Where over 3,000 grape vines are now planted once stood a Christmas Tree farm. Paul and Lori Gates purchased the property in 1996 with a vision, their eyes set on the ideal spot for growing wine grapes. They cleared four of the estate’s seven acres and planted them to four different clones of Pinot Noir. Located on Iowa Hill in the Chehalem AVA at a 900 ft. in elevation, Gresser Vineyard is now planted in the Burgundian style, close to the ground, to capture the night’s escaping heat. Paul sees the value in paying close attention to his vines to produce the highest quality fruit and does so by being personally connected with his vineyard. In fact, he walks the vineyard regularly with a backpack sprayer to ensure he sees and can respond to every single vine.
Producing the estate’s handcrafted wine has become a labor of love for the entire family. While Paul is the primary winemaker and vineyard manager, the whole family is involved in the production and management of the vineyard and label.
Gresser wines are truly value wines. You can consider them everyday wines, with an average price of $20 a bottle. In 2009, the Gates produced 700 cases, and as their label grows, the family is considering purchasing fruit to complement the grapes grown on the estate.
The 2008 Pinot Noir Red Label, priced at just $19 is completely estate-grown, elegant and thin, like a French woman dressed in sensual French perfume. The aromatics were captivating, with raspberry, cranberry, soft oak and chocolate covered cherries. The 2009 Pinot Noir Red Label ($19) showed more oak on the nose, with more tobacco notes and brown spice and the 2009 Pinot Noir White Label showed big red fruit flavors, finishing like a cherry cordial, sweet, long lasting and truly satisfying.
New Year’s Resolutions
Paul is a man with a past. He grew up in California's wine country, and has worked for a number of prestigious wineries, from local producers Shafer and Montinore, to the heavy hitter, Korbel, where he developed a taste for the bubbles. And though he hopes to produce a sparkling wine by next harvest, the Gates have also set their vision on building a gravity flow winery into the hillside of the estate in the next year or so. In the meantime, however, you can taste their wines at 1910 Main in Forest Grove, in co-operation with four other wineries and owned by the 1910 Main - An American Bistro conveniently located right next door.