Virtual Wine Tasting: St. Innocent Winery

As we announced last week, this Thursday at 7 PM we will have our first virtual tasting with the founder, owner and winemaker Mark Vlossak of St. Innocent Winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon

This will be a zoom event and you can register in advance if you’d like at http://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_tyR0iRiBQcqbCE_uJnqNMA   

Mark, one of Oregon’s top producers of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, will be talking about three wines: Chardonnay Freedom Hill (which will retail at $26.99), Pinot Noir Zenith Vineyard (which will retail for $36.99), and Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard (which will retail at $56.99).  

We encourage you to get a group together (socially distancing of course) and pick up one of each bottle to taste. Each bottle would give 8 people a 3 oz taste. We will have the bottles in stock starting this evening (Tuesday).  We are offering 10% off if you purchase all 3 wines.

However, if you want to just watch and learn you can always pick the wine you think you would like the most and come on down and pick up a bottle. Either way we thought you would enjoy something different without any obligation.  

About the Winery

Barnoa Wine and Beer Bistro is excited to host a virtual wine tasting with Oregon winemaker and founder of St. Innocent Winery, Mark Vlossak.

St. Innocent Winery is located in Salem, Oregon, and is named after winemaker and founder Mark Vlossak’s father, who inspired the development of his palate at a young age.

Though St. Innocent produced its first vintage in 1988, it was not until 1994 that Vlossak purchased land in order to focus on his own vineyard-dedicated Pinot noir. In 2018, Vlossak moved his winery to a southeastern corner of the South Salem Hills, where he planted 16 acres of Pinot noir and Chardonnay, and added a expanded tasting room with a full commercial kitchen in order to offer exquisite food pairings, with a beautiful view of the property.

Wine Production Methods

Winemaker Mark Vlossak believes in minimal technological intervention . Instead, he relies on natural processes and hands-on interaction with every aspect of wine production in order to make continual small decision that ultimately highlight and reveal the specific flavors and textures of each particular wine.

Vlossek tastes the grapes and examines them on the vine to decide when to harvest for maximum flavor complexity. The fruit is then hand sorted and hand pressed. Pinot Noir is aged in new and used French oak barrels for 11 – 16 months, while Chardonnay is aged in stainless steel or used (never new) barrels. The barrels are stored underground to ensure natural humidity and temperature control. All production is done by hand and barrels are never moved during the aging process.

We believe Pinot noir is uniquely capable of capturing a sense of the place it is grown, the character of the vintage, and its gift of pairing with a wide variety of food. Philosophically, we look both to the New and Old World for inspiration. We believe that each decision, from bloom to bottling, expresses itself in a wine. Our job is to make choices that reveal those details.

Pinot Noir Production

Fruit is destemmed, minimally crushed with 30-40% whole berries, and fermented in 3-8 ton fermenters with no SO2 (unless there is rot). There is a 1-4 day natural cold soak. Punch-downs are by hand and occur once daily only when the fermentation is active. When the tannin texture is balanced for the individual site, the must is removed from the fermenter and pressed gently. This is determined by taste. The new wine is settled for several days and then racked to barrels to age for 11-15 months. The specific coopers, toasts, and forests are matched to the individual vineyards. The percentage of new barrels is limited to 30%. The Pinot Noir is never fined, and all bottling is done by gravity with their own equipment.

Chardonnay Production

The simplicity in production allows the ‘sense of place’ to be fully experienced.

Fruit is whole cluster pressed. The juice settles and naturally clarifies overnight before being barreled.  No SO2, yeast, or bacteria are added, which allows for fermentation to proceed naturally. The wine is not fined; the lees are not stirred.  After aging on the lees for 12 months, the wine is bottled with only a light filtration.

Tasting Notes

The following tasting and vineyard notes can be found on St. Innocent’s website:

Chardonnay Freedom Hill 2017 – Roasted pears, apples and sweet spices fill your nose, with secondary aromas of peach compote and white flowers. This nose is more luxuriant and textured than usual. Likewise, the palate is broadly and pungently textured with white and yellow fruits, juicy, complex acidity and soft warm spices. This “normal” vintage after three early and warm summers is clearly more complex, savory and denser in mouth feel.

Pinot Noir Zenith 2015 – Vintage Notes: “The summer of 2015 started off with intense heat that faded off into a very warm and sunny season. Harvest began early with us first picking fruit on September 2 in cooler conditions. Yields were about 15% higher than normal and fruit was as perfect as I have seen. We continued to harvest throughout September and finished by the end of the month. The balance of flavor, tannin, acid, and sugar were as perfect as I have seen in 29 years. I am excited to see how the wines develop.” – Mark Vlossak

Pinot Noir Shea 2015 – Shea Vineyard Pinot noirs emphasize weight with good acidity, layered flavors, concentrated fruit, and terroir specific flavors. The Shea Pinot noirs Mark has produced consistently out-age wines from other sites. He also considers them to be the most complex and detailed wines he makes. The best wines of Burgundy are exceptionally detailed wines that age very well. If we apply that standard to Oregon, Shea is a great vineyard. 


All 3 wines from our virtual tasting are available to purchase at Barnoa – call to place your order for curbside pickup.

Love our virtual tasting and want exposure to more amazing wines? For information on joining our Wine Club, click here.

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