Region: Central Lake, CA, USA
Grape Varieties: Chardonnay
Iruai Winery (“ear-oo-eye" … the artist formerly known as Methode Sauvage) was started in 2013 by Chad and Michelle Westbrook Hinds in Berkeley, CA as a gypsy natural wine project, before laying down roots in the mythical Shasta-Cascade mountains of Siskiyou County.
Trading in the urban winery hustle for the vigneron life, we are exploring avant garde vineyard planting and rehabilitation techniques using the permaculture methods laid out by Masanobu Fukuoka, while formulating our own “chaos organics” method of re-enchanting the land. Truly unlike anywhere else in California, Western Siskiyou County feels like a cross between Switzerland and Montana, cut with a rain shadow from Mount Shasta that divides it starkly between high mountain prairie and dense alpine forests.
Finding ourselves in largely untested grape growing territory, with high elevations and a continental climate, we have turned Iruai into exploration and celebration of esoteric varieties that flourish in the Alps of Europe. While we work to grow our Western Siskiyou County estate projects, we purchase fruit and lease vineyards throughout the Shasta-Cascade, from the Trinity Alps of California to the Siskiyou Mountains of Southern Oregon.
We seek to make wine with a sense of place by employing no additives and removing no character. Our goal in the vineyard is to let the vines thrive like they would in the wild, and in the cellar, to shepherd each ferment through its own natural development and evolution.