed to occur spontaneously with indigenous yeasts. The cap is punched down by hand, usually twice each day in the beginning and as needed thereafter. After fermentation is complete (usually 7 to 10 days) the wine is allowed to settle for a few days before being moved into French oak barrels and then into the barrel room for aging and malolactic fermentation.
Our production this year was over 2,000 cases from 10 acress of vines. Although the focus is on premium Pinot Noirs we make Tempranillo, Syrah, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc and Viognier. All wines are Estate. In 2017 an additional 2.5 acres will begin producing.
Why The Bee?
The Bee on our labels and capsule came about because of an old well house on the property that contained a very large hive between its studs. After our home was built in the summer of 2003, we heard much buzzing while sitting on the deck one evening. Upon looking under the deck, we discovered that the electrician had left a hole that led to the space between floors. As they do every year, bees swarmed and set up housekeeping in our new abode. This experience resulted in many photos and a few stings and led to our use of the bee on our packaging.
Donald E. Hagge - Owner
A Senior Executive with more than thirty five years experience managing high technology organizations. Business and market oriented – bottom line focused. Entrepreneurial – founded and financed companies. A hands-on manager – decisive, a good listener, promotes open communications, empowers employees, works well with creative people, imparts a strong sense of urgency, makes the tough decisions. Strong in startup and turn-around companies.
Founded a company that revolutionized the data acquisition, analyses and control of laboratory analytical instruments for medical, pharmaceutical, food processing and chemical applications. Consummated a merger with an instrument manufacturer.
Restructured a company to provide telecommunications management products and services. Created and implemented a strategy for the integration of telephony and computer applications on IBM AS/400 computers.
Converted an R&D company into an environmental and medical instrument manufacturer. Established key strategic partnerships, secured research contracts and venture capital financing.
Managed technology transfer and commercialization activities for the U. S. Department of Energy’s Idaho National Engineering Laboratory.
Vicki Lewis – Owner
With 2 PhD’s in the winery/tasting room, there’s no need to be seeking the limelight — there’s no limelight left! Vicki stays involved behind the scenes in the operations of Vidon with events, barrel sampling, bottling and harvest/crush. During the early phases of developing the property to farm grapes, Vicki came up with the name for the vineyard and the concept of using the bees of the Vidon property as a logo for the labels.
After moving to Oregon from Wisconsin in 1975, Vicki’s love for the beautiful northwest has been lasting and it makes sense that she and Don met skiing the beautiful Mt. Bachelor in 1999. Her business background was in procurement and contracts and spanned 35 years in public and private sectors, including Chemeketa Community College, Mentor Graphics, Enron Broadband, Mitsubishi Silicon American (SUMCO USA) and finally, Nike, Inc, before finally “retiring” in 2011 to take care of the household, gardens, pets, chickens — and Don!
Vicki’s real love is art and has a degree in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh. She still does painting, drawing (primarily the figure) and some collage. You’ll usually see Vicki feeding chickens or gardening or in the tasting room for open-house and event weekends.
David Bellows - Winemaker
How many PhD’s does it take to make a bottle of wine? At Vidon Vineyard, apparently the answer is two. David Bellows, a molecular biologist whose laboratory studied how yeast responds to toxins, has rejoined former NASA physicist Don Hagge as winemaker at Vidon.
Dr. Bellows came to science through wine. He began his wine career working for famed restaurateur Joseph Baum at Aurora Grille in Manhattan where he led the beverage program until 1990. After running the beverage program at Elkhorn Resort in Sun Valley Idaho for a year, he found himself unemployed in Tucson Arizona. He thought of becoming a winemaker then, “but it was all this chemistry and I didn’t even know where the Chemistry building was at my old school” he said. His wife encouraged him to call UC Davis and ask about the masters’ program in enology. He recalled that Ann Noble answered the phone and said “another retread like everyone else in our program, a former English major now wants to be a winemaker. Take a chemistry class. You’ll probably get a C. Don’t worry. If you like it, take another one. If you’re still interested in a year, call me back and I’ll send you a list of classes.”
He took introductory chemistry and immediately felt at home. “I called Professor Noble a year later and she sent me a ridiculous list of classes that was essentially the biochemistry degree at the University of Arizona” he said. “My wife was working on her PhD at UA and I had a few years to kill, so I went back for a BS in biochemistry.” He entered the Undergraduate Biology Research Program (UBRP) that paired undergraduates with research faculty on long-term projects. “It was like being a junior graduate student” he recalled. “I had my own project and had to give reports at lab meetings and worked toward a publication as an undergraduate.” His faculty mentor, John Law, was a member of the National Academy of Sciences. “He was very compelling. He made you believe there was nothing more interesting than basic research. Of course, all the shiny toys in the lab were pretty seductive.”
Shiny toys became a theme. “After I got to play with the electron microscope, I never applied to UC Davis and entered a PhD program in Biochemistry, Cellular and Molecular Biology (BCMB) at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine instead.” After completing his doctorate, he began a fellowship in yeast genomics at Mt Sinai hospital in Toronto, Canada. “I chose yeast as a model system to remain one step removed from the wine business…and because I got to play with robots.” While sitting in a seminar at University of Toronto, a colleague leaned over and said “how would you like a job in New Zealand?”
Bellows started his own lab at Victoria University of Wellington studying cellular detoxification in yeast in 2006, but was soon disillusioned. “The grant-to-grant lifestyle was killing me slowly, then quickly” he said. “When the New Zealand Government gave up on basic research in 2010, I saw my opening to return to my roots, so to speak.”
After a brief stop as a visiting scientist at the Australian Wine Research Institute, he and his wife repatriated to the United States in 2011, settling in the Willamette Valley. “I decided to complete what I had begun 20 years earlier” he said. He set about doing every job in a winery, from bottling to vineyard sampling to cellar work as well as direct sales in the tasting room. “I knew I had made the right move early the first year. I was standing in a vineyard in Red Mountain, Washington, eating grapes with the winemaker. The sun was just setting when a red-tailed hawk flew over and gave its distinctive cry. I thought ‘this is perfect’”.