Mark Vlossak had an unusual upbringing. His father was a wine educator and importer who instilled his passion for wine in Mark at the tender age of seven years old. Mark’s mother trained under a master chef and prepared meals to accompany the wines they were tasting. Together, his parents showed him the beauty of the partnership between food and wine and how one served to elevate the other.
Mark began St. Innocent Winery in the Willamette Valley in 1988 and quickly established himself as one of the premier winemakers in the area, finding sites that had potential to produce wines with a true sense of place.
Today, under Mark’s leadership, the winery continues to produce outstanding wines from esteemed sites within the Willamette Valley. Our estate vineyard was planted in 2018 and we expect to harvest our first fruit in 2022. Vickianne Vlossak’s daughter Makenzie has spent the last several years working harvests in Oregon and Germany and is training with Mark to eventually take over the reins at St. Innocent. Our winery produces critically acclaimed Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Blanc, and Riesling, along with a small program devoted to sparkling wines produced in the traditional method.
Mark is introduced to wine by his father, John I(nnocent) Vlossak – he likes it and begins tasting wine nightly at dinner with his family.
Mark moves to Oregon. He completes his training as a Pediatric Physician Assistant and discovers Oregon Wine. His love for sparkling wine rises to a new level after tasting a 1952 Mercier Blanc de blancs.
Andre Tchelistcheff, one of the all-time greatest winemakers in America, is quoted in Bon Appetit: “The greatest sparkling wine in America will be made in Oregon, not California, because it is the right place to grow Pinot noir and Chardonnay, the grapes of Champagne.” Mark loses his mind and decides “to do that.”
Mark apprentices under Fred Arterberry Jr., the first Oregonian to make vineyard-designated Pinot noir and the first person to make Oregon sparkling wine.
St. Innocent Winery is founded. Mark produces his first vintage under the St. Innocent label.
1989 Pinot noir, O’Connor Vineyard receives one of 4 Gold Medals in the Oregon State Fair. It is the second bottling of Pinot noir under the St. Innocent label.
Mark purchases land off Salem Parkway and builds a new winery space. St. Innocent produces its first vintage from Temperance Hill and Freedom Hill Vineyards. Mark is hired as Winemaker for Panther Creek Cellars (through the 1999 harvest).
Mark produces the Wine Advocate’s first Oregon 94 point wine.
St. Innocent produces its first vintage from Shea Vineyard.
Mark is honored as a “Wine Personality of the Year” by the Wine Advocate. He is honored with this designation a second time just a few years later.
St. Innocent produces its first vintage from Momtazi Vineyard. We purchase a membership interest in Zenith Vineyard, moving the winery and tasting room to Zenith’s location in Eola-Amity Hills.
A challenging harvest inspires the creation of “Oeil de Perdrix,” a white wine of Pinot noir that is still a fan favorite today.
Wine Enthusiast publishes “Five Great Oregon Vineyards Worth Knowing.” St. Innocent is the only winery to produce wine from all five vineyards profiled. Mark resumes sparkling wine production.
Vickianne Vlossak creates the food program in our Tasting Room featuring the Sip and Savor experience, a tasting menu showcasing our wines as they were intended to be enjoyed – with food!
St. Innocent sells its interest in Zenith Vineyard. This is also the last vintage for Vitae Springs, Zenith, and Justice Vineyards.
St. Innocent buys land and establishes Enchanted Way Vineyard, a 47 acre property in the South Salem Hills. 16 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot noir vines are planted. Mark designs a new winery and begins construction; finally realizes his goal to be a “vigneron” in the French tradition.
The new winery and tasting room space opens its doors in the spring.
Mark’s daughter Makenzie Holley makes her first wine, a skin-contact rosé of Pinot gris lovingly called the ‘Not So Innocent’ Grauburgunder.