Capital Press | Special Sections Capital Press Tue, 1 Dec 2015 13:05:25 -0500 en Capital Press | Special Sections Willamette Valley Ag Expo promises to be best yet Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:11:37 -0500 Geoff Parks ALBANY, Ore. — Filled-up floor space, dynamic new exhibitors, the return of free forklift training and the exploding popularity of Dine Around Oregon are highlights of the 14th annual edition of the Willamette Valley Ag Expo.

The Expo’s doors will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 17; 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19.

Admission is $4 per day, and parking is free on-site at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road, Albany, Ore.

The Expo is presented each year by the Willamette Valley Ag Association, which is a nonprofit educational and trade organization whose members are either exhibitors or sponsors of the event.

Proceeds from the Expo go toward the association’s college scholarships, which go to students majoring in ag-related subjects.

Association Manager Jill Ingalls and her husband, Expo Producer Scott Ingalls, work tirelessly each year to make the huge event a success.

The popularity of the Expo among exhibitors has put floor space at a premium this year.

Other features are seeing increased interest as well.

Back by popular demand, Overton Training will provide free forklift training.

“Thanks to their generous contribution, we are able to make forklift certification training free to the first 75 that sign up,” Jill Ingalls said.

“The Willamette Valley Ag Expo board is pleased that this is one more way they assist this industry through education and training,” she said.

The Expo will also feature several new exhibitors this year, including the Oregon Cattlemen’s Association.

“We’re delighted to have them as new exhibitors,” she said.

Kayli Hanley, communications director of the cattlemen’s association, said this is the OCA’s first year participating in the Expo.

“We are excited to not only have a booth presence, but to also help sponsor the beef for the Dine Around Oregon dinner,” she said.

Summing up all the hard work, planning and considerations that have gone into this year’s Expo, Ingalls said: “This (new OCA connection) is a great example of how we should all be working hand-in-hand to promote our members — and, certainly, our food growers in Oregon.”

The Expo is open to visitors of all ages, and current FFA and 4-H participants “are strongly encouraged to attend,” Ingalls said.

Willamette Valley Ag Expo at a glance Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:06:20 -0500 Willamette Valley Ag Expo.

Linn County Fair and Expo Center

Albany, Ore.

Nov. 17, 18 and 19

• Tuesday 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

• Wednesday 10 a.m.-9 p.m.

• Thursday 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

• Admission $4 (price includes $2 discount on the featured lunch)

• Free parking

Board of directors

The nine-member board of directors is nominated by the members and serve a minimum of a three-year term. Board members are elected at the annual meeting, which typically takes place on the final morning of the Expo during the exhibitor breakfast meeting.

Current board members are:

• Bill Lusk, Chair, Ag West Supply

• Eric Fery, Vice Chair, Ag Chains Plus

• Don Kropf, Linn-Benton Tractor

• Tom Wells, Pape Machinery

• Mike Brown, DeJong Products

• Steve Prouty, NW 94 Sales

• Stacy Bostrom, Citizens Bank

• Andy Steinkamp, Wilco

• Terry Marstall, Les Schwab Tires

Expo managers

The Willamette Valley Ag Association contracts with Ingalls & Associates LLC to provide association management services and event production.

Event Producer

Scott Ingalls

Ingalls & Associates

Association Manager

Jill Ingalls


Phone: 800-208-2168

Fax: 866-509-3212


Dine Around Oregon a delicious adventure Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:05:57 -0500 Geoff Parks The wildly successful Dine Around Oregon dinner event at the Willamette Valley Ag Expo returns for a fourth year to offer something different and tasty for everyone.

“It’s kind of like a progressive dinner,” explained Jill Ingalls, WVAE manager. “Attendees can start anywhere and move freely through the offerings — menu items created from pork in the Cascade Building, lamb in the Santiam Building, beef in the Willamette Building and cheese, soups and appetizers in the Calapooia.”

All of the products are Oregon-sourced, she said. Lamb comes from Reed Anderson Ranches and is prepared by Pat Manning of Manning Farms, the Oregon Dairy Women provide the cheese, and the rest is purchased or donated from local growers and ranchers. The Oregon Cattlemen’s Association will help sponsor the beef.

Beverages are another highlight, featuring sampling from 4 Spirits Distillery — and various Oregon wines and beers. Desserts are also a top draw.

Catering by Valley Catering of Adair Village pulls it all together, Ingalls said. “(Valley Catering owner) Mary Bentley is like a magician. She takes all these ingredients and seemingly with a wave of her hand turns them into a masterpiece, then brings out a staff that is simply stellar.”

Students from the Scio FFA Chapter assist that staff in taking tickets and hosting attendees through the four different dining stations.

Gary and Teresa Pullen, owners of Spring Acres Cranberries in Bandon, are providing the fresh cranberries to the event. They and their son-in-law are the only employees of the 40-acre operation, and an Oct. 1 harvest time had them hopping to flood, float and gather the tart, juicy berries. It’s a labor-intensive operation, Gary Pullen said.

“We typically wet harvest and sell our tonnage to an independent handler, who brokers them out,” Pullen said. “But we will dry pick with a 100-year-old hand scoop to bring berries to the WVAE.”

He said the hand implement has been in the family and used by four generations of Pullens to harvest small quantities of cranberries, which are destined for dinner and desserts at the Expo.

“We used to just attend the WVAE as guests and for the ag show,” Pullen said. “But we decided to volunteer to give them some unprocessed fresh fruit, picked just a day before the (Dine Around Oregon) event.”

Dine Around Oregon runs from 5 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 18. A total of 500 tickets are available while quantities last at

“Thanks to sponsors and all the amazing food providers we can keep the cost of tickets to under $12,” Ingalls said.

Volunteers help Expo become a reality each year Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:04:35 -0500 Geoff Parks If the exhibitors, sponsors and staff of the Willamette Valley Ag Expo are the lifeblood of the annual event, then the volunteers are most certainly its heart.

WVAE producer Scott Ingalls says a core group of volunteers and a reliable stable of newer participants make the transition from planning to implementation of the big event a smooth one each year.

“Our building supers and fork operators have all been working on this event for years, some from the very start,” Ingalls said. “They all know the expectations and needs of the vendors from first-hand experience. All of them have full-time jobs, from which they take time off to come work on this event.

“And our vendors like seeing the same faces when they come to set up and know things will go well because of it,” he said.

Randy Smith of RGS Auto & Marine in Albany has for all 14 years of the Expo been one of the scores of volunteers that help make the show happen each year. Smith, 59, is a superintendent at the Expo Hall for the three days, but takes an active hand in “setting everything up, moving everything in and out” and being in charge of the security of the building.

“The Ag Expo is a great thing,” Smith said. “Most of the work is done with lift trucks because of all the heavy equipment. The Expo Hall is basically an empty building when we start and every booth gets carpeted and taped down to the floor, then the pipes and drapes get put up and everything gets moved in.

“Afterwards, it’s all moved back out and cleaned up.”

Lonny Wunder, 58, of Albany, who works full-time as the manager of the Benton County Fair, is one of those lift-truck operators. He is also a certified lift-truck instructor, and is in his fifth year of volunteering for the Expo.

He puts in more than 30 hours over the Expo’s three days, “doing anything they tell me to do” with the forklift. That includes hauling materials in and out of the buildings and placing them correctly and securely.

“I’m not the boss at what I do; I just do what they want,” Wunder said. “I like doing this.”

He added that he began building farm equipment when he was 18 and said he “just loves the passion that ag folks have for the industry.”

