Our Bacchanalian dreams started in Napa when we planted 52 Cabernet Sauvignon “hobby” vines up our east hills driveway. The purchase of an old farm in Carlton Oregon’s wine county in 1998 and a lot of blood, sweat and tears later, we announced the release of our first vintage – 189 cases of lovingly hand crafted 2003 Pinot Noir wine. Now, 18 years later, we welcome our daughter Rebecca and her new Airedale "Fizzy".
For those of you who have listened to our tales of land clearing woes, shared the euphoria of seeing our first plants go into the ground, patiently listened to us extol the virtues of newly learned vineyard practices and shared progressive vintages with us, we humbly thank you. For those of you just joining our venture, welcome and we hope that you find both the wine that we are producing and the vine to wine experiences we are sharing as exciting as we do!
--Ron, Linda & Rebecca Moore
Establishing our Monks Gate vineyard
We left Napa on a warm, clear blue sky day in October of 1998, arriving in Carlton, Oregon to overcast skies and a slight drizzle. The 10 degree temperature difference and the “bit” more rain that we had been tracking for three years while we made our decision to move north was suddenly a chilly, wet reality.
We were, however, the proud owners of 50 acres of over- grown Christmas trees, scrub oak and 18’ high blackberry bushes. A wonderful old barn, or what was left of it, with birdhouses lining each side of the peaked roof and an equally antiquated farm house that had never seen heat not produced by a wood burning stove completed this vision that only a new owner could look on with pride.
Ron and Linda
1999 was a very long year of land clearing and, when we weren’t too tired to dream, of envisioning what the slopes we were slowing uncovering would look like with grape vines marching smartly across them.
Winter rains caught us before we were ready to plant so our first delivery of 3,400 plants had to be put to bed for the winter in a make shift nursery in the machine shop.
Spring 2000 found us with red Willakenzie soil caked on our shoes and under our fingernails but our first vines where going in the ground. Our planting foreman, rolling his eyes all the while, let us plant the first vine then kindly moved us out of harm’s way and planting began in earnest. A crew of 8 men with clam shell post hole diggers hand dug all 3,400 holes. They were followed by a crew of seven men and women -- planting, tamping, staking and putting sleeves on each tender vine
2001, 2002 & 2003 were a succession of planting, trellising, nurturing AND OUR FIRST COMMERCIAL HARVEST. More planting, trellising, nurturing and, of course, swelling with pride as each new block of vines went into the ground. Each year found the vines reaching out of their grow tubes for training wires, next into catch wires and finally topping the trellis system and needing to be hedged.
Summer and fall of 2004 was round two of land clearing. We had approximately 20 acres of abandoned Christmas trees that had been planted on five by five spacing and were now 30 feet high with six to eight inch diameters. We contracted to have the trees removed but were left with 36,000 (yes 36 thousand!) stumps. With a rented excavator and several months of very long days, we finished digging the stumps just in time to get the winter cover crop down before the rains began.
2006 was our final year of planting. Three more acres of Pinot Noir and two acres of Riesling rounded out our now 20 acre vineyard and we were ready to devote all of our attention to sustainable farming and providing outstanding fruit to our contracting wineries and winemakers - including that for our Monks Gate label.