Photo courtesy of Dreux and Dain Dillingham
Carter-Lamour is a project Dreux and Dain started to support long term care for a spinal injury Dain sustained in August 2013.

A bond of brothers makes a better Chardonnay in Ballard

Two brothers living in Ballard have started the first African-American winery in the state.

Their label, Carter-Lamour, takes its name from the middle names of the Dreux and Dain Dillingham. Between the two of them, they have almost 15 years in the industry, and being the first of it’s kind is something they said they didn’t try for, it just worked out that way.

“It’s important for us to recognize that and for people to recognize it. It really wasn’t our intention, it just kind of happened. It’s super cool, and we are happy to be the ones who are doing it. Our mother always said to break down walls, and this is one that we ended up doing, I guess,” said Dreux.

The brothers learned their craft working in Walla Walla, and their winery is the fruit of their love for wine and their bond as brothers. Not only is it the first black owned winery, Carter-Lamour is a project Dreux and Dain started to support long term care for a spinal injury Dain sustained in August 2013.

“The project formed with the intention of helping with Dain’s long-term support and was born out of us being in the industry a long time and had an outpour of support from friends and colleagues after Dain’s accident,” said Dreux.

Dain suffered an injury to his C5 vertebrae after a fall the night of his 28th birthday. He fell from the roof of a house on Capitol Hill and was paralyzed from the neck down. Dain was hospitalized for a seven weeks at Harborview, and eventually recovered some mobility. He still does not have mobility in his legs and has limited movement in his hands, arms and trunk.

“I was getting ready for harvest and working in the industry to all of a sudden not being able to move anything in my body,” said Dain.

Dreux, 35, and Dain, 30, are from Kansas and have been living in Ballard for the last two years. Dreux moved to Walla Walla in 2005 to make a start in the wine industry. He earned his associates degree in wine making from the Walla Walla Center for Enology and Viticulture and continued to work at wineries in the area. Dain went to school at Baker University in Kansas and would visit Dreux in Walla Walla while in school. In 2008 Dain moved to Walla Walla to work a harvest and to take a break from classes. He discovered a passion for wine and got his start working in wine production. After one season as a seasonal production worker, Dain was asked to stay on and worked as a cellar master and then later as a production manager. Leading up to the accident in 2013 Dain was about to start as an assistant wine maker with a new winery in Walla Walla.

After Dain’s injury, Dreux became Dain’s full time caregiver. They moved to Ballard a few moths after the accident.

“Ballard’s been great because it’s a neighborhood where he (Dain) has access to things like the movies and coffee shops, and it’s relatively flat,” said Dreux.

“The best part of living in Ballard is the community feel. We are from Lawrence, Kansas, which is a university town, and this little Ballard neighborhood made us feel at home because people are always buzzing around going into cafes and restaurants and all the small businesses that have started up,” said Dain. “It just was really good energy to be around and go into places where people recognize you after you come in a couple times and know you on a first name basis. I think we might have missed that in other places of the city.”

Dain said that since the accident he has discovered major challenges in accessibility and independence. His said that right now he can’t get out of the building he lives in without the help of someone else and that there are other challenges moving through the community.

“A lot of my journey has been trying to regain my independence, and I’ve worked really hard in physical therapy to get stronger, but the fact of the matter is that when I go out I still have to have someone hold the door for me at most places or let me in, or I have to bring my own cup or silverware. So there are still some things that I unfortunately need help with right now. I think the city still has some things they could improve. It’s always a work in progress.”

Another issue the brothers faced was the financial cost of care. They quickly discovered that the care for Dain was more than what Dreux made being as caregiver.

According to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, the cost for care for tetraplegia individuals can be roughly $120,000 a year.

With their passion for wine and strong support from their friends and colleagues, they started Carter-Lamour. Two Walla Walla vineyards contributed the Chardonnay grapes for their first wine. The blending of the two became the Carter-Lamour 2012 Chardonnay.

“After any catastrophic injury or major change in your life it’s a matter of just trying to figure out what your going to do with your life -- how am I going to support myself? The winery is something I can do to get me back in the industry. It was really awesome to have all the outpouring of support, but you always want to be able to support yourself if you can.”

Their Chardonnay is a blending of SIXTO Rosa Hills Vineyard and Alleromb La Reyna Blanca Vineyard aged in new French oak. The wine has apricot, apple and butternut aromas and a creamy buttery texture with crisp citrus and vanilla notes, ending with light spice and toasted oak.

“We are going to start real small and try and grow this into a thing that will help with financial long-term support. … We are lucky enough to have these resources and availability, and it happens to be something we are very good at and that we love to do, and so it has all kind of come together neatly in that respect,” said Dreux.

Carter-Lamour has 250 cases of the Chardonnay that will be available within the next month, and it can be found at a shared tasting room in Walla Walla. It will also be available at a few bottle shops and restaurants in the area or for direct purchase at sales@carterlamour.com.

2000 Carter2

“This Chardonnay is a real chance to kind of have this unique moment– as any wine is – in time that’s part of our story and to enjoy,” said Dreux.

Carter-Lamour plans to release two wines a year -- one white, one red -- with a Cabernet/Malbec coming this fall.

For more information or to support Carter-Lamour visit https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/d10600 and https://www.facebook.com/CarterLamour

For an audio interview with the brothers sharing their amazing story visit https://soundcloud.com/dain-dillingham/storycorps-dreux-and-dain-dilling...

We encourage our readers to comment. No registration is required. We ask that you keep your comments free of profanity and keep them civil. They are moderated and objectionable comments will be removed.