Both he and Smith are eager and ready for the phone call each year asking them to come out and put in three days of hard work at the Expo.

“Every year, they call me up and say, ‘Are you coming back, please?’” Smith said.

Antique equipment a popular attraction Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:03:41 -0500 Geoff Parks The Annual Antique Farm Equipment Display is feeling the squeeze of success at the Willamette Valley Ag Expo.

As the Expo continues to grow, space for the antique display is at a premium.

“In a nutshell,” Scott Ingalls told a September meeting of the Expo’s antique display committee, “in the north end (of the Cascade Livestock Pavilion) where you put a few tractors in the front, I’m pushing you out. The front is completely full, sold out to the rafters.”

He said this year the farm equipment display will occupy the middle of the building and extend to the south.

The display typically offers nearly 100 pieces of equipment.

This year’s display harkens back to earlier shows, in which the diversity of the collections are allowed to shine. Some of the machines this year represent a part of Jack Muirhede’s collection of Farmall equipment.

This year, he said, he is bringing a 1954 Super W 6 Farmall tractor that he has owned for about eight years and into which he has put about 800 hours of restoration work. He said he also will bring a Farmall A and two Farmall H tractors to the Expo.

To illustrate just how much time, energy and creativity members of the Antique Farm Equipment Display put into the restoration efforts necessary to bring the vehicles back to life, Muirhede describes the metamorphosis of his Farmall Super W 6 tractor.

“My son (Jack Muirhede III) found it in an apple orchard with a tree growing up through it and full of bullet holes,” Muirhede said. He patched the holes with body filler, then “welded and pounded on them” to make them disappear. He left one open and painted over it just to show the tractor’s history.

He “freed up” the frozen engine, overhauled it in the frame, and reconditioned the exterior, repainting it in Farmall red in his custom-built home paint shop, making it show-ready.

He will join nearly 100 other such renaissance men and women all three days of the Antique Farm Equipment Display at the Expo — Nov. 17, 18 and 19 — in the Cascade Livestock Pavilion at the Linn County Fair & Expo Center in Albany.

FAQs Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:02:59 -0500 The Willamette Valley Ag Expo is easy to find. It is east of Exit 234 off Interstate 5 at Albany. The address is Linn County Fair and Expo Center, 3700 Knox Butte Road, Albany, Ore.

Which classes are offered?

To view which classes are offered, please take a look at our class and seminar schedule, which is on Page 9.

Is there meal service on site?

Yes, it is located in two main buildings. Concessions are open during the Expo hours. The featured lunch special is served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Calapooia building on the upper deck. Enjoy a $2 off coupon on this meal provided on the back of your admission ticket. The menu includes chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes and salads.

Do I have to pay to get in?

Yes, admission is $4 per day, and parking is free.

Is there anything for my family to do?

Yes, several exhibitors feature products of interest, plus the Oregon Women for Agriculture will be hosting an educational area in the lobby with refreshments. Nearby Albany also boasts a long list of dining and entertainment options, plus shopping, museums and historic districts. Click on for more information.

Board brings enthusiasm that results in outstanding event Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:01:59 -0500 Geoff Parks The Willamette Valley Ag Expo’s nine-member board of directors makes the annual three-day agricultural show happen, and during the past 14 years they have proven their mettle by offering an event with more new and exciting features every year.

The board is nominated by the WVAE membership, and each member serves a minimum of a three-year term. They are elected at the annual meeting of the organization, which usually takes place on the final morning of the Expo during the exhibitor breakfast.

Current members include:

• Bill Lusk, Ag West Supply product specialist (chair). “I started serving on the WVAE board from the beginning, trying to help organize and maintain a good ag show in our local area.”

• Eric Fery, owner, Ag Chains Plus (vice chair). “I’ve always been involved in the local community, from being a volunteer firefighter to serving on area school boards. When I was asked to serve on the board (of the Expo), it was an easy decision, a way to be even more involved with WVAE ... to see the show succeed and serve the ag industry.”

•Don Kropf, president and owner, Linn Benton Tractor. “I strive daily to contribute to agriculture and the agricultural way of life by providing dependable products and service. I’m proud to be a member of this board and continue serving the community I have helped grow.”

• Tom Wells, territory manager and integrated solutions consultant, Papé Machinery-Agriculture and Turf. “I started moving irrigation pipe at the age of 8 and have been involved in agriculture all my life. I became involved with founding the Expo, wanting to have a local show to showcase Willamette Valley agriculture and the equipment used to produce our crops, while supporting young people pursuing careers in ag through scholarships.”

• Mike Brown, owner, DeJong Products Inc. “I’ve been a board member for WVAE since the forming of the governing body that guides the show. It’s with pride I can promote and guide the show and showcase ag and the Willamette Valley.”

• Steve Prouty, owner and president, McNeil Marketing Co. “I’ve been on the board since 2013 and understand the importance of the event. Being a nonprofit, all energies and profits from the show go back to the show and to the scholarship program. WVAE is a great source for ag knowledge and allows growers from all corners of the Pacific Northwest to stay tuned in to all ag-related issues.”

• Stacy Koos, vice president and branch manager, Citizens Bank. “Citizens Bank has a long tradition of serving the agriculture community since its founding in 1957. Being part of the WVAE board is just one way we continue to show support for the ag community.”

• Andy Steinkamp, location manager, Wilco-Winfield. “I enjoy serving the growers and vendors of the Willamette Valley as a member of the WVAE board. I think giving the growers a chance to see new solutions for their farms from vendors in our local area is very important.”

• Terry Marstall, sales and service, Les Schwab Tire Center. “I started assisting our ag customers in the Willamette Valley in 1994. I take my years of experience, dedication and enthusiasm in and out of the field to promote the WVAE. My motto has always been: Stay positive, work hard and we will always get the job done.”

Peterson Cat to spotlight Claas Lexion combines Mon, 16 Nov 2015 09:01:46 -0500 Geoff Parks Peterson Cat company of Albany is one of the company’s 18 locations in Oregon, Northern California and Washington state offering sales and service of agricultural and construction equipment.

Among the many types of equipment offered through Peterson are Claas Lexion combines, the European market leader in harvesters. They will be featured at the Peterson exhibit at Willamette Valley Ag Expo.

Machinery sales specialist Josh Kennedy said flatly that the Claas Lexion combines “can do more with less.”

“Oregon is unlike any other part of the country, where we have a short window to do anything in the field,” he said. “That usually means more equipment to cover more acreage.” But not with the Lexion series, he said.

Kennedy explained that the Lexion brand comes in a 600 series, which are straw walker or rotary machines, and the 700 series, which are hybrid machines. Peterson Cat currently has in stock four Lexion 670 combines and four Lexion 760 combines.

Straw walker combines retail for about $280,000 base, while larger combines go for upwards of $400,000, depending on the header and other specs. In Oregon, combines are mainly used to harvest grass seed or wheat.

Some of the unique features of the line include:

• Claas Contour — automatic vertical response to changing terrain via combine ground-pressure sensors — is standard on all Lexion combines.

• Improved header drive. The drive delivers maximum power to the header as increasing volumes of material are passed through the feeder house.

• Integration of the Claas patented Accelerated Pre-Separation (APS) threshing system with Roto Plus separation into one combine.

• Integration of the APS and the Multi-Finger Separation System to provide greater separation performance without compromising straw quality.

Grazing management key for sprawling ranch Fri, 13 Nov 2015 11:17:04 -0500 Hear Smith Thomas BAKER, Idaho — The Eagle Valley Ranch was created by merging several large ranches near Baker, where western Montana was carved out of Idaho.

