Market-goers, take (tasting) note! You may not be aware that wines produced under the Twin Forks label and sold at the Laurel Ridge Winery booth at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market are specifically made with you in mind.
Susan Teppola, owner of Laurel Ridge Winery, intends the Twin Forks wines, which are made in small batches, to be more dynamic, interesting and accessible for curious customers and wine tasters at farmers’ markets.
For twenty-three years, Laurel Ridge Winery has been making wines from grapes grown on the Teppola property site in Carlton, Oregon. Starting in 2000, after the completion of a state-of-the-art winemaking facility, Laurel Ridge wines have been produced on-site in the Chehalem Valley. Susan is expanding on the tradition started by her late husband, David, who bought the property in 1974 and started making wine in 1986 at the David Hills Estate in Forest Grove from grapes grown at the Laurel Ridge site. Laurel Ridge is Susan’s second full-time job after her work as an Oregon administrative law judge.
Along with hosting weddings, corporate retreats, car shows and other events, Laurel Ridge has a winemaking operation that is capable of producing 20,000 cases annually. Production that is not taken by Laurel Ridge under its two current labels is rented out to other winemakers in the region, and Laurel Ridge is one of the few Oregon facilities that is capable of producing sparkling wines.
Like other Willamette Valley producers, Laurel Ridge’s vines have recently been afflicted with phylloxera. Because of this parasitic infestation, all of Laurel Ridge’s vines will be replanted with new, resistant rootstock onto which new vines have been grafted, all at vast expense of time and money. Until then, Susan is sourcing grapes from other locations for wines made by Chris Berg, winemaker since 2006, under both the Twin Forks and Laurel Ridge labels.
With Willakenzie loam soil, the Laurel Ridge site is warm for the Willamette Valley, and Susan plans to produce Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay after the replanting. She estimates that the north-facing slopes on her property will also permit her to grow varieties on the property that are often associated with Alsace, France, including Silvaner, Gewurztraminer and Riesling. She also plans to launch a high-end label, Finn Hill, which will showcase the best grapes and winemaking techniques Laurel Ridge has to offer. In the meantime, be sure to stop by the Laurel Ridge booth at the Hollywood Farmers’ Market to try Twin Forks and Laurel Ridge wines, or pay a visit to Susan and her staff at the Laurel Ridge site in Carlton, Oregon.
Written by Ben Jacqmotte, Board Member, 2009