Mark Vlossak's training as a winemaker began when he was a young man and tasted wines daily with his father, a wine importer. As an amateur, he produced sparkling wine in 1985-87 and apprenticed with Fred Arterberry, Jr. at Arterberry, Ltd. in 1987 and 1988. At The Wine Lab in Napa, CA, he trained in enology under the tutelage of Lisa Van de Water. He was the winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars... Read more
Mark Vlossak's training as a winemaker began when he was a young man and tasted wines daily with his father, a wine importer. As an amateur, he produced sparkling wine in 1985-87 and apprenticed with Fred Arterberry, Jr. at Arterberry, Ltd. in 1987 and 1988. At The Wine Lab in Napa, CA, he trained in enology under the tutelage of Lisa Van de Water. He was the winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars from 1994 to 1999.
St. Innocent Winery was founded in May 1988 by Mark Vlossak, the current winemaker and president, and eight investors. Ten tons of grapes were crushed the first fall, producing 396 cases of still and 176 cases of sparkling wine. Production increased to our full capacity of 6800 cases in 2004. The winery is located in Salem, Oregon, at the southeast corner of the Eola Hills, in the mid-Willamette valley.
St. Innocent produces small lot, handmade wines: seven single vineyard Pinot noirs and a blended Pinot noir called the Villages Cuvée, two Chardonnay from Dijon clone plantings, two Pinot gris, and a Pinot blanc.
In the spring of 2006, St. Innocent purchased an interest in Zenith Vineyard (formerly O'Connor Vineyard) located in the Eola-Amity Hills. This 133 acre site has 81 acres planted. 4 acres of Pinot noir are currently in production for St. Innocent's use, 5 more are planted and will come into production in 2010, and an additional 7 acres will plant in 2008.
The winery also works with 8 different growers, leasing specific blocks of vineyard to produce terroir-specific wines. Unique sites produce grapes that have a concentration of flavor reflective of the site-based terroir. Maintaining a close working relationship with its growers allows a collaborative fine-tuning of viticultural techniques in order to focus these flavors and aromas in the wines.
We are now located at our new winery at Zenith Vineyard. This 17,500 sq. ft., 4 level, gravity facility features underground barrel rooms, a temperature controlled crush floor, and a 900 sq. ft. tasting room. We harvested the 2007 vintage the new facility and the tasting room opened in February 2008.
The philosophy behind the winemaking at St Innocent is that the function of wine is to complement and extend the pleasure of a meal. The characteristics of a wine should enhance different food and flavor combinations - this interaction amplifies the pleasure of a meal. To this end, St. Innocent wines tend toward higher acid levels, and more diverse and balanced flavors.
The winery is open 11-4 from Tuesday-Sunday beginning May 1st through October, and weekends 11-4 from November through April. We are also open Memorial Day and Thanksgiving weekends, when we have our famous buffet including our winemaker's signature cassoulet and herbed leg of Oregon lamb. You may schelule a private tour and barrel tasting at other times by calling for an appointment. Read less