It’s that time again. Bud break signals the beginning of the 2012 growing season at King Estate. Tiny buds first started popping up in March, and the vineyard achieved 100% bud break in early May. Last year, bud break wasn’t until mid-May, so Vineyard Manger Meliton Martinez and the vineyard crew are paying special attention to the vulnerable buds to ensure optimal growth. Secondary buds are manually removed to make sure the primary bud (which contains 2-3 grape clusters) receives most of the nutrients and energy, “we have to touch every single bud to remove them,” said Martinez. The process takes about two weeks with 60 people working all day at the task.
King Estate was invited by 16 Tons to participate in a delicious battle at their South Eugene location (Supreme Bean) on May 11th. The 5 courses of charcuterie were provided by Falling Sky Brewery, while King Estate and The Commons Brewery (from SE Portland) battled head to head to determine the best charcuterie pairing. Each course was carefully paired with a different wine and beer, and each participant was encouraged to take tasting notes and discuss which pairing they enjoyed most. Representatives from The Commons Brewery and King Estate gave educational insight into beer and winemaking as well as the delicate art of food pairing.
In April, at the invitation of the Four Seasons Hotel at Marunouchi, in Tokyo, Japan King Estate Executive Chef Michael Landsberg spent a week in Tokyo preparing several special meals at the prestigious hotel. The guest appearance included the presentation of a number of lunches and dinners, several cooking classes, and culminated with a delectable 5 course gala dinner. The following are Chef Landsberg’s reflections on the successful trip, and at the bottom a gallery of photographs.
Traveling to Japan was such a lively and exhilarating experience. The restaurant options one has to choose from are mind-blowing and seemingly endless. There is everything from ramen (Japanese noodles), to world-class sushi, to the traditional ‘one-pot’ spots. The food presentation is inviting and highly polished, whether you are ordering from a world-class establishment, a department store food court, or from a vendor in Tokyo train station. Packaging is pivotal and rote, the Japanese truly believe that food should satisfy all of the senses.
If there was ever any question about the efficacy and efficiency of sheep in vineyard management, we think this photo sums it up quite clearly. Pictured above, is a vineyard row divided by a fence at the edge of a 2 acre vineyard block in which a group of Sheep were contained. The sheep eat grasses, weeds and other vegetation, offsetting the use of tractors and other farming equipment in the vineyard. The sheep are sequestered in one several-acre area like this for a few days and then rotated to a new vineyard block, ensuring we end up with a nice neat block chewed down to an even height. On the left, we have the evidence of a job well done by our mini-lawnmower friends, and on the right, a block yet to be visited by these extremely efficient farm animals.
Over the last couple of weeks King Estate welcomed 1,500 mini lawn mowers to our 1,033 acre certified organic property. The borrowed sheep quickly eat overgrown grasses and weeds in our vineyard so we don’t have to run our mechanical lawn mowers and weeding equipment, which saves fuel, time, and money. The sheep get free organic food at our all you can eat buffet and add a certain charm to the estate. These furry visitors can only do their job in the early spring before bud break entices them to munch on vines instead of the mustard flowers and knee deep grass. This is our third year bringing in sheep to offset the use of tractors and other machinery that run on fossil fuels, 1,500 sheep is almost three times as many as we have ever had on the property at once. Check out the video above featuring Vineyard Manager Meliton Martinez and the photos below to see the first 700 sheep arrive.
King Estate stood out in the 4th Annual Register Guard Reader’s Choice Awards. We are honored to have won the reader voted contest in two categories as Eugene’s Best Local Winery and Best Wedding Venue. Make sure to check out the rest of the winners. We also pulled in second place for Eugene’s Best Outdoor Dining option, not bad considering we are 20 miles out of town!
Earlier this year we also took home “Best Winery” in the Eugene Weekly’s annual ‘Best of Eugene’. They summed it up pretty well:
King Estate, with its pristine setting in the heart of the Willamette Valley’s wine country provides the perfect spot to sample its array of masterful wine. One can sit and enjoy a glass and a gourmet meal overlooking the certified organic vineyard in a most picturesque setting. This year the vineyard celebrates its twentieth anniversary and continues to produce some of the most exceptional wines with grapes grown in its own vineyard as well as from various other Northwest regions. King Estate’s creations illustrate time and again why the Northwest is known for its wine.
The 2012 Chef’s Night Out brought together Lane County’s finest restaurants, wineries, and microbreweries to benefit Food for Lane County at the Hult Center in Eugene, OR. Chefs’ Night Out has become one of, if not the premiere Lane County food and wine event, and King Estate is proud to have once again been the title sponsor for the event for the fourth year in a row.
Welcome to the first edition of People say…. A post in which we round up links to recent articles, blog posts, and occasionally social media mentions for King Estate or about subjects we find interesting. Have something you think we should share? Drop us a line on facebook, tweet us @kingestate, or just send a message using the contact form. In this edition we have six links from four sources, including an article from The New York Times about Oregon Chardonnay.
The people behind Mutineer Magazine are a lot of fun to
hang out drink with, and we also like the product they put together. Their magazine has interesting stories and beautiful editorial photography by their extremely talented Director of Photography, Portland’s own, Ian Vincent Andreae. A few weeks ago, King Estate hosted Mutineer Magazine’s first winter retreat, where the Mutineers bonded and brainstormed article topics and art for the upcoming year.
Here’s a video detailing their retreat at the winery:
This year’s King Estate Rib Feast took place over two weekends with a total of six seatings. Guests enjoyed locally sourced ribs, chicken, and veggies amid bouquets of organic estate grown daffodils and King Estate NxNW wines.