Sometimes I am completely out of touch with the outside world, even pre covid. Sunday morning, I opened my eyes, tapped my phone, and the glaring readout promptly told me to get the freak out of bed. It was 6:30! How in the world did this happen. I am normally out of bed no later than 5:30. I went to bed at a decent time, and I didn’t have that much wine the night before. Stumbling out of bed from not being completely awake, it was time to take Globgor out to do his duty. I don’t know if it was the cold air brushing through my long thick hair or the cold, wet grass kissing the toes of my flip-flopped feet, but a bright light went off all of a sudden. Freakin daylight savings! Poo Poo Poo Poo! I am already an hour behind on the day. This sucks out the wazoo! Big deep breath. Wait, this means spring is here. Summer is right around the corner. Long bike rides in the sun, with sunburnt arms and legs. Yes, I cannot wait!

There are times where small little details whirl past me, and I end up kicking myself in the patootski for not assessing the details correctly. In my mind, I thought today was the year anniversary of the last winemaker’s dinner I attended. I was sadly mistaken and should have talked about this last week. I have an ask if you don’t mind. Pretend this was last week’s newsletter, and I didn’t skip a beat on the year anniversary details while I ditched the newsletter last week for sun. 

On this day, one year and seven days ago, was the last winemaker’s dinner I attended before lockdown. I remember uncertainty lingering in the air a bit. Was it going to happen, or was it going to get canceled? Somehow it happened in just the nick of time. Sitting at a huge dinner shoulder to shoulder without a mask, without a real sense of worry, and definitely zero thoughts about this being the last time until who knows when of being able to sit in public again for a winemaker’s dinner. There was one question looming at the time, though.

The venue was Rosmarino in Newberg. If you have never been, I highly suggest taking the time to check out this authentic Italian Restaurant filled with amazing food, wine, and an experience unparalleled to any run-of-the-mill dining experience.

The Winemakers Dinner was with none other than Vidon. This winery holds a special place in my heart when I was on a hunt for Tempranillo in the Newberg / Dundee area. The two wineries on my list were Holloran and, of course, Vidon. I have talked about my visit before to Vidon. If you want a copy of the email, hit that good ole reply button, and I will dig up a copy of the email from the archives to send your way. I can’t say I blame you for not wanting to read yet another email. Let’s not even talk about the difficulty of finding the reply button. To sum up why I like Vidon so much is the personal attention from everyone. Don will chat with you all day long. Stephanie is great, and to not mention Shantel would be shameful. She isn’t currently with the Vidon crew, but she would knock the ball out of the park with her hospitality and food. She didn’t forget a single detail, and if hugs were possible right now, I would give her the biggest of hugs. I miss Shantel.

I will blast through the dinner; otherwise, you will unsubscribe to my long-winded absent-minded ramblings. The food, as you can see below, was superb, along with the wines. After dinner, I chatted with Don, Stephanie, and Shantel a bit and went home. The next day it snowed.

I went to many places throughout wine country the following months, but I never got back to Vidon. It wasn’t for lack of desire, but a lack of time. There are so many places I want to visit, explore, along with connecting with friends throughout wine country.

Fast forward to the Friday before Thanksgiving, and an email drops into my inbox titled “A New Chapter at Vidon.” I immediately open to find a new couple who has taken ownership of the winery. I was excited to read about this new chapter and, to be frank, a little worried. None of us like change, especially when there is a sense of a nice warm security blanket shielding you from the evil forces of doom lurking in the darkness. Let’s face it, and this was a change. Change is stressful. 

Reading through the email, I couldn’t blame Don and Vicki for wanting to move on. I believe Don was 69 when he purchased the property in 99. It was time. With Don’s time at Nasa and now accomplishing an amazing winery under his belt, it makes you wonder what is in store for Don. All I know is he and Vicki live in Tigard, the perfect place between downtown for date nights and close enough to Newberg for the fish market and to, of course, visit.

I am sure you are dying to know who took the reins at Vidon and what they are like. Well, if you must know, they are fabulous, and my warm fuzzy security blanket is firmly back in place. I am excited for the future of Vidon in the caring hands of Dru and Erin.

In January, I sat outside in the freakin cold to visit the “new” Vidon. I chatted with Stephanie a bit and had the best conversation with Dru. He came out to pour a couple of tastings. Eventually, he poured himself a glass and sat down socially distanced in the cold with me. We talked in the dark, cold January afternoon and had a great time. I could tell you about his plans for Rose of Tempranillo, or our common enthusiasm for the first vintage of Dick Erath’s Pinot clone 95 (which I haven’t tested yet), or many tiny little details I could share, but I want to share something else about Dru. 

Sitting there in the dark, sipping wine, and sharing stories, you can’t help but get a sense about someone. Dru has the wine bug beyond anything I can begin to comprehend. I enjoy sitting down with a person who has a fire in their belly, and the fire is strong with Dru (I kind of feel like Yoda all of sudden). A couple of weeks after my visit, I attended a Zoom call with Dru, Erin, Stephanie, and many other Vidon members while I was sitting in the car during my daughter’s ballet class. I have attended quite a few Zoom “wine tastings.” To be blunt and maybe a little egotistical, this felt like an #ajsHappyHour. Everyone participated, gave feedback, told stories, and had a great time. Me being in the car, I didn’t have any wine and didn’t participate much, but it was refreshing from all of the other Zoom calls I have attended. 

Now I will steal some words from the “New Chapter at Vidon” email so you can get more information about Dru and Erin. 

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. 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.

Favorite Vidon Wine:

2017 Barrel Select Pinot Noir

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.

Favorite Vidon Wine:

2019 Dick’s 95 Clone Pinot Noir

If it has been a New York minute since you have visited Vidon or have never taken the time to visit, I highly suggest taking the time. When they announce the clone 95 is available, I am there on day one. I need to taste and probably get my hands on a few bottles. When you visit, take a quick second to let Stephanie or Dru that A.J. sent you. 

With Gratitude,

A.J. Weinzettel

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