In the company of our beloved Tower Club members, we celebrated the season’s bounty at the 8th Annual Harvest Moon Celebration on Friday, September 20th, 2013. Once again we gathered en masse for an evening of fine wine and food live music from a quartet lead by Michael Radliff.
The celebration’s menu featured fresh produce from our estate orchards, gardens, charcuterie kitchen, and bakery, supplemented by the high quality ingredients of three key vendors: fisherman Jacob Farrens of Oregon Pride Seafood, artisan cheesemaker Mariano Battro of La Mariposa, and pork farmers Mark & Kelly Payne of Payne Family Farms. These vendors gave special tastes of their products at the reception, and joined us for dinner.
Each of the evening’s courses, designed by Executive Chef Benjamin Nadolny, was carefully considered and paired with a selection from our wine library.
King Estate Vineyard Manager Meliton Martinez estimates that bud break is still just around the corner, but other signs of Spring are popping up all across the estate. Daffodils, tulips, and native wildflowers decorate the landscape, and sheep borrowed from a local rancher dutifully graze on weeds between rows of grape vines. Our honey bees are diligently working, too. They return to their hives covered in pollen, which eventually becomes honey that we harvest and make available for purchase in the King Estate Visitor Center.
Garden Manager Jessie Russell just finished creating a walking path through the oak forest at the bottom of the hill below the main winery building, where visitors can take a stroll or sit in the shade and enjoy lovely views from all angles. She has begun planting spinach, strawberries, and other fruits and vegetables intended for use in the restaurant at King Estate, or to be donated to Food for Lane County. Nearby in one of the ponds, Bullfrogs and Red-winged Blackbird harmoniously feast on insects. As the prospect of sunshine has become more promising, many visitors take a glass of wine out to our patio to enjoy the view.
Organic lavender is in full bloom at King Estate Winery. The brightly colored and fragrant flowers will remain purple for a few more weeks but will be peaking this weekend. Due to an exceptional harvest last year, from which we yielded over 3 gallons of essential oil, Garden Manager Jessie Russell explained that we will forgo the harvest this year and allow the lavender to bloom on. Products made from our organic estate-grown lavender, including essential oil, lotion, and gift sets, are available for sale online and at the Visitor Center. Gift sets feature lavender infused oil, lotion, shampoo, conditioner, natural soap, shower gel, and hand sanitizer, and are available for a new lower price of $12. Watch the video to take a closer look at the lavender harvest and distillation processes:
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:
This year, King Estate had the pleasure of catering the 8th Annual FOOD for Lane County Empty Bowls Dinner & Auction which took place Saturday evening, October 1, in the FOOD for Lane County warehouse. Storage docks that normally hold boxes of food were transformed into a harvest fair complete with shops replete with colorful awnings and stocked with auction items for all to see and bid on. A live auction was conducted in between dinner courses in the dining area, where guests had the chance to win trips to Hawaii and Mexico, Oregon sunstone jewelry, season passes to the Bach Festival, and lots of other exciting packages. Watch the video below that played before the meal to get a closer look at the 5 course menu King Estate prepared and meet some of the farmers that supplied ingredients.
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.
The summer season is in full swing at King Estate. Willamette Valley summers are exceptional, and there is never a better time to visit the estate and enjoy lunch with a bottle of wine on our terraces. The spring flowers on our organic fruit trees have transformed into small apples, figs, and cherries soon to be enjoyed by visitors ordering our cheese and fruit plate.
Weddings occur most often during the summer due to the Willamette Valley’s mild weather and King Estate’s beautiful, green vines. With full time event planners on site and catering from our restaurant and bakery, a wedding at the estate is a perfect celebration.
With springtime comes new growth throughout the King Estate property. Our apple and plum trees have begun to flower, and the mustard and grass in the vineyard have been growing quickly. That’s where the sheep come in. King Estate uses sheep as natural lawn mowers. They enjoy munching on fresh shoots of grass and weeds, and we enjoy the fact that we don’t have to run tractors through the vines to trim the unwanted growth. In the process, the sheep also naturally fertilize the vines and help us reduce our carbon footprint.