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New Orleans, LA, 70119
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swirl and savor

Moises Wines; Driven by Passion, Heart and Healing

Beth Ribblett

Born and raised in New Orleans, Jesuit and LSU graduate, ER doctor and professor, Dr. James Moises is a busy man. Somehow between working in the ERs of both Tulane and Baptist, and teaching, he is finding time to follow his other passion, making wine. And not just any wine, we’re talking very small production, serious Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley made with sustainable vineyard practices and minimalist intervention in winemaking.

When asked about his leap into the world of wine, James credits his good friend and colleague Mark Wahle of Mark Wahle Vineyards. Residents together at LSU in the 90’s, Mark gained his wine knowledge through UC Davis where he completed his Viticulture & Enology studies in 1988, and his hands on experience in his family’s 100 acre hilltop vineyard site outside of Yamhill, Oregon. Traveling extensively with Mark through Europe, California and Oregon, James discovered his love of wine and decided he wanted to take the plunge into the challenging world of Oregon Pinot.

In 2002 James bought 40 acres of land in the Eola Hills area of Oregon, where Mark was also planting vines. Named the 'Holmes Hill' vineyard (pictured left) after the original homesteader of the property, James and his closest friends and family including our friend and neighbor Bob McGuire, pounded the posts and planted the vines themselves. Controlling the process from start to finish, both he and Mark use a very hands-on approach to both the viticultural and winemaking practices. Incorporating sustainable vineyard practices is a priority. From using dry farming techniques (no irrigation), no herbicides, hand harvesting and sorting to the production of the wine in the Carlton Winemaker’s Studio, the first winery to be registered with the U.S. Green Building Council, these guys are serious about what they do and how they do it. Already planning expansion, they are currently building their new winemaking facilities in the Holmes Hill area (pictured right) and would like to expand to 150 planted acres in the next 2-3 years which would put them in the top five in terms of largest vineyard land holdings in Oregon.

James’ first vintage release was in 2006, producing an old vine Pinot with fruit from Mark’s original family plot that was planted in 1974, and a Holmes Hill Pinot from the recently planted 40 acre site. Total production was only 150 cases in 2006 and in 2007. With the release of the Vieux Carre, a blend of the old vine Yamhill Carlton and the Holmes Hill fruit, production will increase to 300 cases.

The health benefits of red wine fit in with James’ other passion in life, practicing medicine. His affinity for Pinot Noir is supported with the related medical research, as James says “Studies have shown the Pinot Noir grape contains the highest levels of the super antioxidant resveratrol”. In fact, Cornell researcher Leroy Creasy found the highest resveratrol levels in pinot noir grapes that are grown in cooler, rainy places like the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York and Oregon's Willamette Valley. Long sown in France's cool Burgundy region, pinot noir is considered a finicky grape to grow, in part because it is susceptible to rot which may be the reason it produces more resveratrol than other grapes--up to 40 times as much resveratrol as grapes such as merlot and cabernet sauvignon.

While Mark is the winemaker, James is there every step of the way, involved from planting to bottling and he wouldn’t have it any other way. He loves the creative process involved in “taking this cluster of fruit and producing something really special that will bring enjoyment to others.” And he’d like you to experience that enjoyment first hand by attending his release party on August 15! “I’m really excited about this launch as everyone who has listened to me talk about this project for the last 6-7 years will finally get to taste my wines!”

So please join us on Saturday, August 15 from 6 to 9pm as Dr. James Moises will be popping corks on his amazing 2006 and 2007 Yamhill Carlton Old Vine, 2006 and 2007 Holmes Hill and the 2007 Vieux Carre, as we celebrate his début as a serious player in the world of Oregon Pinots!