In 2003, Nikos Monoyios and his wife, Valerie Brackett, got into ranching in a big way. They bought the Swahlen ranch on the upper end of Bohannon Creek, with 4,000 deeded acres and 6,000 acres of Bureau of Land Management leases.

Over the next three years they purchased three adjoining properties at the lower end of the ranch.

“That gave us about 5,900 acres of deeded land and 12,000 acres of BLM leases,” Monoyios, a native of Greece, said.

“We have been fortunate to have Mike Kossler as manager, and several other loyal long-term employees who have worked hard to make this into a first-class cattle operation. In the past 12 years, we’ve made improvements in the cattle herd, grazing management and facilities,” he said.

The employees are an important part of the team.

“They are the key to our success. My wife and I had no experience or knowledge of the cattle business. We relied on hiring the best people to do the job,” Monoyios said.

Eagle Valley runs 600 to 700 cow-calf pairs.

“When we bought the ranch it was a mixed herd of mostly older cows, with average age of about 10 to 11 years. We had to buy replacement cows for several years and gradually evolved to a black Angus operation,” he said. “We now keep our own replacement heifers. Average age in the cow herd has come down to about 5 years old and quality has improved.”

This year for the first time they started breeding replacement heifers by artificial insemination.

“We heat-synchronized them,” Kossler said. “We’ll see how well we like it when the calves all come at once next spring.”

They have also made progress in grazing management and the facilities, Monoyios said.

“Early on we hired Jim Gerrish as a consultant; he helped design an intensive grazing system,” he said. “We divided pastures into segments with fixed and movable electric fences, and installed water troughs. We trained all our employees to measure grass and keep track of growth rates — and move the cows every few days.

“This has greatly improved productivity and quality of our pastures,” Monoyios said.

The ranch has also hosted grazing schools.

“We are helping other people learn about grazing management,” he said.

“We are doing some things they may have only heard about,” Kossler said. “They can see how we set up water tanks, what we do to move wire fences. We also rotate pastures on some of our own rangeland.”

This take place year-round — changing pastures and moving wire even in winter, to get the best utilization of pastures while still giving them a rest so they will grow back with vigor, he said.

“Another change from the previous management is how we utilize our BLM,” Monoyios said. “The previous owners put cow-calf pairs on BLM leases during summer. We keep our cow-calf pairs on private ground (mainly on irrigated fields). After weaning we put dry cows out on BLM in late fall.”

This gives the BLM ground a chance to recover, and has helped because the calves stay on irrigated ground and gain better during summer, he explained.

The cows calve in March and April.

“But we are able to sell 640-650 pound calves by fall, with the average close to 600 pounds,” Kossler said. “They can’t grow that fast on the BLM. We use our best irrigated feed for cows and calves. We have calves as large as the guys who calve in January, without all that labor calving in cold weather.”

Eagle Valley Ranch is also a good steward of the land and has done several projects in connection with state Department of Fish and Game and other agencies to improve habitat for fish.

“We also support a large wildlife population on the ranch,” Kossler said.

“We try to balance their impact with our needs for the cattle. We have a large elk herd that moves in here late fall. The wildlife are an important part of the ranch and have to be taken into consideration when we figure our overall grass production,” he said. “We support about 250 to 300 deer year round, along with the elk.”

He estimates that by the first of December they’ve had more than 1,000 head of elk in the drainage.

“It’s a huge impact,” Kossler said.

“We’ve been letting some people come in to hunt, for controlled management on the cow elk,” he said. “We are not trying to take all the elk out, but we want them managed and try to push them out to their winter range rather than having them stay in our fields.”

Vineyards need to be ‘tucked in’ for winter Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:31:16 -0500 Brenna Wiegand It’s all about the vines, Willamette Valley vineyard operators say.

“To ensure a great spring in the vineyard it’s important to have good vine health through the growing season,” Pete Paradis of Paradis Vineyard in Silverton, Ore., said. “This year water has been a critical issue and we have utilized our drip irrigation system more than ever before.”

Next is vine nutrition. The soil is monitored annually and a nutrient balance is achieved by adding recommended amounts of custom-blended fertilizer. Vine petiole analysis is commonly done to determine the vine’s nutrient uptake.

“Third and likely the most important thing is using fungicides to protect the vines from ever-persistent disease pressure,” Paradis said.

“In the vineyard industry there’s not a lot of getting winter prepared,” Chris Deckelman, of Meridian Estate Vineyard & Vitis Ridge Winery in Silverton, said. Including his own 100, Deckelman manages 250-280 acres of wine grapes in the Silverton area.

“When you’re all through picking — it can be the end of October some years — you wait until the plants go completely dormant, normally around Dec. 1-15, and then you start pruning and training again. It’s a labor thing, too; you’re trying to keep your labor force active 12 months of the year.”

For Phil Kramer of Alexeli Vineyard & Winery, the additional task of making wine means no off season.

“Right when I’m done making wine, I need to bottle the vintage from a year ago,” he said. “As soon as I’m done bottling I have to prune the vineyard and then finish the wine from the current vintage.”

After that the growing season’s on its way and Kramer’s running the tasting room and continually distributing his wine. “You can’t leave home in the summer because you have to spray every two weeks and I have labor doing work. ... It’s at least 10 hours a day generally and there are a lot of long days.”

The vines have done their work, too.

“After harvest the vines are tired; you would be too if you had to do what they do,” Paradis said. “We like to say they go to sleep after a cold spell in November. They have worked hard and we have taken care of them well. It’s time to rest.

“If we have done our job well they will rest well, allow us to trim their branches and arise renewed and ready for the next year.”

Last year Adelsheim Winery of Newberg, Ore., began leasing Pete and Donna Paradis’ entire 60-acre vineyard. Though their son Pierre still acts as field manager, he’s been focusing more on his off-site equipment contracting, Rainbow Valley Enterprises.

Timing important when purchasing equipment Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:37:02 -0500 LACEY JARRELL Farmers and ranchers should consider whether they want year-end tax breaks or new-year low interest rates before purchasing equipment.

“Year-end, of course, we see an influx of purchases simply because of tax implications. Then we’ll see a flurry about February or March,” said Carl Laux, sales manager at the Pape John Deere Dealer in Tangent, Ore.

According to Jeff Rossow, president of Mid-Valley Tractor in Eugene, Ore., March and April are the most popular time to buy mowers and compact 50 horsepower tractors.

Rossow noted that those months are when most people begin prepping for spring, but it’s also when good financing and rebate deals are available.

“Zero percent for 60 months is a good incentive. There are often discounts on implements if you buy a tractor at the same time,” Rossow said, noting that implements such as mowers, post-hole diggers, rakes and grading scrapers are popular add-ons. “Pretty much anything you want — you just have to match it up to the right size tractor.”

According to Laux, just as important as securing the right financial commitment is making sure the equipment is the right fit for the customer’s needs.

“The number one thing — when purchasing a new piece of agricultural equipment — is to make sure it fits your needs and your operation. Quite often customers purchase too small of a piece or too large of a piece,” Laux said.

He stressed that customers shouldn’t try to immediately return ill-fitting equipment because the return value is always less than what was paid for it.

“It’s like driving a new car off the lot — the value goes down instantly,” Laux said. “You could lose a lot of your equity if you try to trade it in too quickly. Buy the right one the first time.”

