ILLAHE is a Chinook Jargon word meaning “earth,” “land,” or “soil.”
ILLAHE Vineyards was established in 2000 by Lowell Ford, grower of Oregon grapes since 1983. The 80-acre vineyard is home to 35 acres of pinot noir and smaller plantings of riesling, pinot gris, grüner veltliner and other varietals. We purchase our viognier from Gosche Vineyards and Plagmann Vineyards.
ILLAHE’s winemakers are Brad Ford and Michael Lundeen. Their winemaking emphasizes small-batch fermentation with a diversity of yeast, native, and whole-cluster additions, often with treaded punchdowns, allowing the winemakers to feel the fermentation kinetics. They shovel the pomace into a wooden basket press, helping eliminate seed tannins and providing an exceptionally gentle pressing. Whites are temperature-controlled and adjusted in small tank lots. Michael and Brad work together on selecting the best barrels of pinot noir from a diverse selection of coopers to create the reserve and grand reserve bottlings. All their processes are natural, careful, and clean.