Brianne Day's discovery of wine was a religious experience.
Really, it was.
Day, who grew up a Jehovah's Witness, was on a religious mission in Italy when wine took over her life.
"I became rather distracted from the purpose of my trip when I encountered wine and art, food, people, you know, Italy. The interest turned to a career when I was in my mid 20s," says Day. "I had been planning a trip around the world and decided to focus on wine producing regions to see if anything career related could come from this interest. Through the course of that trip I learned a ton, tasted a ton and met so many great people. I came to realize that I needed to be a winemaker."
Day, who creates wine in Oregon these days, interned in New Zealand, Argentina and France.
"I also worked for a French cooperage for a while. I have always wanted to make wine in Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is my home and I know it so well, expressing a place dear to my heart was/is one of the main motivating factors for me in making wine." she says.
She traveled and worked for 6 years before starting to make her own wines in 2012. The wines Day creates are natural, sourcing from organic and/or Biodynamic vineyards.
Oregon is not just pinot country.
"All varieties are potentially "Oregon options". This is the new world. We aren't bound by rules and tradition and that is supremely liberating. I traveled around the world to get to know wine, and sometimes in Oregon I am lucky enough to come across a grower who wants to explore the potential of our state, and be a partner in exploration," she says. "Because I have this huge reference points for varieties and styles from my travels, I get to pull from that catalog and create with wanton abandon. I love the freedom and liberation of this."
This attitude is one that is shared by many of the more exciting winemakers; look to tradition and then go beyond it. They make their own tradition. Day is one of these refreshing voices.
Pinot noir may not be all that Day does but she certainly does it--and does it well.
"Pinot noir is a grape that very well describes a place. It is very translucent in handling, in vintage, and for the site," says Day. "I love seeing a place through the prism of pinot noir, and when I make pinot I attempt to help that prism shine as clearly as possible. So each of my pinots tastes very much of the place they are from."
Find out more at www.daywines.com
"I work with 13 or 14 vineyards at this point and made 18 wines last year. I make them at my winery in Dundee Oregon. In 2015 I purchased a large warehouse building on two acres which had previously been used in vitamin production," says Day. "Over the course of the last two years I have remodeled most of the building and built a pretty sexy tasting room and patio to optimize the location on the main street in Dundee. There are 10 wineries making wine in my building, and the tasting room showcases all of our wines."
Day wines produce more than still wines; they have dipped their toes into the fizzy waters of the petillant natural. So far, with two wines--Mamacita and Papacito. The former was originally made from malvasia and when Day tried to text the grape name it was autocorrected to "mamacita" and a wine was born! Papacito was a primitivo (zinfandel) sparkling red. Both wines are still in the Day Wine repertoire despite the extra effort necessary to make sparklers.
"Bottling with sugar in the wine is a gamble - both because there may be too much pressure, or because there may not be enough," she says. "I never know until I try it and bottle it and see what happens. I like gambling though, I think some risk is fun, so it works for me."
Day Wines, as noted, have a new tasting room. Day also has another new addition on the way--her first child is coming soon.
"I am 5 months pregnant and due to have this baby in mid August - just before harvest. So I am looking forward to being a winemaking Mom and this new adventure. Maybe someday me and this baby will plant a vineyard together. I had a dream last night about an incredible vineyard property with this gorgeous, old, French farmhouse-chateau that I was just completing an update and remodel on," says Day. "I turned the bottom level into a white tablecloth restaurant, and the inside was a virtual museum of art work. On the property were all of these adorable mini-houses/cabins. It was a pretty great dream and the design of the whole thing was awesome. Maybe I'll do that."
Since her dreams seem to come true Day should pricing French châteaux.