Laux said all Pape’s ag division locations in Oregon, Washington and Idaho have special year-end offers on equipment, such as combines, windrowers, utility tractors and row-crop tractors. He said some offers are sponsored in-house, others are from the dealership. Laux suggested farmers and ranchers call their local Pape dealer to find out what they qualify for.

“It’s equipment-specific. It’s based on the age we’ve had it in inventory. A lot of it is used equipment we’re trying to get moved. We’re offering some very attractive low interest rates on that equipment,” Laux said.

Rossow said equipment owners thinking about trading-in should consider waiting until February or March to get the most value.

“Springtime is when equipment is valued higher for trade-in,” he said. “If you trade something in, we have to sit on it through winter, usually.”

According to Rossow, the benefit of trading old equipment in is not having to deal with selling it yourself.

To get the most out of a trade-in, ensure the equipment is clean and has low hours, he added.

Know your business, have a plan Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:35:23 -0500 LACEY JARRELL Long-term interest rates are still at historic lows but experts anticipate they’ll begin creeping up in the coming months.

According to Mitch Stokes, manager of Northwest Farm Credit Services in Klamath Falls, Ore., the agriculture economy generally moves counter-cyclical to the overall economy: When the economy is doing well, agriculture suffers a bit. He said if the economy continues gaining momentum, it could have a counter-cyclical effect on agriculture and lower commodity prices.

Stokes said if the value of what is produced is less than previous years, the ability to secure financing could be impacted, because commodities are a component of working capital. He explained that long-term low commodity prices could affect purchasers’ repayment capacity because there isn’t as much value in goods.

It’s not all bad news, though.

“We’re looking at rates today that we might not see again. It’s a great time to get a loan,” said Bob Boyle, regional vice president for Northwest Farm Credit Services in Salem, Ore.

Stokes said before attempting to secure financing, farmers and ranchers should have a fundamental understanding of their business and a solid business plan that positions them to be successful.

“When we’re working with farmers and ranchers seeking credit, our hope is that they’ve taken the time to really look at their finances — with a vision looking ahead over the next three to five years,” Boyle said.

According to Stokes, a primary concern for loan officers working with prospective buyers is that they haven’t handled what credit they do have responsibly.

“The advice I give first-time buyers is to make sure your personal consumer credit report is clean and tidy. That everything that’s on it is yours and that you’re making any debt payments that you have currently on time, every time,” he said.

Stokes also advises prospective buyers to have a reserve fund, whether it’s savings for a down payment or for a rainy day. He said real estate payments can be as low as 5 percent of the selling price, but having as much cash on hand as possible can make the buying experience smoother.

Prospective home or land buyers should also do their best to limit other debt, he added.

Boyle said farmers who borrow money for seasonal lines of credit have also enjoyed record-low interest rates, but that is also expected to change in the next year or so.

“Everything I’m picking up suggests the Fed will begin to bump those short-term rates sometime before the end of this year,” Boyle said.

The best time to secure operating loans is in fall, at the end of the production cycle, because farmers typically know what goods they have and what they are worth, according to Stokes.

“There are few question marks on his or her financial statement,” he said.

Stokes said Northwest Farm Credit Services typically responds to loan request within 30 days.

Fall is best time to get irrigation gear ready for spring Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:33:28 -0500 LACEY JARRELL Farmers need to make sure irrigation equipment is completely drained to prevent freezing damage when winter temperatures set in.

Howard Neibling, extension irrigation water management engineer for the University of Idaho, explained if water is left in mainlines and wheel lines, it can freeze and break the line.

“Next year when you are trying to run water, and you need to move a lot of water in a hurry, all of a sudden you have mud hole there and you’ve got to shut the system down for several days,” Neibling said.

He said low spots that won’t drain are usually the first to freeze. If a pipe has a low spot, Neibling suggested connecting a riser or anything the water can be pumped out through using a portable pump.

Centrifugal pumps, used to pump water from canals to irrigation lines, also need to have all the water drained from them.

“You don’t want it freezing because freezing water will break a nice cast iron housing on a pump,” Neibling said. “It will just split it wide open.”

Fall is also a good time to inspect hoses that connect mainline to wheel line outlets, according to Neibling.

“It’s a time to look your equipment over and see what could go wrong or cause you problems later in the spring and summer. Anything you can fix should be fixed in the fall,” he said. “The spring gets so crazy — you’re trying to do so many things — you don’t have time to deal with any of these maintenance issues.”

He said worn hoses and worn nozzles, or nozzles that are the wrong size, should be replaced.

“When it’s still working, make a note of what gaskets are leaking and replace those once fall is here,” he said.

According to Neibling, results from testing dozens of wheel lines revealed the average water loss from leaks was about 12 to 14 percent of total system capacity. Worn nozzles or wrong-size nozzles added 12 to 14 percent loss to that.

“That’s 25 percent loss in water just due to those items,” he said.

Equipment owners should also inspect pivots for worn bearing seals and joints that need to be greased. Ensuring joints are greased and seals are secure will help keep water out of the joints, Neibling said.

Oil in center pivots gearboxes needs to be checked and filled to proper levels at the end of the season. Neibling recommends using the oil recommended by pivot manufacturers.

He said pivot tires that look low should be filled or repaired right away.

“You don’t want a flat tire in the hottest part of the season next year,” he said.

Wheel line engines need pre-winter care, too. They can be removed or left on the line. Fuel should be emptied by running the engine until all the fuel runs out, or by siphoning the tank. The oil and the air filter should be replaced if necessary. The engine and other mechanical parts should be covered until the threat of extreme cold and moisture has passed.

Fix it or replace it — what factors to consider Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:32:19 -0500 LACEY JARRELL When purchasing new equipment, investing in an extended warranty can minimize risk and cost down the road.

After the manufacturer’s warranty runs out, repair costs come straight out of pocket, said Rich Schmidt, sales associate at the Brim New Holland dealer in Salem, Ore. But with an extended warranty, repairs often only cost the amount of the deductible.

“These warranties are always available until the manufacturer’s warranty expires. They don’t necessarily have to buy it at purchase time. They can buy it later,” Schmidt said.

Carl Laux, sales manager at the Pape John Deere dealer in Tangent, Ore., recommends purchasing extended warranties for large, medium and small equipment. He also noted that warranty deductibles are usually low — ranging between $250 and $500 per incident — and are only a fraction of some tractor repair costs, which can easily exceed $10,000.

“Repairs are expensive and it doesn’t take long to pay for that extended warranty,” Laux said. “We haven’t had anyone complain about buying an extended warranty. They always thank us because we sold it to them.”

According to Brim New Holland Service Manager Billy Martin, farmers who are considering forgoing repairs and buying another piece of equipment should weigh the cost of repairs against purchase price.

“If you can afford to replace it, you replace it. If you can’t, you fix it,” Martin said. “If it’s just a small part that’s broken, it’s probably cheaper to just repair it.”

Martin said equipment owners need to be diligent about upkeep — he recommends inspecting engines daily, and checking engine and hydraulic oils. He noted that air filters, especially those in equipment working dusty fields, should be cleaned daily as well.

“Everybody just gets in and goes, but they need to take time to check the fluid levels and make sure everything is up and topped off before they get to work with it,” he said.

Jeff Rossow, president of Mid-Valley Tractor in Eugene, Ore., noted that front pivot seals can easily wear out. He recommends equipment owners regularly check them for dirt, wear and leaks.

He advises equipment owners regularly grease loader and axle pivot points so they don’t get rusty and freeze up.

Laux said keeping electronic software upgrades in new equipment up-to-date is the best way to ensure precision technology in tractors and farm equipment is accurate.

