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.
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:
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.
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.
Last September, King Estate vineyard workers noticed an injured Red-tailed Hawk on the estate. Volunteers from the Cascades Raptor Center quickly rescued the bird, which had an infected foot caused by a prey bite. Four months and one amputated toe later, the hawk proved that it was well enough to return home to King Estate where it and other birds of prey play a vital role providing natural pest control. Owls, hawks, and other raptors thrive on our 1,033 certified organic acres because there is no chance of poisoning through the food chain, and there is plenty of room to roam. King Estate Winery and Eugene’s Cascades Raptor Center are proud to hold a unique partnership that allows orphaned and rehabilitated birds of prey a second shot at life in the wild world.
This month, members of the Ultimate tier of the King Estate Tower Club, will receive a limited edition magnum of our Domaine Pinot Noir. The screen printed, wax sealed bottle will arrive in a unique box featuring an infographic that tells the story of the wine and the meticulous barrel selection process that ensures only the best estate organic fruit makes it into our Domaine blend. We’ve posted an animated version of this same infographic for your viewing pleasure.
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.