The Tasting Panel magazine

March 2016

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Page 79 of 116

march 2016  /  the tasting panel  /  79 W e are seated in the restaurant at King Estate Winery, across from a large stone fireplace and a cozy fire that crackles and glows with as much intensity as our conversation. Dappled early autumn sunlight streams in through an adja- cent window. "You have a better chance of getting somewhere if you have a destination in mind," muses our host and proprietor, Ed King. We are chatting about the upcoming anniversary of the winery—25 years is a milestone for any business—but one has the sense in talking with Ed that he's had a very clear vision for the property and the wines he and his team craft from the start. He'd already been dabbling in viticulture when he happened upon the idyllic site that is now home to the winery. The property boasts 465 acres under vine along with another 26 acres devoted to organically farmed orchards and gardens that supply the onsite restaurant year-round. "I had one or two small vineyards," Ed admits. His initial search to find land suitable for growing hay for his horses in remote Lorane Valley quickly turned into an ambitious quest to build a globally recog- nized Oregon wine brand. King Estate was founded in 1991 by Ed and his father, Ed King Jr., and the winery was fully opera- tional by 1992. "It was a crash program to get set up for winemaking and get a license ahead of the fruit hitting the crush pad." Lorane Valley was and still is isolated from where most of Oregon's winemaking action takes place. Located at the edge of the southernmost border of the Willamette Valley AVA, King Estate is a 30-minute drive from Eugene along a series of wind- ing roads, the last of which is single-lane highway that snakes through the pristine, densely forested Oregon Coast Range foothills. The winery materializes as if from nowhere, surrounded by a patchwork quilt of sleepy neighboring farms, groves of native oak and evergreen trees and modest rural houses. Vineyards lie cradled within a narrow val- ley that runs north-south, nestled between the hunkered spines of the Coast Range to the west and the Cascade Mountain Range to the east. Pinot Noir is well-suited to the bands of deep, well-drained Bellpine and rust-colored Jory soils that run through the King Estate proprietor Ed King with his wife, Jodee. Organic cabbage grown on King Estate's 26 acres devoted to organically farmed orchards and gardens that supply the onsite restaurant year-round.

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