Vidon is a boutique vineyard & winery in the countryside of Newberg, Oregon
If you’re a fan of boutique wineries that produce distinct, site-specific wines, look up Vidon. The wines are great.
A New Chapter At Vidon
Vidon Vineyard was founded in 1999 by Don Hagge and Vicki Lewis, who looked past the overrun blackberry bushes, tree stumps, and broken down cars on their land with dreams of building a boutique vineyard. For 20 years, they planted, crushed, and poured for customers that visited from all around the world. Don, the Apollo Missions era NASA physicist, turned winemaker, created distinctive, bold wines with a sense of character. In 2020, Don and Vicki passed on their dreams to Dru and Erin Allen, a couple of wine lovers determined to take their passion to the next level. Don and Vicki are now tucked away in Tigard to enjoy a long retirement, but the name VIDON (Vee-Dohn), which is a combination of Don and Vicki’s names, lives on.
This is a new chapter for Vidon, although much of it looks the same. Just like 1999, there is a couple new to the industry, fueled by their love of wine, that is diving headfirst into a new adventure.
Dru and Erin met working at a logistics company in Portland in 2002. One month and a clumsy kiss at a Ms. Pacman machine later sealed their fates together. After Erin moved into an apartment that was conveniently two blocks away from Dru, they had daily walks around NW Portland to pick up a cup at Coffee People, getting a pint at McMenamins Tavern and Pool, or just strolling around getting to know one another. It was on one of those strolls where they happened upon their boss’ townhouse and him working with an odd contraption in his garage. The strange machine was a wine press, and the wine was Oregon Pinot Noir.
From this garage, Dru and Erin’s love of wine sprung to life. They frequented bottle shops and visited the Willamette Valley often. These trips enthralled them with stunning wines and breathtaking views, but something they didn’t expect to fall in love with was the sense of community. The Willamette Valley wine community’s commitment to sharing, kinship, teaching, and ensuring that the best possible wines are being poured right here in Oregon lured Dru and Erin in. Although they didn’t quite know it, a seed was planted into Dru’s mind. A dream of owning a winery and joining this collaborative community.
Fast forward to 2020 and a few hundred Pinots later to a chance encounter at Rosemarino in Newberg after a day of tastings. During the dinner, Dru and Erin looked up — and even through the masks— saw a couple they had met on a European River Cruise the previous summer. As they caught up, the couple mentioned that their friends, Don and Vicki, were selling their winery and were curious if they wanted to see it. They had remembered that during the cruise, surrounded by good food, wine, and conversations, Dru had mentioned that little seed of a dream of owning a winery. It wasn’t something he said out loud often; it was just a dream.
That dream became a reality when they had a few extra hours before driving back home to Central Oregon and met with Don and Vicki on the property. There was an instant connection to them, their home, the winery, and vineyard. They are now knee-deep into an exciting new chapter of their lives, learning the industry on the job the way Don and Vicki once did back in 1999.
Our 12.5-acre vineyard located in the Chehalem Mountains AVA is home to a wide range of varietals and clones, giving this boutique winery a lot to work with. Our oldest block planted back in 2000 is home to 115, 777, and Pommard Pinot Noir. We are also one of the few vineyards in the Willamette Valley to grow Tempranillo and Syrah on our cool-climate estate. We also have Chardonnay, Viognier, 95 Clone Pinot Noir and are looking into planting more vines in 2021. Sustainability has been a central focus for Vidon since its inception, and we are proud to have our vineyard and winery certified through LIVE and Salmon-safe.
Our boutique Oregon winery practices minimal intervention in winemaking. We intend to capture the unique personality of the vineyard that evolves each vintage. Thus, all fermentations are indigenous. 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. Once fermentation is established, the cap is punched down by hand, usually twice each day in the beginning and as needed after that. After fermentation is complete (usually 7 to 10 days), the red wines are pressed and 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.
