Following a long and exciting career in the Global Construction Industry we left our home in San Diego, California to begin our encore careers in beautiful Cheshire, Oregon. What we lacked in vineyard and winemaking experience we have more than made up for with enthusiasm, research, advice from our wine expert neighbors and a lot of hard work.
Following research of grape types we decided on the beauty and fragility of the Pinot Noir variety. Then we began a lengthy search for an appropriate piece of land. We hired a vineyard consultant to evaluate several possible selections. Upon his advice and affirmation, we purchased our 85-acre farm in the Cheshire area of the South Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Having always enjoyed a hands-on approach to most of life’s opportunities, we engaged in our journey toward establishing a vineyard. Bennett Vineyards and Wine Company, LLC was born. Our beautiful estate features a pond and Bear Creek, which runs diagonally through the property. A site study determined the prime areas to plant our 20-acre vineyard. We decided to stick with Pinot Noir exclusively to start with, wanting to focus on making a great red wine styled after France’s great burgundy wines. More research led us to plant three popular Pinot Noir clones – Pommard, 115 and 777. These clones can be used individually or blended to create a classic Pinot Noir wine.
We always planned to do much of the work ourselves. This meant that Gene had not only to select and acquire the vines, but also to master tractor handling, plowing and other farming skills. Of course this meant that we had to buy a tractor, tiller, flail mower and other “grape planting and growing” accoutrements. How exciting for Gene…getting more guy stuff to add to his already excessive collection.
The farm has also given Lisa a chance to indulge in her love of animals. Our two Labradors, Finn and Bo, enjoy running throughout the vineyard, splashing in the pond and chasing the numerous chickens that roam the property when they aren’t laying eggs of many colors and sizes. Rounding out our menageries are Mallard ducks, farm cats and native birds who keep watch over vineyard activities.
After years of careful nurturing each vine, enduring long days of planting, staking, weeding, pruning, tending vines and tackling predators, we are enjoying the “fruits of our labor”. Our 2012 and 2013 harvests produced sweet, delicate grapes with “textbook” Pinot Noir qualities according to results of several tests, perfect for making beautiful wine.
We look forward to sharing our wine with you.
Gene and Lisa
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