As a former print journalist, I believe it is the stories that connect us. Where we come from and the people we meet along the way are woven into the choices we make and who we are each day. My partner, Ari Grey, and myself focus on producing wines that connect people, create community and highlight the beauty of this very special place we call home. We are intentionally small as a label and plan to continue as micro-producers while pursuing our respective hospitality careers.
We planted vines with my parents on our modest family vineyard in the Chehalem Mountains and named it Blackfeather, after my great grandmother Minnehaha Blackfeather. While developing a sparkling program from the property, we also source Pinot noir from the stunning Fairsing Vineyard, owned and managed by people who also focus on family, generous community involvement and sustainability in all things.
As a mixed race tribal member, I want to amplify important Indigenous causes and organizations. We donate a portion of sales from each bottle to either the Adopt A Native Elder program, which seeks to ease economic and food insecurity for traditional elders on the Navajo Reservation, and the Native Womens’ Wilderness efforts to promote awareness for the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women campaign. Indigenous Women are murdered at 10 times higher rate than all other ethnicities.
Coming to this world late in life, I soon learned the beauty and magic found in bringing a crop of grapes to the winery and watching over the alchemy that is winemaking. Every bottle takes us on a journey from those who made it to those we shared it with. Bringing us together over time and space allowing for each to have their own unique experience. It is these connections that led Brandy and I to focus on small lots and exacting practices.
Growing up in the Sonoran Desert, I knew my way around cactus, aggressive wildlife and blazing days. What I didn’t know when I moved to Portland in 2006 was the difference between Pinot and Zinfandel and certainly, I had no idea how to prune a grape vine. Brandy introduced me to wine and my heart was instantly full of respect and wonder. I love the science, the endless variability, and the passion found in its producers and purveyors. I knew I had found a place that could feed all my interests while allowing me to aline my life with the cycles of the seasons.
The opportunity to co-manage our small family vineyard with my father-in-law and make wine with Brandy bring my life great joy and balance. When our wines elicit smiles and excitement, all the toil and tears are forgotten in shared delight. That we can share our prosperity helping to feed native elders from my home land and bring awareness and support to the countless women dead and missing across the Americas, brings another level of meaning to the notion of the sharing that is inherent to wine.