Cloudrest Vineyards are located on Bald Peak, about 22 miles southwest of Portland. They are high altitude vineyards which face south and slightly east, with Laurelwood soil type and harvest dates that are often the latest in the region. These vineyards are typically harvested in October. The vineyard management team allows the grapes to stay on the vines as long as possible, and they often need that extra time to bring the sugars up. This results in a need to net for birds, which come into the area around the second week of October. In the spring, the deer visit and love to eat the tender new shoots, so all three vineyard blocks are enclosed with deer fencing.
Fred and Linda Engstrom bought the original property on Cloudrest Lane in 1973. It was a seven acre walnut orchard at the time; it had a good southern slope that topped out at a little more than 1,000 feet in elevation, and included a beautiful view of Mt. Hood and the valley. In 1984, they removed a good percentage of the walnut trees and planted the first acre of Pinot Gris on the slope above their house, which was built in 1975. The rooted cuttings for that first acre originally came from Oregon wine pioneer David Lett’s stock, and were purchased from Fall Creek Nursery in Southern Oregon. As they worked on clearing more of the property, another vineyard block was added directly to the east of the house a few years later. In 1986, the Engstroms purchased an additional five acres that ran along Holly Hill Road, also to the east, and started clearing it for the lowest vineyard block at 800 feet elevation. That block was finally planted in 1989, giving them a total of 12 acres, with five acres planted in Pinot Gris. Those later plants were grown from cuttings taken from their original planting.
The Engstroms were told at the time that their five acres represented ten percent of all the Pinot Gris planted in the United States. They entered into a handshake contract with Dick Ponzi to sell him grapes when yields increased above the level of their meager first harvest in 1987. In 1996, they began selling to Oak Knoll Winery. Over the years, yields have increased from a few tons in the very early years to an average of 12 tons per year, with a maximum of 18 tons in 2002.
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