I was privileged enough to see the premiere of The American Wine Story at the historic Clinton Theater in Portland on September 5th. American Wine Story is a Three Crows Production film that happened in thanks to the popular crowd funding platform Kickstarter. The film documents the stories of passionate winemakers across the nation and the risks they have taken to pursue building the wine country of America.
The story takes us from the vineyards of Virginia and Missouri to more popular west coast destinations of Washington and Napa. The thread that stitches the documentary together comes from right here in our backyard, Willamette Valley and more specifically the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon. The story of how a community and family came together to fulfill a dream after the tragic loss of Jimi Brooks, a beloved pioneer of Oregon’s wine country in the early 2000’s.
Jimi Brooks wanted to produce incredible and affordable Rieslings from biodynamic farming practices and he found the motivation he needed to temper his nomadic spirit and do so in his son Pascal. It was his passion to challenge the stereotypes of the wine world, his larger than life stature and magnetic presence that left a lasting mark on all who knew him or knew of him. As word spread of the tragedy, a heard of friends and family showed up in time for harvest and committed to seeing his vision through.
With Pascal being too young at the time to run a winery it was Jimi’s sister, Janie Brooks Heuck who reluctantly stepped up to the plate and brought Brooks Winery to life with the support of a community. In 2006 Chris Williams officially became the head winemaker and is currently the magician behind the unbelievably impressive wines with the Brooks label.
This story has become one very close to our team recently as we are now working closely with the Brooks Winery family and are incredibly humbled and inspired by their commitment to good people, good food and good wine.
So one night after the premier of “The American Wine Story” I find myself at the opening night of the new Brooks Winery, sitting on a 20-acre Eola Hills Vineyard, which includes Pinot Noir and Riesling vines that are over 35 years of age, and a tasting room unlike any other in valley. Not only will you find breathtaking views and a cozy ambiance while tasting some of America’s finest Rieslings but also available, beer from a local brewery, big screen TV’s, a huge wood burning stove for pizza which all provide a refreshingly accessible gathering place for all.
The letUMeat team joined Jason French, chef/owner of Ned Ludd and close friend of Jimi Brooks to celebrate the opening of the new Brooks Winery on September 6th. You didn’t have to know Jimi Brooks to see his memory in every detail of the new winery, the wine, the labels, the pig, the pizza, the paella, the barrels that line the walls, the Brooks Ouroboros, the clinking glasses, the laughter, the tears, Jim Prosser, Tad Seested, Pascal, Janie.
I find myself truly humbled at what love can build.