I always love a good history lesson about the vineyard, upon request Herbie’s Dad, Tim Annala wrote the piece below.
“My Dad’s family moved from North Dakota to Hood River, Oregon in 1909. They were wheat farmers moving to a new area and new crops of apples and pears. My Grandfather bought 20 acres and the house we still live in today. He also cleared the land for more orchards. My Dad was born in the same house in 1912 and our family has lived here continuously since moving to Hood River. Our crops have always been apples and pears. The farm grew to 40 acres and I tried to diversify by growing cherries, but could never get a good crop and a good price the same year. We removed the cherries and had two blocks of bare land to replant. In 2006 two local winery owners asked me to grow grapes for them and offered a per-acre price that would allow for a net return to the farm about equal to good pear returns. Again, this seemed to be a way to diversify the crop and the harvest and provide a steady income. I went to every viticulture meeting and class offered because I knew next to nothing about grapes. Our Oregon State University horticulture agent , Steve Castagnoli, had worked in viticulture at Corvallis before moving to Hood River as our horticulture agent. He has been a valuable source of information for me. In addition to Steve, Dr. Patty Skinkis at OSU has provided lots of help. We decided to accept the offer (from the wineries) and bought Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris plants, planted them in 2007, along with irrigation and trellis. The vines grew well and we had a full crop of Pinot Gris in 2009. The original Pinot Noir block developed crown gall in 2009, losing over half the plants. We replanted in 2010 and picked a full crop in 2013. The recession hit in 2008 and one of the two wineries backed completely out of the agreement and the other winery had multiple customers go bankrupt, leaving us pretty much to sell our grapes by the ton instead of per-acre. To back-track a little, selling by the ton was exactly what Steve Castagnoli told me not to do years before. We are now in the process of removing the entire Pinot Gris block and will be left with 3.0 acres of Pinot Noir, Pommard rootstock, Oak Grove Loam soil, elevation approx. 950 to 1050 feet. The farming is conventional, with as few chemical inputs as possible. We spray to prevent mildew and botrytis and phomopsis, but have never needed to apply insecticides. We do use herbicides as needed. The vines were irrigated for the first three years, but have not needed water since then.”
Thank you Herbie and Tim for all you do. I love your fruit!