Dry Hollow Vineyards

3410 Dry Hollow Lane
The Dalles, OR 97058

541-296-2953

Dry Hollow Vineyards is a family owned winery that provides tasting on the vineyard.  It is owned and operated by Eric Nisley and Bridget Bailey Nisley, a native of The Dalles.  Eric is an Attorney in Wasco County, and Bridget also practices law.  They became interested in developing a winery while traveling to do fresh cherry research in Chile, Italy, and Australia.  The first vines, Merlot, were planted in 1999.

Dry Hollow's first estate wines, Merlot and Syrah, were produced from the 2003 crop.   Eric, who served as assistant winemaker, initially made wine in the Bailey family's cherry packing plant.  He thinks that 2004 was his best vintage yet.  Bridget and Eric are very proud of their estate-grown Syrah and Merlot which typically sells out each year.  Focusing on locally grown-grapes, they feature eight wines, mostly single vineyard designations, that are made from grapes grown in The Dalles, within five miles of the tasting room.  The annual production is small (about 650 cases) but their wines are big, voluptuous, and fruit forward.

The valley of cherry orchard surrounding the tasting room was originally a dairy farm (the Hi Valley dairy barn is still there).  The now vineyard site, "Hi Valley," was purchased by Bridget's parents in 1973.  The property was initially pasture but was gradually developed into apple and cherry orchards.  Apple orchards were removed when the market dropped in the 1980's.  Growing cherries became a challenge on the southern slope and Bridget's dad Bob was convinced by Bridget and Lonnie Wright that grapes would flourish on that ridge.  The ridge where the grapes are now planted hides dense sandstone, basalt and heavy clay under the beautiful vines.  This soil type mildly stresses the grapes and gives them a unique flavor, producing wonderful wines for Dry Hollow and many other wineries in the Gorge and Willamette Valley.

We began our journey in the wine world working with John Haw (former winemaker of Sokol Blosser and Maryhill), and Brad Gearhart (Eric's college roommate and professional builder who, along with Eric, completed the Dry Hollow tasting room in 2005.  Today, Brad owns and operates Jacob Williams winery on the Washington side of the Columbia River.  Dry Hollow's wines are now made by Rich Cushman, veteran winemaker in the Willamette Valley and Columbia Gorge. The wines currently featured are Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Merlot, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and two blends:  "Fort Dalles Red" and "Vin Blanc De Table."

Eric enjoys meeting wine enthusiasts and sharing vertical tastings.  Bridget has begun developing seasonal traditions at the tasting room.  In the Spring, she offers a rose pruning clinic with her mom, Barbara and her neighbor, Mel Omeg.  She enjoys offering fresh cherry samples during the summer.  Her favorite tradition is wreathmaking with vines during November.  She and Eric bring in the prunings for members and guests to make their own.  She looks forward to developing the yard around the tasting room for an annual garden party.  Eric and Bridget's daughter, Elizabeth, was born the same year as the first Merlot planting.  Now age 13, she mows the lawn, has helped with "punch down," and provides guitar music at the tasting room.

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