Retired NASA astrophysicist, inventor and Vidon Vineyard winemaker Don Hagge released three new wines named for his work on some of NASA’s most iconic space programs: 2015 Explorer Tempranillo, 2015 Saturn Syrah, and 2015 Apollo Chardonnay. Between 1964 and 1970, Hagge designed, engineered and tested radiation-detecting equipment for many of NASA’s most high-profile missions. Since 1999 (at the age of 69), he’s applied his formidable intellect and training to growing and making wine at Vidon in Willamette Valley.
Hagge built his own proprietary argon gas wine preservation tap system for his tasting room; uses no corks on his wine, preferring sterile Vinoseal glass closures to avoid the risk of cork taint and pre-oxydation; and has designed and built a unique bottling line for these closures using pneumatic pressure to insert them using a space-age heat gun to secure the capsule. At age 85, Hagge still does the vineyard tractor work and makes all the wine.