King Estate Hosts Cascades Raptor Center's Annual Fundraising Event

November 05 2012

King Estate Oregon Winery Pinot Gris Pinot Noir Raptor Event Owl Hawk Eagle

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.

2012 Harvest Begins at King Estate Winery

September 29 2012

Harvest begins at King Estate Winery in Oregon 2012

On Saturday morning around 4AM at King Estate Winery near Eugene, Oregon we officially began harvest for the 2012 vintage on our own organic estate. This marks our 21st vintage since our inception in 1991 and our first harvest in 1992. Two crews harvested over 20 tons of Pinot Noir from a vineyard block near the solar panels on the northeast side of the property. Vineyard Manager Meliton Marinez was impressed, “I’m very pleased with the maturity and ripening of the fruit. We’re having a really good year, and the weather forecast is promising,” he said. The start of harvest is an exciting time at King Estate, and crews will be working 24/7 to process the grapes. We began bringing in grapes from off-site vineyards during the previous week.

Estate Organic Vineyard Growing Season Update for September 5th, 2012

September 05 2012

Vineyard Manager Meliton Martinez

At King Estate Winery, where we have over 475 acres of organic grapes planted, the majority of the vineyard blocks are now between 5 and 25% verasion, with some much further ahead.  The following blocks are those that are farthest ahead this year: Block 4G on the south side of the property is at about 85% color, and is planted to Pinot Noir clone 113 on RG rootstock, it was green thinned today. Block 16B near the center of the property, just south of the main winery building is at 75% color. It is planted to Pinot Noir clone 115 on SO4 rootstock and will be green thinned tomorrow. Blocks 28C and 28D are in the far northeast corner of the property, both are planted to Pinot Noir clone 777 on 3309 and 101-14 rootstocks and they are both at about 80% color. It is possible that the entire site will be at 100% veraison by the middle of next week. Currently the property at King Estate has accumulated 1,350 GDD units which puts us close to where we were this time in 2010, however the outlook is much better as it appears that this September will be much dryer. During September 2010 we saw about 2.5 inches of rain during the month, currently the long term forecast for September look very promising, which bodes very well for the 2012 vintage.

Meliton Martinez
Vineyard Manager
King Estate Winery

Orphaned Sister Owlets Released at King Estate Winery's Organic Property

September 03 2012

Baby Barn Owls Released at King Estate Winery

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.

2012 Growing Season Update for the Second Week of August

August 17 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the second week of August, details their observations of our Washington state vineyards.

This week’s trip up to Washington showed that things are still clicking along at a good pace. Temperatures during the trip and for the month of August so far have been hot and above average. This isn’t always to the best benefit to the vines as they can shut down from too much heat, but after the last couple of cool vintages, we’ll take any additional heat units we can get. The good news is that we’re far ahead of where we were last year and only just a bit behind average.

The forecast in Washington was not only hot, but it was also smoky! I had to rub my eyes to see if the forecast I was reading on the iPhone truly said smoke! There are several fires throughout the state that are causing hazy and smoky conditions. In fact, as I was traveling from one vineyard to the next, I came across a harvested field of wheat that had caught fire.

The grapes are certainly in better condition and hopefully we won’t have any issues with the infamous “smoke taint” that has affected so many California vineyards in the past. The level of smoke was minimal and it would be a long shot to see any effects in the fruit.

The vines themselves are coming right along. We’re beginning to see verasion in many of the blocks which means that it’s near go time up in Washington. The growers have been spending their efforts in the final major passes of hand labor before it comes time to make a green pass and drop the clusters that might be lagging behind the rest of them. The finishing hand work before the green thinning is mainly aimed at opening up the canopies to enable just the right amount of sun to hit the fruit on the morning side of the rows, while trying to protect the hotter afternoon side from too much sun. It’s a fine balancing act and the best growers do it well. The goal of the upcoming green thinning is to get a uniform level of ripeness in the blocks and this is one of the best methods to do so. Being able to look at the clusters and cut off the less advanced ones is the strongest visual indicator a vineyard will have on the uniformity, so the green thin is essential to a good crop.

