Our Mother, Verena Viola was born in 1909 and grew up in the Glenwood Valley under the watchful eyes of Mt. Adams. Mom started playing the piano when she was three years old by ear and never stopped, which was amazing because a childhood fever left her partially deaf in one ear. Her fingers flew and her tones were beautifully balanced. She was a great pianist and played mostly 1920-1950 jazzy piano tunes. She’d play for hours, whether she played for dance bands or at home or at the rodeo dances. She played most all instruments, was a voracious reader, spoke three languages and was just flat curious about life. She lived through the depression and knew how to make things out of nothing. Viola is such a strong name and Mom was just that.
She taught me and my other four siblings the creativity of life. She told us to always look outside the box and there would be more amazing things to see. To this day it’s hard for me to color inside those lines.
One day we were tasting our 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, and Mom’s music came to mind. It somehow connected with the lingering beautiful finish of this wine—it perfectly captures the depth and complexity of her character. So our flagship wine was born: a tribute to our mother and the amazing, intense fruit from our Echo West Vineyard."—Luii Piercy
Both Lois (Luii) and I (Farmer Lloyd) grew up in the rural west surrounded by heady views of the mountains and the stark beauty of the desert. My father, in 1959, moved to Washington State and our family started a farm on the sage covered desert. Many other families dreaming of land ownership shared our experience living in tents and basement homes and simple shelters as we attempted to tame the desert. Very few achieved their dreams.
Lois, at the foot of Mt. Adams, grew up in a rustic cabin home, also without running water. She assisted her family in cattle ranching, wheat production, and her father breaking horses and mules.
Both of our youths were in a free, creative atmosphere, surrounded by entrepreneurs and dreamers, both living close to the earth, simple home grown foods simply prepared, wild berries, fish and game. Both our journeys have given us a respect for and connectivity to the soil, the land.
We have farmed now in two different states raising flowers, vegetables, grains, forage, and livestock which has led us to the beauty of “viticulture”: the raising of wine grapes on a bluff overlooking the Umatilla River on our 3900 acre Historic Ranch in Echo, Oregon.
Our lives have given us many hats to wear, raising a large family, now with grandchildren. We have traveled the world together usually not as tourists, trekking Costa Rica; visiting workers in rural Mexico and experiencing views from small planes; sailing & diving in Venezuela; exploring the Grand Savannah; visiting our friend in south Africa sharing his painful journey in the fight against apartheid; surfing False bay; always returning to the Alpine ski world working the Olympics and World Cup race events in the USA, Italy, Sweden and France, and will be in Whistler, B.C. for the 2010 Olympics.
We have enjoyed wines in many countries, each teaching us and freeing us from preconceived ideas which can be inflicted by a region. Our taste for adventure is reflected in the novellas on our wine labels, mostly stories of our travel experiences and observations that are not to be lost.We wish to share our stories and wines, the work of our hands and reflection of our lives.