Hiyu consists of 12-hectares situated on the South side of the Columbia River Gorge along the Hood River tributary in Oregon. Nate Ready and China Tresemer have created a farm inspired by biodynamic, organic and permaculture farming practises as well as the teachings of the Japanese agricultural philosopher Masanoba Fukuoka. Only 5.5 hectares are planted to vines with the rest a mixture of vegetable gardens, forest, ponds and space for the rearing of all kinds of animals. Farming here is without the use of any chemical inputs and excludes even the use of copper sulphate. All work is done with the aim of creating a naturally healthy and self-sustaining environment. Over 80 varieties of grape are grown, harking back to a time when vineyards were not planted in single plots of the same grape, but almost always to multiple different varieties with the aim of creating the blend in the field before harvest. Even more extraordinary is that Nate has not planted just one but 12 complex blends at Hiyu Wine Farm, each with its own unique theme based on historical blends from different parts of the world. Wine making is of the ‘low-intervention’ style, usually including some maceration of the whites and pretty much always whole cluster for both red and white. Most are basket pressed before spending time in older barrels before bottling. The ‘May’ bottling is particularly extraordinary with 90 – 120 days of skin maceration before aging in a solera system currently including harvests 2013 through to 2016.
The Smokshop band label is made from other vineyards around the Columbia River Gorge which Nate and China lease and farm themselves to the same standards as Hiyu with their team, all were at least organic before they were leased and are vinified with the same ethos as the Hiyu bottlings.
The results are stunning, textural, complex and beguiling wines that push the conversation around wine and food onwards. We are very excited to offer them to the UK so early in the development of the project.