- Ben Howe, Winemaker

2012 Oregon Growing Season Update for the First Week of August

August 09 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.
During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of August, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.

This weeks vineyard tour showed we are still on track. Vines have set a healthy crop load that is representative of great quality. The canopy growth has slowed and the vines are starting to show focus on the grapes. The hot dry weather has been great on the vines lately, giving full even canopies for consistent ripening later. Looks like we are starting to approach lag phase.

- Christopher Hudson, Assistant Winemaker

2012 Oregon Growing Season Update for the Third Week of July

August 05 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.
During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the third week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.

This week has shown that King Estate has been receiving ideal weather for a good growing season. Optimal temperatures have been putting the vineyard crew in full swing of training and shoot positioning. Our vineyard team has been doing an excellent job keeping up with the speed of growth in the vineyard. Across the estate we are starting to show good signs of fruit set. Our vines are looking healthy, well-kept and fruitful.

- Christopher Hudson, Assistant Winemaker

2012 Growing Season Update for the Second Week of July

July 28 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.
During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the second week of July, details their observations of our Washington state vineyards.

Ben Howe and I headed to Washington bright and early on Thursday, July 12th. This was our first trip to WA this growing season and the vines were already approaching lag phase if not in it already. They are ahead of last year and looking much better with regard to some of the disease pressure seen then. We covered the Horse Heaven Hills and Walla Walla AVAs. The fruit at Alder Ridge was already shooting down its growth for the year and getting a drink of water to help moderate the triple digit temps the area has been seeing. The Benches was also a pleasure to visit, showing a great crop, especially in the Riesling. We could see well over 240 tons off our block this year. We also discussed moving into a couple new blocks of Merlot (terraced) and Cabernet (down at the bottom of their ranch called the R’s). Then we traveled over to lovely Walla Walla to visit Heather Hill, Seven Hills, and Les Collines. All were looking top notch!

- Jeff Kandarian, Director of Winemaking

2012 Oregon Growing Season Update for the First Week of July

July 19 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.
During the growing season, our winemakers closely observe the growth in the vineyard on our organic estate and also venture beyond our own 1,033 acre property to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the first week of July, details their observations thus far on our own organic estate.

This year is off to a great start thanks to the warm weather we had at the beginning of the growing season. We are on about the same schedule as bud break and bloom in 2008, a particularly renowned vintage. Currently we are at 354 growing degree days which is typically when we near 100% bloom, you can definitely smell the grape blossoms. Most vineyard blocks trained to a VSP (Vertical Shoot Positioned) trellis are 80-100% in bloom and the split canopy systems are between 70-90% on average. So far so good!

- Christopher Hudson, Assistant Winemaker

2012 Oregon Growing Season Update for the Last Week of June

July 03 2012

During the growing season, our winemakers venture beyond the 470 acres of our organic estate vineyard to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the last week of June, details their observations of Southern Oregon vineyards.
During the growing season, our winemakers venture beyond the 470 acres of our organic estate vineyard to make the rounds all over Oregon and Washington wine country. They do this throughout the summer, visiting the 40+ vineyards that grow grapes for our wines. This update for the last week of June, details their observations of Southern Oregon vineyards.

This trip reinforced that this year is heading in a great direction! So far we are seeing a much more “normal” start than the last two vintages. Early on we were trending with the 2006 vintage in regards to heat units. It’s a pleasure to see there is real separation and marked differences between various locations, vineyards, blocks, clones, etc. This separation allows for harvest to be much more logistically sane. During the last 2 vintages everything seemed to converge, grapes all over the state ripened at the same time despite geographical differences, which compacted harvest. All of the grapes wanted to come in during 7-10 day window, which makes for some long days and nights and presents a lot of logistical challenges. Take a look at the pictures below and exhale with me as this vintage seems to be providing a much larger window for crush, and showing all the signs we like to see for great quality fruit come harvest.

- Jeff Kandarian, Director of Winemaking & Viticulture