On the evening of September 29th, King Estate winery hosted Cascades Raptor Center’s 2nd Annual Benefit Dinner. The benefit’s 93 guests enjoyed a 5 course meal with wine pairings, and got the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of CRC’s resident birds of prey, like Dmitri the Eagle Owl.
This year, the focus of the event was to introduce CRC’s Flight Training Arena Project and to raise funds towards construction costs. CRC regularly receives phone calls from the public inquiring about flight shows, which, without a dedicated space, they are currently unable to provide. Regular flight opportunities would not only attract more visitors to their nature center (which already sees 15,000+ general public visitors annually) and greatly enhance the visitor experience, it would also provide irreplaceable enrichment and training benefits to the wildlife hospital’s resident education birds.
BNOW 84 and BNOW 85 are sister Barn Owls that were found in Salem. Cascades Raptor Center (their rehabilitator) uses names like BNOW 84 & 85 to avoid getting too attached to the birds of prey that they release back to the wild. These two baby owls found on June 5th after they fell from their nest into a stack of hay bales at only a few days old. They were taken to Turtle Ridge Wildlife Center in Salem and then transferred to Cascades Raptor Center on June 8th. The owlets had excellent nutrition but had some developmental problems, possibly from their eggs not being turned by the parents or from being lodged in the hay bales. BNOW 84 was bow-legged and BNOW 85′s legs were sticking out and she was reluctant to bend her knees. Her wing tips were sticking out also.
After being treated at Cascades Raptor Center for over two months, the owlets were ready to be released back into the wild at King Estate. King Estate is an ideal environment for Barn Owls because there is plenty of prey, room to roam, and no harmful pesticides. King Estate has nesting boxes for owls and other birds of prey around the estate where the owls are released. Once they are placed in the boxes and settle in for a couple hours, the door is opened and they are free to fly into the night.
Below Carrie Sigloh, Operations Coordinator, and Erland an intern from Norway, release the rehabilitated sister owlets at King Estate Winery on August 27th, 2012.
With the help of SolarCity, Lane Electric Co-op, and Advanced Energy Systems representatives, King Estate Winery officially welcomed our four acre solar array with a ceremonial ribbon cutting on Saturday, July 14th. The array is one of the largest solar arrays ever in the Pacific Northwest and certainly the largest at a winery in the region.
The four acre solar patch translates to 1-megawatt of power generation, or enough to power 100 local homes. While addressing the crowd, CEO and Founder Ed King III expressed his gratitude to everyone involved in moving the project forward and emphasized his ambitious vision of seeing the state of Oregon become the first carbon neutral state.
The project took 5 years to plan and fund, but was built in only four months. See photos of it’s construction here. The panels went online in March 2012. In the next 25 years the 4,144 panel array is projected to offset at least 38-million pounds of CO2. According to estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, this amount is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 3,381 passenger cars or 1.9 million gallons of gasoline.
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.
The King Estate solar power project has entered another phase. Bare metal racks are quickly disappearing as workers cover them with high-tech panels that will soon be able to generate energy from the sun.
Read more about the King Estate Solar Vineyard
We are best known for our exceptional wines (obviously), but we also grow and harvest exceptional organic lavender. Garden manager Jessie Russell and her crew care for more than ¾ of an acre of lavender. Varieties include white ‘Cape Blanco,’ a small crop of ‘Provence,’ and our most prevalent variety, ‘Buena Vista.’ ’Buena Vista’ was developed by Dr. Don Roberts, a retired professor from OSU and a lavender farmer himself. It is an exceptional varietal of lavender. Roberts distills the organic King Estate lavender at Premier Botanicals in Independence, Oregon.
This year, the estate produced 3.25 gallons of essential lavender oil which we will use to make lotion, soap, body wash, shampoo, conditioner, and of course essential oil. You can shop for our estate lavender products by clicking here or by visiting the King Estate visitor center.
Watch the video to take a closer look at the lavender harvest and distillation processes:
King Estate is teaming up with SolarCity, a national leader in solar power, as well as Lane Electric Co-op, and Advanced Energy Systems to install the largest solar power system at a winery in the Pacific Northwest. Construction on the 973.84 kilowatt (kW) solar system began this month.
Five years in the making, this is a very exciting time for the winery, the culmination of a lot of hard work between us and our partners in this project. This installation is a collaboration between King Estate and Advanced Energy Systems, which developed the project; SolarCity, which provided financing and integration support; and Lane Electric as the utility partner. The system’s 4,144 solar panels on about 4 acres of land should eliminate more than 38 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the next 25 years. According to estimates provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, this amount is equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 3,381 passenger cars or 1.9 million gallons of gasoline. The King Estate solar power system is large enough to offset the annual power usage of approximately 100 residential homes.
With 1,033 acres, King Estate is home to the world’s largest contiguous organic vineyard. Our organic certification was granted by Oregon Tilth, one of the strictest certifying agencies in the country. We have also been inspected and certified by Salmon-Safe, which recognizes that our farming inputs and practices have no negative impact on salmon and other aquatic life. This is of great importance here at King Estate because the natural springs that begin on our property flow to the Siuslaw river, and some are key tributaries.
To increase awareness of this fish-friendly certification we have partnered with the non-profit Salmon-Safe organization to bring you this exciting contest. All you have to do is pledge to sip Salmon-Safe wine and choose wild instead of farmed fish. You’ll be entered to win a year long membership in the King Estate Tower Club and a year’s supply of wild Bristol Bay salmon delivered right to your door.