White Oak Orchard and Vineyard

From John, June 8th, 2021

Julian & Leila picking cider apples

One of the longtime strengths of the Oregon Wine Industry has been our parade of dynamic characters.  And Alan Foster, the owner of White Oak Orchard qualifies for this list.  Alan started planting one of the finest cider apple orchards in Western America in 1989 using budwood from Cornell University which was augmented along the way with material from England and Normandy.  He later added Perry Pears from the germ plasm repository in Corvallis as well as from old trees in Southern Oregon.

But Alan, as is his way, was far ahead of the curve and the market for fine English-style cider was weak.  So in 2006, he ripped out a portion of the trees (he says “not the best trees”) and planted just under 2 acres of Pinot noir and 2/3 of an acre of the noble Nebbiolo grape variety.  The soil at White Oak is marine sediment in origin so strikingly different from what is found at both Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge.

For over 10 years Cameron has been buying all of Alan’s fruit for our Ribbon Ridge Pinot noir and part of our Nebbiolo blend.

When the tiny 2020 vintage arrived, our son Julian Paul decided that it was time to try making traditional cider and perry from Alan’s legendary cider orchard.  While the work is in progress as of this writing, we will soon be releasing Julian’s first creative endeavor in the world of cider.

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Recent News & Rants

The Challenging 2022 Vintage

Because of a freakish snowstorm coupled with freezing fog in mid-April, Clos Electrique and Abbey Ridge Vineyards lost a substantial amount of their 2022 crop. Please read on to hear how we handled this challenging and unique vintage.

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The Big Freeze

April 2022 donned as a typical classic Oregon spring with lots of wet weather and moderate temperatures pushing the buds on the vines to expand and open.  And then out of nowhere came a blast of frigid Arctic air in mid-April that settled on us for several days plunging the temperature into the mid-20’s. When it was done, about 70% of the crop in Clos Electrique were almost completely wiped out.

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This spring, we received an email offering us a free energy study through Energy Trust’s Production Efficiency program. Thanks to Energy trust, we now have a new heating and cooling system that is saving energy, pruning our utility bills and keeping our warehouse cool! Please read Energy Trust’s blog (on the following page) to hear the whole story.

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