“Make sure the latest version of the software is current in those machines because the manufacturers are constantly upgrading and modifying the software,” he said.

Laux said before deciding whether to fix or repair equipment, owners should also review the equipment’s history and compare its net value with what’s been spent on maintenance repair. He said equipment owners should keep a detailed log of repairs and maintenance.

“That’s part of your cost of ownership, and of course, the older it gets, the more repairs it will need,” he said.

“Anything spent on repairs, that’s a tax deduction,” he added. “So there are advantages to repairing, as well.”

Winter requires preparations on the dairy farm Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:29:37 -0500 Brenna Wiegand Alan and Barbara Mann of Abiqua Acres Dairy outside Silverton, Ore., live a stone’s throw from their daughter Darleen Sichley, son-in-law Ben Sichley and their two young boys. The younger couple went into business with Darleen’s parents last year.

They’re also a short walk from the 90 registered Guernseys they milk twice a day. The young stock they raise adds 100 animals.

Working six cows at a time, each milking takes about three hours.

“We do all the milking ourselves, which is pretty rare for dairy farmers,” Alan Mann said. “My wife and I and Darleen and Ben are the entire crew.”

Though their day-to-day lives maintain the same rhythm, the cows’ lives change with the season and that takes planning, provision — and extra work.

“Making sure the barns are ready for them is a big part of what we make time for right now,” Alan Mann said. “Right now there isn’t much to eat out in the pasture, but they still get exercise and get to go out.”

In winter the cows are kept in a free-stall barn where they can roam, eat, drink or lie down at will. The beds are rubber tires embedded in concrete with sawdust on top.

“It’s nice and cozy for them,” his daughter, Darleen Sichley, said, adding that despite there being close to 100 1,200-pound Guernseys at large in the open-air enclosure, there’s plenty of room. Many cows will choose a particular bed for the duration.

The new arrangements mean all of their feed must be delivered twice daily. A nutritionist helps them re-balance the menu to account for the lack of grass.

“The biggest preparation is getting feed for the year stored,” Alan Mann said. “We feed about 600 to 700 tons of cannery waste corn silage, which is in our bunker silo now and we try to get 300 to 350 tons of Eastern Oregon alfalfa hay under a roof before winter weather comes.”

The cows are eating about two 1,000-pound bales of hay a day, the average cow eating 100 pounds in return for about 53 pounds of milk, or about 6 gallons.

“We also increase our insurance coverage once all the feed is stored to avoid a catastrophic loss should a fire start in our hay barn,” he said.

Manure handling becomes a much bigger deal when the cows are confined, and when it gets real cold they need to keep ahead of the pipes so they don’t freeze.

Should the electricity go out a tractor-powered generator means the milking schedule is not disrupted.

“We really appreciate the power company when we see the amount of diesel it takes to get through just one milking,” Barbara Mann said.

Once in a while weather prevents the milk truck from making it to all the farms on the route.

“We are only allowed to hold milk in our own storage tank for 48 hours, so there have been times when we have had to dump milk,” Alan Mann said. “Generally our co-op covers that loss for us if it is through no fault of our own.”

Putting berries to bed key to next year’s crop Thu, 1 Oct 2015 09:27:27 -0500 Brenna Wiegand Though winter work is a bit slower than the summer push, there’s still plenty to do, growers say.

“Winter is definitely lower key, lower pressure,” Brian Martin of G&C Farms said. “There’s planting, pruning and harvesting all summer; winter gives us a chance to do more maintenance on the vehicles and equipment updating; general repairs to things that have worn out. They get a lot of use in the summer.”

G&C Farms, northeast of Salem, Ore., is owned by Martin, Paul Roth, Doug Roth and Jeff Roth and comprises about 1,100 acres in blueberries, blackberries, grasses, wheat and hazelnuts. The crew includes Brian’s sons Taylor and Jason Martin and Oswaldo Barrera and Marcilino Dominguez.

Other tasks include going over 200 acres of berry posts and wires for repairs, flushing irrigation lines and continuing to address untiring mouse and weed populations.

“We try to get out there as late as we can to prevent winter weeds; we’ll disk and till between rows and use cover crops,” Martin said. “Most of the time I plant permanent cover crops you can mow like grass between the rows.”

G&C Farms works in cooperation with field agronomist Paul Borgen of the Pratum Co-op for soil analysis and fertility recommendations.

“Blueberries tend to set their fruit buds in the fall so we’ll go out with some foliar nutrients; usually phosphorus, potassium, boron and zinc, mostly for foliage development; and put a little phosphorus and potassium in the ground for root uptake,” Borgen said, adding that blueberries are more winter hardy than cane berries.

“I don’t really know what’s made it so bad but Marionberries are notorious for freezing in low temperatures; when we have multiple days under 20 degrees you can see some real damage,” he said. “Things we’ll do on Marionberries include cutting the irrigation and getting all the fertilizing done by the end of August to get them to shut down. You don’t want them real lush when you go into winter.”

Marionberries bear fruit on one-year-old wood so the canes that grew last spring are next year’s berries. The old vines are cut out and the new ones wrapped up on the wire, but all of this needs to be done by the end of August.

“Going beyond that will damage the cambium layer of bark, opening them up to damage in cold weather. If you don’t have all your training done by the end of August then you need to wait until March.”

Some berry growers attempt to stave off winter’s ravages by employing a spray similar to a latex and fortified with pine oil.

“If you spray that on a cane berry or blueberry plant prior to a frost it can prevent moisture loss through evapotranspiration,” Borgen said. “It’s not like it’s a hard and fast rule. Some farmers are big believers in it — there are guys who want to have some sense of control. You’ve got a lot of money invested in those things and if there’s anything they can try they want to do it. The biggest issue is when you have low temperatures with wind; it desiccates the plant and dries it out.”

Vineyard poses challenges, opportunities for winemaker Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:30:02 -0500 Brenna Wiegand MOLALLA, Ore. — When Anita Katz and her sons Phil and Tony Kramer of Alexeli Vineyard & Winery bought their 61-acre Molalla property in 2007 they got a steal of a deal. It came with an 18-acre vineyard.

Experts advised bulldozing and starting over.

“All the plants needed retrained; the wires were all very old school — late ’70s to early ’80s — there was an overwhelming problem with mites and crown gall and we’re going to have to replace every post in the next two years,” co-owner, winemaker, vineyard manager Phil Kramer said. “Sometimes I wish I’d taken their advice because of all the work we put into it, but the wine these grapes produce is amazing.”

He said it’s more worthwhile with a vineyard his size to make wine instead of just marketing its fruit.

“You get more for table grapes than you do for wine grapes and wine grapes are way harder and more costly to grow,” Kramer said. “There’s such a competitive market that even for the high-end fruit from renowned vineyards you’re looking at $3,000 a ton; that’s a buck-fifty a pound. That’s like reaching the low end of table grapes.”

Plus, he said, making wine is a lot easier than growing grapes.

“People think it’s all magical but people who just make wine spend very little time in actually making wine,” Kramer said. “Most of the time you’re doing other marketing and selling.”

Most of the 35-year-old vines are white grapes. Kramer recently planted a few red varieties which, since he doesn’t irrigate, may take 10 years to get into full production.

“There are many benefits to irrigating and we could put it in, but I kind of like the idea of a vintage being what a vintage is,” he said.

They’re converting parts of the orchard to vertical trellising in the event of future labor shortages.

“I’d rather have done all the work now so some machines could be used if we need them,” he said. “In 20 years I’d have shot myself in the foot for not being prepared for that.”