The Vidon Crew
Dru Allen - Proprietor/COO
A native to the Pacific Northwest, Dru Allen bounced around the West Coast for most of his life. He got to where he is now through hard work and determination. He has worked since age 11, had a full-time job since he was 15, and worked a minimum of 80-hours a week at the logistics company Erin and he built. In 2017, Dru and Erin converted the company to an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan), and with retirement, was finally able to spend time doing the things he loved. Top on that list was wine. His entire social network revolved around wine — sharing bottles, planning trips with fellow wine geeks, and coordinating epic tastings. Those friendships led Dru and Erin to purchase Vidon and, coincidentally, back out of retirement. Dru is excited to discover the estate property’s nuances, learn how to drive a tractor, and try his hand at winemaking. When he isn’t discovering new wines, you can find Dru hiking, backpacking, traveling, eating spectacular regional foods, and indulging in a quarantine show (he’s currently enjoying Schitt’s Creek and Breaking Bad) or his favorite movie, Tombstone.
Erin Allen – Proprietor/CEO
Erin Allen moved around a lot during her childhood, but the West Coast has always been home. At a young age, she wanted to experience more of the world and had a short-lived chance to do so as a flight attendant. Erin loved traveling to different cities worldwide, but 9/11 changed her path and led her to Portland in 2002. There she met Dru, and eventually, they started a logistics company together. After forming an ESOP, she was finally able to explore new parts of the world and her backyard for a few years before realizing that they were ready to settle down. As the majority-share owner, Erin is excited to learn as many details as possible regarding running a winery, tasting room, and vineyard. She has always loved sharing stories with others around a glass (or two) of wine and hopes to bring that sense of connection to the winery. Erin can’t wait to explore her new home base by getting involved in the community, tasting her way through the wide variety of restaurants, and going to a drive-in movie. Erin has a love for being outdoors, from gardening to mountain biking, curling up with a good book (she recently finished reading The Cold Millions), and all the reruns of Law and Order.
David Bellows – Winemaker
A West Coast native, David settled in Oregon after a peripatetic life that included stops in twelve cities in nine U.S. states, Canada and New Zealand. In contrast to many winemakers with science backgrounds, he became a scientist because of wine and not vice-versa. He began his wine career nearly 35 years ago, working for famed New York City restaurateur Joseph Baum at Aurora, where he managed the beverage program. After a decade in the retail end of the business, he itched to explore winemaking as a career. He enrolled in the biochemistry program at the University of Arizona as a prelude to earning a graduate winemaking degree at UC Davis. Seduced by the shiny toys in the laboratory, he ended up with a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Johns Hopkins instead. A ten-year detour as a yeast biologist studying our friends Saccharomyces cerevisiae followed, first at a research institute in Toronto, then heading his own research lab at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand. It took almost 20 years of international research, teaching, and grant writing to bring him back to his original goal: making wine. He and his wife repatriated to the Willamette Valley, where he began working harvests learning every job in a winery. David has worked in various capacities at Vidon since 2013, with his first vintage as winemaker in 2017. When not geeking out about wine chemistry, he can usually be found mountain biking in the Coast Range or skiing/hiking with his wife around Mt Hood.
Stephanie Hofmann - Direct Sales & Marketing Manager
Born and raised in Texas, Stephanie traveled out west on a one-way ticket to attend Linfield College and explore Oregon’s rolling foothills, flowing waterfalls, and everything in between. She discovered the wine industry when she joined the Oregon Wine History Archive team, first as a student interviewer and finally as the Archives Coordinator. After hearing over a hundred people’s enthusiasm for the industry, she decided to jump into the mix. With an undergrad in Communication Arts and a Media Studies minor, she joined ROCO Winery and then Coeur de Terre Vineyard for a year each as a Marketing Associate. Stephanie visited Vidon on a chilly Thursday evening and instantly fell for the winery Don and Vicki built, and joined the team soon after in 2019. In addition to running the Vidon tasting room and marketing programs, Stephanie works to make Oregon wine accessible to everyone who seeks to enjoy it through her organization Palate for Progress and by sitting on the boards of Ahi Voy! and Assemblage Symposium.