The handcrafted, artisanal Pinot Noir wines from Bennett Vineyards and Wine Company are grown exclusively in our vineyard, lovingly tended by proprietors Gene and Lisa Bennett. Located in Oregon’s South Willamette Valley, the unique microclimate of the region provides ideal conditions for growing the delicate pinot noir grape. The grapes are hand harvested and processed within hours of being picked, ensuring the purity and quality from vine to bottle. Three popular Pinot Noir clones are grown in our 20 acre vineyard, Pommard, 115 and 777, and can be either blended or used individually to ensure that Bennett Vineyard’s Pinot Noir wines are the perfect blend of sweet, acid, fruit and earthiness. The result is an international quality wine comparable to the great Red Burgundies of France, trademark of the Willamette Valley.
Our Oregon wine adventure followed Gene’s long and exciting career in the Global Construction Industry. After careful consideration we decided to leave our home in San Diego and begin our encore careers in beautiful Cheshire, Oregon. Why a vineyard? Because wine is special to us. Throughout our lives we have toasted our many anniversaries; the graduations, marriages and birthdays of our children; and the birth of our grandchildren. Wine has always been with us throughout our wonderful journey together.
What we lacked in vineyard and winemaking experience we have more than made up for with enthusiasm, research, advice from our wine expert neighbors and a lot of hard work. Following research of grape types we decided on the beauty and fragility of the Pinot Noir variety. Then we began a lengthy search for an appropriate piece of land. We hired a vineyard consultant to evaluate several possible selections. Upon his advice and affirmation, we purchased our 85 acre farm in the Cheshire area of the South Willamette Valley, Oregon.
Having always enjoyed a hands-on approach to most of life’s opportunities, we engaged in our journey toward establishing a vineyard. Bennett Vineyards & Wine Company, LLC was born. Our beautiful estate features a pond and Bear Creek which runs diagonally through the property. A site study determined the prime areas to plant our 20 acre vineyard. We decided to stick with Pinot Noir exclusively to start with, wanting to focus on making a great red wine styled after France’s great red burgundy wines.
We always planned to do much of the work ourselves. That meant that Gene had not only to select and acquire the vines, but also to master tractor handling, plowing and other farming skills. Of course this meant that we had to buy a tractor, tiller, flail mower and other “grape planting and growing” accoutrements.
The farm also gave Lisa a chance to indulge in her love of animals. Our two Labradors, Finn and Bo, enjoy running throughout the vineyard, splashing by the pond and chasing the 14 chickens that roam the property when they aren’t laying eggs of many colors and sizes. Raised from ducklings, our two Rouen ducks Schroeder and Patty, enjoy their daily journeys from coup to vine and back. From our kitchen window we enjoy watching the many varieties of birds native to Oregon feed from the many well stocked bird feeders.
After several years of carefully nurturing our vines – long days of planting, staking, weeding, pruning and tackling predators – we are enjoying the “fruits of our labor”. The 2011 harvest was a learning experience and our Inaugural 2011 Vintage Pinot Noir has been bottled and is waiting its time to be poured. Our 2012 harvest produced sweet, delicate grapes with “textbook” Pinot Noir qualities according to results of several tests, perfect for making beautiful wine.
We look forward to sharing our wonderful Bennett wines with you.
Gene and Lisa