Alexeli has also begun selling wine in 5-gallon reusable kegs, in use by restaurants throughout Portland. Last year it saved the winery about 40,000 bottles.

Phil and his wife, Heidi, enjoy hosting events including a recent outdoor dinner attended by 120 people. Below the vineyard is a lake with a gazebo, a grassy area for events and a newly planted bamboo grove that may end up being the source of future posts in the vineyard.

“Every acre of a vineyard has about seven miles of wire,” Kramer said. “I’ve always thought that having a vineyard with no wire would be interesting, but it’s a lot of work.”

There is no off season at the vineyard and winery, but if Kramer ends up hiring somebody it won’t be for his wine-making ability.

“To me the chemistry is not complicated; not much beyond what I’d consider high school level,” he said. “I’d get someone who could fix an engine before someone who could make wine.”

Winemaker lets grapes do heavy lifting Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:46:57 -0500 MITCH LIES WOODBURN, Ore. — Jason Hanson, winemaker at Hanson Vineyards, lets his grapes do the heavy lifting and eschews the idea of a “house wine.”

“I have a non-interventionist wine-making theory,” Hanson said. “I would rather grow the best fruit I possibly can and allow it to turn itself into wine than change the nature of wine (through manipulation).

“My Pinots from year to year change drastically,” Hanson said. “Every year they are completely different, and that is the way I want it. I don’t want a ‘house style.’”

A small-acreage winery, Hanson Vineyards, one could say is a throwback to an old-world style of winery that still is prevalent in Europe, but is rare in the U.S.

“We will never be a big winery, and we don’t want to be,” he said.

“You go to France and there are lots of little family plots on the hillsides. The family works the land and makes the wine and has for generations. There is no desire to be huge. The desire is to have a product that you are proud of that you put your name on the side of the bottle,” he said.

Located in Monitor, an unincorporated community east of Woodburn in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, Hanson Vineyards is situated on three distinct soil types. Clay soils dominate the upper part of the vineyard, while rocky and sandy soils dominate the lower part.

“We’re in what is essentially the Butte Creek sub-valley,” said Hanson, the fourth generation of his family to farm the ground. “It is very interesting soil to work with.”

The vineyard practices sustainable production practices, he said, limiting use of pesticides and using netting to protect grapes from robin damage.

The winery produces a variety of grapes, which enables the vineyard to stagger harvests in a way that minimizes the need for outside labor and allows it to serve a wide variety in its tasting room, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Riesling, Chardonnay and Gamay Noir.

“I think you are going to see a lot more Gamay Noir coming into the Willamette Valley,” Hanson said. “It is a unique grape. It is a heavy producer and it is right for our climate.”

Marechal Foch, which Hanson uses in a red blend called Cascadia, is the darkest grape produced on the vineyard. The blend, consisting of half Foch and half Pinot Noir, won a silver medal at the 2015 Great Northwest Wine Competition in Hood River.

The winery ages wine in oak barrels a minimum of two years before bottling, Hanson said.

In addition to the wine characteristics changing dramatically from year to year, production levels can swing wildly at Hanson Vineyards.

In 2010, a cool year, the winery lost a sizable percentage of its crop to botrytis and bird damage and produced only about 500 cases. In 2014, a hot year, the winery produced close to 1,500 cases, Hanson said.

“We’re small and we self-distribute and we sell a lot through our tasting room, so we can absorb swings like that more than a huge winery that has commitments to distributors,” he said.

Small, like an old-world winery.

Small winery starts at the right time and place Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:46:06 -0500 Hear Smith Thomas SUNNY SLOPE, Idaho — Situated in a perfect place to grow wine grapes, Fujishin Family Cellars takes advantage of the unique high desert climate that produces some of the finest wine in the world.

The Snake River Valley AVA (in southwestern Idaho and eastern Oregon) has the ideal combination of warm days and cool nights that creates superb grapes.

Martin Fujishin says this winery was part of a project that he and his fiancée, Teresa Moye, started in 2007 — the year they started making wine.

“I grew up in this area, on a family farm. Teresa and I met in 2006 and mutually fell in love with the wine business,” he says.

“When I was growing up I farmed with my parents for a number of years and then started farming on my own. During that time I worked for Koenig Winery on weekends,” he says. “I did sales for them, and was still working for them when I met Teresa, as assistant winemaker and cellar master.”

They got encouragement along the way.

“After I’d been working for them awhile they were kind enough to say that they thought it would be great for us to have our own winery. This was why we began our project,” he says.

The Fujishin Family Cellars started out with a group of wineries in Caldwell and then moved out to the Sunny Slope area with the other wineries 5 years ago.

“We did one year in Caldwell with a little tasting room that we shared with two other wineries, then branched out on our own; we wanted to be out here in wine country,” Fujishin says.

“It’s been a really great experience, and basically a labor of love for myself and Teresa, and now her daughter Helena is also involved in the business. The three of us run it, with just a little part-time help to do the tasting room,” he says.

In the wine business, there are a lot of big corporate wineries, but “we are still a very small family-owned winery and specialize in the varieties that most people don’t necessarily think of for the Northwest,” he says.

They make wines such as Mourvedre, Petit Bordeaux, Petit Syrah and others that many wineries might shy away from because they are not the big name varieties.

“We tend to specialize in things that are a little bit different. Our other brand, Lost West Winery, is a side project in which we are actually doing varieties from other regions as well,” he says.

Martin and Teresa are pleased to be part of the Idaho wine community.

“It’s wonderful to be part of a small group of wineries who are very supportive of one another. This is a great community in which to start a winery — and one of the few places in the world where you can actually still start a winery and have it not be horribly high-priced, and be acceptably competitive,” he says. “We’re still a group that is supportive of each other; we are 50 wineries against the world as opposed to 50 wineries against each other. That’s unique and a lot of fun.”

Fujishin Family Cellars

In business: Since 2007

Owner: Martin Fujishin

Location: Sunny Slope, near Caldwell, Idaho

Winemaker lobbies Olympia while building brand Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:45:42 -0500 Erick Peterson SEATTLE — Having opened Wilridge Winery in 1988, winemaker Paul Beveridge has seen competitors come and go, and he boasts that his business is the “oldest continuously operated winery in Seattle.”

The business started as a hobby, he said. Then he “started making more wine than he could drink” and decided to make even more wine and market it.

This worked well for his family, as his wife was entering the restaurant business, starting a French-style bistro, which helped him with his first sales.

A lawyer by trade, he lobbied Olympia for change that would benefit Wilridge and other Washington winemakers, he said. After three years, he helped convince the state liquor board to allow restaurants and wineries in the same building.

“That was kind of interesting,” he said. “I spent a lot of time in Olympia, trying to modernize the wine laws.”

He followed up with other fights related to regulating wine businesses, helping to change rules that dated to Prohibition. He has done much of this work through professional organizations, including Family Wineries of Washington State, of which he is currently president. There, he has been pushing for the free market and support for small wineries and wine consumers, he said.

Meanwhile, during the “slow process” of wine industry deregulation, Wilridge continued to grow, expanding into a cooperative tasting room, “The Tasting Room,” at Seattle’s Pike Place Market and planting a vineyard in Naches Heights, near Yakima, Wash.

With growing success, around eight years ago he quit his lawyering “day job” to focus on wine.

The purchase of the Naches Heights property and planting a vineyard were particularly exciting, he said. He planted 12 acres in a test block of 22 varietals: Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Mourvedre, Viognier, Barbera, Nebbiolo, Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Pinot Grigio and White Muscat.

