INDEPENDENCE, Ore. – The idea of owning a vineyard wasn’t even a twinkle in Steve and Charlene Dunn’s eyes until they moved to the country six years ago and planted a few grapes.
Calling it a hobby that got out of control, their 4-acre vineyard now produces Pinot Gris, Rose’ or Pinot Noir, a White Pinot Noir, a Merlot and a-soon-to-be Syrah. Guests can sip wine and watch the sun go down behind the grape vines from the tasting room or the open and protected outside seating areas. In addition to scheduled weddings, picnics and reunions, in the summer its food and live music on Friday nights.
Both Charlene, who retired from state government, and Steve who retired from construction, were born and raised in the Willamette Valley.
“We were just going to enjoy retirement – live in our trailer and build our house – and then we started planting grapes,” Steve said of the vineyard’s somewhat inauspicious beginning. Now six years later, here we are with a working vineyard, a tasting room, event space, and a nearly finished 36 by 84-foot custom crush facility to replace the little one started with.”
Though he loves working in the vineyard, Dunn’s building projects only materialize as he sees the need. Glass panels line the open patio for windbreaks. The covered area includes glass garage doors that easily lower for year-round warmth and he built the tables and chairs so they would easily adapt to the many scheduled events including his own wine club membership party he holds every three months. The reason for the red gate was to add a splash of color.
Though dedicated to the vineyard, the Dunns regularly take time off for themselves.
“We love to travel, bike and kayak on our days off, but the new and old friends that pass through the tasting room doors have really become the highlight of our daily lives,” Steve said. “We feel privileged to live where we live and share our good fortune with friends and travelers alike.”
Redgate Vineyard is located just south of Independence, Oregon, a couple of miles into the heart of the Willamette Valley. For more information, visit www.redgatevineyard.com.
– Jan Jackson©2014
Photo by Jan Jackson