As I look out my window I see there is a guy mowing the grass.  So as you can decipher, since were in the final few days of February, I'm not at the Red Trail Vineyard.   Currently, I’m on my winter trip to Oregon checking out the wineries and vineyards in the area.  Last week I visited the Napa Valley in California and enjoyed many of their wines and first class wineries.  This is my 10th year that I’ve traveled to the Pacific Northwest and it's hard to explain this part of the world except that it is a very unique place.

Here in the Willamette Valley, just south of Portland, with the Coastal Range to the west and the Cascades to the east, the climate is just right for a large variety of crops.  Such as nuts, hops, strawberries, raspberries, marion berries, apples, pears and many thousands of acres of grapes.  The farmland is flat and all irrigated as in the summer the temperatures get into the 90's and the rain stops.    This region is a Zone 8....just like Texas.

One of my missions on this trip was to let some of the winemakers in Napa and the Willamette Valley of Oregon taste some of the new Petite Pearl wine that was made by Rod Ballinger at Bear Creek Winery in South Fargo.  So far it has created a WOW! and a "this is a hybrid grape and grown in North Dakota" ?   WOW!  They were surprised at the flavor and amazed at the color.  This very dark red clings to the side of the glass like no other.

Petite Pearl was developed by Plant Breeder Tom Plocher from Hugo, MN and we planted 7 vines in our test area in 2005.  Since then we planted another 100 that will be put on a trellis this year.  We plan to plant another 200 vines this spring.  So stay patient for there is very, very good wine to come in the future.

The vineyard is still sleeping, but I'm looking forward to start pruning when I return, or when the weather is warmer.   If you would like to come out and learn the pruning techniques, let us know.