More varieties are to come, he said, as he determines the best grapes for the location.

Business is good, both in Seattle and in Yakima, according to Beveridge and his employees. Wilridge Winery Assistant Manager Sara Gurdey said the small tasting room near Yakima can attract 200 visitors in an ordinary day.

People have good reason to drop in, she said. The winery hosts special events, including live music in the middle of the week.

“But the wine is still the thing,” she said. Though people visit for the music and entertaining atmosphere, they buy the wine because it is good, she said.

Wilridge Winery

Owner: Paul Beveridge

First opened: 1988

Location: Seattle and Yakima, Wash.

Varieties: Various white and rose wines, red wines and dessert wines

Winemaker says his work not all glamour Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:44:51 -0500 Erick Peterson PROSSER, Wash. — Gordon Taylor hesitates a bit when asked about his title at Daven Lore Winery.

“What am I?” he said. “I’m the winemaker, forklift driver, chief bottle washer and cleaner of the toilets.”

The winery’s owner, he covers all of the aforementioned positions, and more. He explains that winery ownership is less glamorous than people think, though many outsiders seem attracted to the industry.

Taylor is in the midst of celebrations and events to commemorate the winery’s 10th anniversary. Also, new wines have been released and membership specials have been created.

In all the excitement, the owner said the wine business is much like the agricultural work that he experienced growing up on a farm in Canada, though with some glaring differences. The biggest difference relates to public involvement.

Nowadays, people volunteer to help him with his production. They ask him if they can clean bottles, clean or do anything else needed. That never happened on the farm, he said.

“People are just fascinated with the industry,” he said. “They think it’s sexy.”

He admits to becoming something of a celebrity in his community, which has value. The attention leads to greater wine sales. People want to meet him, ask to volunteer and then buy bottles of wine, even when he tells them there are no opportunities for volunteering.

The glamour — the images of people standing around in fancy dress and filled glasses — is only 3 percent of the winery, he said. The remainder is “laborious.” He puts in 10 to 12 hours a day, “like most farmers.”

He starts his day at 5 a.m. and finishes at 7 p.m., or later if he has a pouring event.

He sticks with it because he is not discouraged by long days. This is the farmer in him, he said. It is a unique ethic, a feeling that work equals fun. He also likes seeing the enjoyment of others when they try his wine.

He makes 16 different wines, and said that his goal is to show people the greatness of Washington state grapes. He purchases nearly all of his grapes, and grows only an eighth of an acre of grapes near his winery.

“The wine is made by the growers,” he said. “It’s my job not to screw it up.”

He said he prefers buying grapes, as the growers are within 30 miles of the winery and dealing with the growers saves him the hassle of growing grapes himself. These growers are all established, and their fruit comes from highly reputed areas — the Horse Heaven Hills, Snipes Mountain and the Yakima Valley.

At the Prosser tasting room, winery manager Sonya Symons confirms that life here is busy, especially as the winery makes special efforts to run unique programs such as bottle-recycling.

There are certification programs run through the winery and harvest camps. Also, they make frequent trips to farmers’ markets and local stores. There are often events to attend, and things to do. But she does not seem to mind.

“It’s what we chose to get into,” she said. “It’s difficult, but it’s something that we decided on because we really love to do it.”

Daven Lore Winery

Location: Prosser, Wash.

Started: 2005

Wines: Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Aridsol Red, Malbec, Merlot, Durif, Petit Verdot, Recovery Red, Port, Sweet Riesling, Dry Riesling, Rose, Muscadelle

Vineyard operators concentrate on grapes Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:44:28 -0500 Brenna Wiegand Through their 25 years in viticulture, Pete and Donna Paradis of Paradis Vineyard have been successful in shifting the nature of their business to suit the market and their lifestyle.

In 1990 they purchased the 100-acre property on North Abiqua Road near Silverton, Ore., that includes a 60-acre vineyard, woodlands and a home.

They got into wine-making in 2000 and helped form the East Valley Wine District to promote the wines on the east side of the Willamette Valley.

“We make just as good a wine or better than they do over there,” Paradis said. “It’s just getting the word out. Many have said that for every 20-dollar bottle of wine, 10 dollars go into marketing.”

Ultimately, they decided that marketing the wine took too much time away from the family and closed the winery in 2007.

Last year the vineyard formed a partnership with Adelsheim Vineyard, which now leases the entire 60-acre vineyard. This year’s crop is estimated at 120-140 tons.

“I’m real proud to have our fruit going in that direction,” Paradis said. “Before this it was usually blended in large vats with that of many other growers and our efforts to improve quality were lost in the tank, so to speak.”

Adelsheim Vineyard & Winery makes small production, single vineyard Pinot Noirs.

“They had an event where we were able to come and taste the wine made from our grapes,” Donna Paradis said. “The winemakers told us they liked what they were getting.”

The steady income enabled Pete to retire from Silver Falls School District after 26 years to focus entirely on the farm. Donna went into real estate three years ago and found her farming background brings buyers and sellers — a California almond farmer, a large herbal company and currently Abiqua Wind Vineyard & Winery just down the road.

As son Pierre’s duties as vineyard manager lessened he focused on off-site equipment contracting for other vineyards and two years ago the 22-year-old launched Rainbow Valley Enterprises, doing hedging, leaf removal, hauling fruit and the like.

In March AgroThermal Systems of Walnut Creek, Calif., named him its first certified applicator of their heat-treatment technology. It involves making 4 mph passes through a vineyard or other crop on a machine that shoots out 300-350 degree blasts of air, raising the temperature of leaves and clusters by 20 percent in less than a second. The treatment has been shown to increase yields by up to 25 percent and increase the wine’s phenolic content. Phenols impact the taste, color and mouthfeel of wine.

Last year Pete completed carving a 25-foot totem pole chronicling the family’s ventures and milestones, inspired by his American Indian heritage.

An intricate grapevine weaves its way through all the symbols of heritage, careers, children, weddings and affiliations because, as he said, their whole life wraps around grapes.

“There’s room throughout the pole for other ventures,” he added. “Who knows what we might do in the future.”

It’s all about the grapes for this winery Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:44:15 -0500 Brenna Wiegand SILVERTON, Ore. — It’s always been about the grapes for Chris Deckelman.

In 2003, when he was having trouble selling all the fruit from the 250 to 280 acres he either owns or manages, he and wife, Sharon, and friends Bruce and Sally Eich started Vitis Ridge Winery. They started in Deckelman’s garage, where the two men had already been making wine for 20 years.

Focusing on unique wines and specialty blends, Vitis Ridge was soon producing 3,000 cases a year. The grapes come solely from the 100-acre Meridian Estate Vineyard and account for 4 to 5 percent of that fruit.

Bruce Eich is ready to retire from the wine-making business and Deckelman isn’t sure where he’ll go from here, but for starters he’s moving the tasting room back home after subletting from Seven Brides the past several years — as long as he can get county approval. The rules changed a month before he applied.

“Once it’s approved we’re going to buy out Bruce and Sally and see where we go from there,” Deckelman said. “It’s kind of hard to stop.”

Deckelman has been growing grapes for more than 30 years, starting with 10 acres in 1992. Most recently he planted 33 acres to hazelnuts.

In managing other area vineyards Deckelman does everything from planting the vines to selling the fruit, moving 900 to 1,000 tons of fruit, mainly Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris.

Being from the Burgundy family, these varieties are especially thin-skinned and he’s had to deal with some sunburn this year.

