Proteus Wines is a tiny but purposeful estate creating boutique, lovingly-crafted vintages from grapes grown from the rich volcanic soils of Oregon’s Chehalem Mountain range. Small-batch and hand-hewn, our wines are exactly those we’ve enjoyed drinking over the years and sharing with our friends. Which is just how Proteus came to be.
It began with a long-held tradition of harvesting, bottling and celebrating over pot-lucks. The camaraderie of these events spurred us to create wines that could not only be shared among this close-knit “club” of friends but more widely offered, always retaining a personal approach. With production limited to only a few hundred cases annually, we’re able to craft our wine, our way – true to our values. This means a dedication to sustainable, natural and organic farming, meticulous, yet unmanipulated cellaring and thoughtful blending. The result is an appealing and approachable wine consistently over-delivering in quality and value.
Farming for unreasonably low yields to capture as much grape flavor as possible, Proteus allows native yeasts to ferment spontaneously. We follow natural settling and stabilizing regimens and filter wines only lightly when absolutely necessary to burnish brightness and vivacity in the glass.
The vision behind Proteus comes from a retired opera conductor, Peter Jacoby. He believes that integrative wine production techniques and a delicate dance of farming, harvesting and of creating spotless wines is not unlike the confidence needed to inspire and blend an ensemble of musicians. He compares exploring innate rhythms of the vineyard and in the winery to conducting myriad operatic forces, to delight not in controlling things overwhelmingly, but allowing the “players” to realize their best performances…together.
Why Proteus, the shape-shifting deity of the sea? The image evokes the alchemical
transformation of grapes to wine, to remain adaptable and relevant, and to challenge us with new ideas in the vineyard and the winery. In short, Proteus represents award-winning wines which are foremost about enjoyment alongside great food and great company. It is a promise of high quality and exceptional value without pretense.
Interview with Proteus Winemaker Ian Burrows at Oregon Wine History Archive
In this interview, Ian talks about how he found his way to wine through the hospitality industry, how he got into the restaurant industry, and eventually learned about wine and becoming a sommelier. He goes on to touch on how he learned the business side of wine, what it’s like pairing people with wine, and how he eventually came to the U.S. from France. Ian then describes how he moved to Oregon and what it’s like making wine through his label, Aerea Vintners. Towards the end of the interview, Ian talks about his various other projects, where he sees himself in the future, and what the future for the Oregon Wine Industry is looking like for him.