History of Hirschy Vineyard

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History in the Vineyards, A Genesis Tour of Ken Wright Cellars Single Vineyard Pinot Noir Sites & Sources By Jim Gullo Vineyard Focus: Hirschy Vineyard Purchase Wine  *Hirschy is currently only available as 2016 Futures We Require a Minimum of a … Continue reading

2014 Company Pruning Day

It’s that time of year again. The vineyards are busy with workers pruning and preparing for this year’s growing season. The KWC staff is not exempt from this hard work. On March 21st all KWC employees met at the Savoya vineyard to prune the company block. After a hearty meal, a few sips of bourbon and a quick tutorial from vineyard managers Mark Gould, Taylor Varuska and Seth Miller the company set out with clippers in hand. The company spent the sunny afternoon making thoughtful cuts, pulling old brush from the trellis system and then tipping and tying the new cane to the wire.

2013 Company Pruning Day

On a crisp and foggy January morning in Yamhill and Carlton, the Ken Wright Cellars
staff is up early sporting their Carhart jackets, boots, hats, and pruning clippers. They
are gathered at the company block at the Savoya vineyard above Yamhill for the annual company pruning day. Ken Wright and the company staff realize the importance of understanding all components of the wine industry and that includes quality vineyard management. In addition to the learning component, it is also an opportunity for the company to come together and celebrate what the new year has in store for KWC!

 



 

 

Ken’s Journal: FFA/Ag program at Yamhill Carlton High School

Yamhill Carlton High School
Photo credit: www.ci.carlton.or.us

Dear Friends,

We have been fortunate to have an active and engaged FFA/Ag program at Yamhill Carlton High School.  I have been very impressed with the young men and women who are involved in this program.  They look you in the eye, have a firm handshake and are polite and respectful.   The program is far more than the usual image of kids with animals they have raised at the county fair.  I’ve had the pleasure of judging speech contests and employment interview contests.  Ivory Duyn, who has worked with us since the age of 14, went to the nationals with her Ag Marketing Development project as a senior.

The Ag classes taught at the high school have been based on the traditional farming that has been done in the region.  The curriculum included nursery work, animal sciences, greenhouse production, soil science, Ag mechanics and natural resources.

Photo credit: Yamhill-Carlton AVA

Grape farming (viticulture) is relatively new to the region.   David Lett and Charles Coury were the first to plant vines in the area in 1965.  The industry has grown significantly since that humble start.  Yamhill County now boasts over 300 vineyards (three times that of any other Oregon county) and 6,500 acres planted (twice that of any other Oregon county).  We are real now and it looks like we are here to stay.

This last year I began to formulate a way that our industry could provide a significant giveback to the local Ag/FFA kids in our community.   It began with a meeting of the Yamhill Carlton Winegrowers board which includes yours truly.  I spoke with the board members about our growing economic impact in Yamhill County and of opportunities for the youth in our community to potentially benefit from that.  I asked for their blessing to pursue the creation of a viticulture curriculum at the high school and the establishment of a working vineyard on the school property historically farmed for grain.

Next up was a call to my friend Cheryl Roberts, president of Chemeketa Community College.  Chemeketa has an existing wine and grape program that I hoped to tie in neatly with the high school.  Cheryl generously provided the help of her curriculum writers Trish Conlon and Johnny Mack to help make sure any high school program developed would seamlessly transition to theirs including earning community college credits for participation in the FFA program while in high school.

With the Chemeketa support I contacted the school principal, Jim Orth,and the FFA coordinator, Nichole Eskelson and laid out our plans for establishment of the curriculum and “land lab”.   They were more than excited.  They both immediately grasped the new opportunities available to their students.  It was a new path previously unavailable to these students and it might mean the difference in keeping our youth in the area.

The entire group met several times and I had terrific support from fellow growers Carla Chambers,  John Hirschy and Joel Kiff in moving the process forward.  Once curriculum was developed we approached the school board and asked for their approval.  The support from the school board was unanimous and heartening.

Fundraising efforts for the first vineyard acre are underway. The FFA program expects to plant its first acre of vineyard in 2013. The Yamhill Carlton AVA raised the first $1980 of the $20,000 budget for the first acre via a raffle at its spring consumer tasting. AVA members have made cash contributions and committed to making additional contributions in cash and in kind. All contributions are deeply appreciated.  Yamhill Carlton will be the first high school to have a viticulture curriculum and accompanying vineyard in the State of Oregon.   Pretty awesome.

Best, Ken