“The crop is really happy so we were able to drop some of the sunburned fruit and make our tonnage per acre,” Deckelman said.

The way they’re supported calls for yearly cane pruning, for which a machine has yet to be found.

“We’re trying to mechanize everything — hedging, leaf removal, harvest,” he said, “but our style of pruning is just very labor intensive so we’re stuck with that.”

Among his biggest customers are King Estate Winery in Eugene, Willamette Valley Vineyard in Turner, Chateau Bianca in Dallas and Honeywood Winery of Salem.

Deckelman said the East Willamette Valley is gaining on the West Valley in terms of recognition for its wine and grapes.

“King Estate, Oregon’s biggest producer, buys a large volume of Pinot Gris grapes from within about a 10-mile radius of Silverton,” he said. “It’s getting around that this is a really good region.”

It was by a twist of fate that David Hill, a pioneer in the Oregon wine industry, chose the Dundee hills to open Eyrie Vineyards, where he made wine until his death in 2008.

“He originally wanted to plant out here in the Silverton hills but the price was too high; it was the late ’70s-early ’80s and a lot of it was in strawberries,” Deckelman said. “So he went over to the west side of the Valley.”

Institute supports growth of S. Oregon wine industry Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:43:38 -0500 CRAIG REED ROSEBURG, Ore. — The number of vineyards and wineries was slowly growing in the many valleys of Douglas County, Ore., but Scott Henry said he thought something was missing.

Henry was president of the Umpqua Valley Winegrowers Association, and he said the association finally decided the missing ingredient in the area’s wine growth was education in viticulture and enology.

“We had been beating our heads wondering what we could do to improve our industry,” said Henry, who founded Henry Estate Winery in 1978. “We looked around the country and saw that where the wine industry had thrived, there was a teaching facility.

“The more we looked into it, the more we talked to other industry members, the more we figured we could do it,” he added.

Even while a capital campaign was underway to raise funds to build a teaching center on the Umpqua Community College campus 5 miles north of Roseburg, Chris Lake was hired as the director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute and began teaching classes in viticulture and enology in the fall of 2008.

There was plenty of support for the capital campaign, not only from the wine industry but from many foundations, industrial groups and private entities. In eight months, $2.5 million was raised. The college issued bonds to cover the rest of the expense and construction of a $7 million, 24,000-square-foot facility began in 2010. The Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center, named after a generous private donor from Roseburg, became operational in early 2012.

“Our models were wine centers at Walla Walla Community College, Chemeketa Community College (in Salem, Oregon) and Napa Junior College in California,” Lake said.

The bottom floor replicates a small to medium winery, there are classrooms and laboratories on the second floor, and an event center, a tasting counter and offices are on the third floor.

“We needed a building that implies we’re going to make wine,” Lake said. “We have to make a product that is desirable to the consumer who would want to buy it. And then we needed a tasting room where students can talk directly to consumers, ask them what kind of wine they want, whether white or red, bold or sweet. It’s all part of the wine experience, from the ground up, dirt to glass.”

Since 2010, the center has averaged 40 to 45 students in the program each year. They have ranged in age from 17 to 72. A one-year certificate in viticulture or a two-year associate degree in enology and viticulture can be earned.

The Southern Oregon Wine Institute, a division of Umpqua Community College, serves students from seven Southern Oregon counties, but a few students have also come from central Oregon and one woman in England took the online classes.

In the early years, the students visited local vineyards and wineries for the hands-on experience, but the 2-acre Scott Henry Vineyard on the southwestern slope below the center was planted to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir in 2013. Its first harvest will be in 2016. Another 2-acre block of different varietals is scheduled to be planted this fall.

“We want students to take some responsibility for managing the vineyard,” Lake said. “Each student could be assigned a row and then it would be their responsibility to take it through to harvest.”

Henry said the center is “more than I ever dreamed of.”

“It’s above and beyond anything I ever imagined,” he said. “I think it has encouraged more wine development in the area.”

Henry said he has hired some of the students, some part-time and some full-time, to work in his vineyard and winery.

“Before I was having to go to the employment department to get help and those people knew nothing about grapes, they just wanted a job,” he said. “Now people who are educated for a couple years at the center are a big, big plus. I’m much more willing to pay more than minimum wage for somebody who actually has some knowledge about how to do things in the vineyard or in the winery. I don’t have to train them and that’s worth money for that capability.”

In addition to teaching students, the center will also sublet space to local vineyards that want to make wine there. Two vineyards are scheduled to use the center’s winery this fall.

Southern Oregon Wine Institute

What: Danny Lang Teaching, Learning and Event Center — Classrooms, winery, tasting room, event center, offices and vineyard

Where: Umpqua Community College, 1140 Umpqua College Road, Roseburg, Ore. 541-440-4600

Education: One-year certificate in viticulture or two-year associate degree in enology and viticulture

Ste. Chapelle winemaker works her way to the top Tue, 29 Sep 2015 15:42:17 -0500 Hear Smith Thomas SUNNY SLOPE, Idaho — Sitting atop a high hill, the beautiful Ste. Chapelle Winery overlooks fertile orchards and farms of Sunny Slope in southwestern Idaho.

The Symms family started a wine business in Emmet, Idaho, then moved it to Sunny Slope to build the current winery in 1978. It was designed by Boise architect Nat Adams and named after the 13th century La Sainte Chapelle in Paris that inspired its structure.

Originally intended to be a small family operation, the winery quickly grew to meet customer demand as Idaho’s wine-growing region was gaining a reputation for fine wine.

In 2012 Ste. Chapelle became part of Precept Wine’s Northwest family of wineries. Today it is the leading winery in Idaho in production and sales volume, with approximately 130,000 cases per year.

The 2013 Special Harvest Riesling made by winemaker Maurine Johnson recently won best of category in the 2015 Sunset International Wine Competition.

Maurine started working in the lab in 1987.

“I moved up to become assistant winemaker 11 years later, and have now been the head winemaker for 4 years,” she says.

But she hadn’t planned on a career in wine. “It just happened. I love animals, and when I went to college I got a degree in animal science. I wanted to become a veterinarian, but I didn’t get into vet school. After graduating from college I needed a job. There was an ad in the paper for a lab technician at Ste. Chapelle so I applied, and it went from there,” she says.

Working in the wine lab was a great fit and she enjoyed it. “I love this job. All those years in college, I’d taken chemistry, biology and microbiology, and it was really easy to transition into winemaking. Almost everything else I know about wine, I’ve learned on the job, though I now have a certificate for winemaking for distance learners, from UC-Davis, after took their online course. Now I’m official!”

As wineries go, Ste. Chapelle is not as big as a lot of California wineries, but is by far the largest in Idaho. “We do a wide variety of wines. Riesling is the most commonly planted, but our soft series that includes the soft red, soft white and soft huckleberry are probably our most popular wines,” she says.

“We also make all the usual wines — like Chardonnay, Cabernet, Merlot and Syrah. We do the soft wines and two styles of Riesling,” she says.

The winery’s tasting room is a popular place, with its high cathedral-style windows, vaulted ceilings with wooden beams and stained glass grapevine window.

“We also have an upstairs banquet room and a 2-acre park at our facility. We rent these out for parties and weddings. One of the unique things we do is hold concerts during the summer in the park. These are held on Sunday afternoons and attract a lot of people.”

Ste. Chapelle Winery

Founded: 1975 by the Symms family

Location: Sunny Slope, near Caldwell, Idaho

Winemaker: Maurine Johnson