While bartending in Milwaukee Dan Rinke developed a keen interest in the process of making wine. That prompted him to study winemaking in college at Fresno State. Then one night over dinner French winemaker Michel Chapoutier suggested he should learn how to grow grapes instead. The next day Rinke changed his major and he earned a Bachelor of Science in Viticulture and a minor in Plant Science.
He’s always believed in low input farming and has practiced biodynamic farming for 15 years. Because of his background and these beliefs, he was hired as an assistant wine maker at Johan Vineyards in Rickreall, Oregon.
Later at an industry event in nearby McMinnville, Rinke met Kim Hamblin. Since they both hailed from the Midwest they thought they needed to stick together. They married and in 2012 bought 40 acres behind where they were living, near Sheridan, so they could plant apple trees for cider. They also wanted to create their own products instead of working for someone else, so Rinke cut back to three days a week and now only farms at Johan Vineyards.
Their adventure as Art+Science in making wines, ciders and perries is still young, but they’re getting outstanding reviews.
1) Why do you call your passion “Art+Science?”
Because of my knowledge, I’m the “science” behind every wine, cider and perry we make here. I respect natural systems and like my cider or wine to be truly fruit driven. Kim, a cut paper artist, designs all our labels, making her the “art” for our business. She also forages for wild apples, pears and quince to include in our ciders and perries.
2) What products do you currently make and sell?
Our wines include Armstrong Pinot Noir, sparkling Pinot pét-nat and a Sauvignon Blanc. Symbiosis is our wine/cider hybrid with 50 percent wine and 50 percent cider. Mountain Rose, Little Apples, Humble Cider, Clutch and Quince round out our ciders. Our perries are Humble Perry and, coming out soon, a Pilfered Perry made with foraged pears.
3) Do you have a tasting room for visitors?
It’s in the works and will be open by Memorial Day. We have turned a small building on the property into a tasting room with covered outdoor seating space, and a view of gardens and the Coast Range. This summer we plan to be open Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 2-8 p.m. and by appointment on the other days. We chose the later time, so our guests can share our favorite time of day on the farm: dusk.
4) What events do you have scheduled on your farm?
We co-own, with a friend, the Wildwood MusicFest that occurs here every summer and has since 2011. People spend the weekend (July 19-21 this year) camping and listening to music. Occasionally we host weddings and this August a we’re having a paramotor (for paraglidering) fly-in. Imagine people here with flying machines strapped to their backs.