Area wine enthusiasts will likely be excited to know that another winery is joining the growing list of options in Clark County.
Father’s Day – Sun., June 15 – is the projected opening of Village Vineyard located near Glenwood Heights Primary School and Laurin Middle School.
The dream of 83-year old Patti Kuni to own a winery began to form after the passing of her husband. According to events director, Julie Kuni, the elder Kuni wanted to do something new and different and leave a legacy to her grandchildren.
Patti organized her loyal team and the hunt for suitable property to grow wine grapes on began. About two and a half years ago, the land was found. The site is crowned by a majestic home that sits on a hill and the slopes work well for the chosen vines.
Built about 12 years ago, the decision was made to update the house and incorporate it as a bed and breakfast, making Village Vineyard a true destination winery. There are also plans to complete an event center and outdoor entertainment areas are currently in place.
Some private functions have already been hosted at Village Vineyard, including the wedding of Patti’s fitness coach, a Christmas dinner for Pacific Lifestyle Homes and a meeting for a local women’s organization. Space downstairs can accommodate up to 50 seated comfortably.
Bed and breakfast guests will be served breakfast, of course, and have access to the full kitchen during their stay. There’s also a grand piano in the living room and a fire pit in the beautifully-landscaped backyard.
On the first floor of a very important building nearing completion is the pump house, which supplies all the water to the vines. The second story is temperature-controlled to house the cases of wine, but can also be used for bottling purposes and barrel storage if necessary. On the top level is an inviting covered deck. It’s Julie’s intention to make that another outdoor entertainment space with bands and tables for guests.
The Village Vineyard team is taking a different approach to their crop.
“We are doing a European tying method of growing grapes,’’ Julie Kuni said. “None of the other wineries are growing grapes the way we are. (We’re) growing organically, no pesticides, using cover crops to get nitrates to the soil instead of having to add the nitrate and then everything we do is all organic.”
Dave Owen, facilities manager, went on to explain that they’re using 24-inch tall rootstock (called wood), which cuts down on one year of growing time and makes the wood less susceptible to damage from rabbits and deer. There’s also no need for the grow tubes on the tall vines as seen at other vineyards. Village Vineyard purchased their wood from Napa, CA.
Winemaker Andy Thomas hails straight from Ankeny Vineyard in Salem. He is a 2005 graduate of The Institute for Enology and Viticulture at Walla Walla Community College. Thomas will be responsible for crafting the estate grown Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris grapes into palate-pleasing bottles of vino.
Currently, Village Vineyard is sourcing their grapes from White Salmon Vineyard and Fjellene Cellars in Walla Walla. Julie hopes to open with a Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Syrah, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and a Merlot. A second Pinot Noir and a dry, white blend of Muscat and Chardonnay will follow soon after to hit her target of eight wines in their tasting lineup.
Customers will be able to taste five wines and the tasting fee will be waived with the purchase of a bottle, much the same as many other area wineries operate. There will be a wine club with a three-bottle per quarter requirement and an end-of-the-year barbecue bash is being planned for wine club members.
Village Vineyard will have food for purchase available either through a caterer or area restaurant and small cheese and cracker plates that pair well with the wines. Visitors are allowed to bring their own snacks, however. Julie and the rest of the staff are encouraging an atmosphere where patrons can purchase a glass of wine and feel comfortable to hang out.
A selection of beers and soft drinks will be on hand, as well, and live music by local musicians will be featured weekly.
Unique to Village Vineyard is their gift shop stocked with oils, salts and lavender and rosemary products from their onsite fields. Maybe there’ll even be products a few years down the line from the olive trees being planted around the perimeter of the grounds.
Village Vineyard is located at 9400 NE 134 St., Vancouver. Contact the vineyard at (360) 953-8562. Look for them soon on the Internet at www.villagevineyard.com/. Hours are Sat., noon-6 p.m., and Sun., 11 a.m.-5 p.m.