A Tale of Two Vineyards

Elise Stimac2017, Articles, Blog article, Our Wines, People, Storytelling, Travel Stories, Wine Tasting

A bottle of Three Feathers Estate Pinot Noir perched on a vineyard wall with the town Saint-Emilion in the background, Bordeaux region, Gironde, France.
Three Feathers Estate Pinot Noir perched on a vineyard wall in Saint-Emilion.
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs on the stele of Chateau-Pavie-Macquin

A Tale of Two Vineyards | Three Feathers Estate visits Château Pavie Macquin

By Elise Prudhomme

The adventure started with a neighborly “getting to know you” over coffee in our Normand vacation home, English Channel in the distance.  A dear girlfriend wished to introduce me to two childhood friends of hers, sisters, living in Normandy and vacationing in Bordeaux: “They make wine and so do you, so it should be fun to meetup!” she said, and without further ado, we did. 

Our Normand Shire, Cotentin, France.
Our Normand Shire, Cotentin, France.

In our small home in the Shire (as we have nicknamed our seaside village next to Cherbourg), two worlds connected in coincidental ways; American and French, Bordeaux and Burgundy….  We met Agnès and Cécile Corre, sisters and partners in the family-owned domain of Château Pavie-Macquin in Saint-Emilion and they brought over an extraordinary bottle of their 2006 Château Pavie-Macquin 1er Grand Cru Classé as a hostess gift for dinner.  Mutual plans were laid to sally forth and explore unknown lands with this bunch of merry women.

In the summer of 2017, Agnès traveled to Oregon with her children to visit family in Eugene and made a long detour to Three Feathers on Chehalem Mountains.  Agnès was impressed with our endeavors at Three Feathers, called them “pioneering”, and said our story was reminiscent of her grandparent’s challenges at Château Pavie-Macquin.  Over a glass of 2016 Three Feathers Pinot Noir in the formal topiary garden, we celebrated our first bottled vintage, shared vineyard lore and discussed terroirs in general knowing full well that Bordeaux and Burgundy are like apples and oranges, not to mention Bordeaux and Oregon Pinot Noir!  

Portrait of Albert Macquin in the family home

Agnès knows all about pioneering. Her great-grandfather Albert Macquin (1852-1911), who purchased about 64 acres from various châteaux in Saint-Emilion from 1887, is famous for saving his own vineyard, as well as that of the entire Bordeaux region, from the devastating vine disease phylloxera that had been wreaking havoc since 1866. Agricultural engineer, Macquin was aware of new techniques involving grafting the phlloxera resistant Vitis labrusca American rootstock onto Vitis vinifera vines.  While other châteaux were looking to cure the infected vines, Macquin proceeded to replant his entire vineyard with more resistant rootstock and was able to rebound quickly from the phylloxera epidemic that was crippling the Bordeaux wine industry. Albert Macquin is hailed as a man of transformation and reconstruction, advocating Vitis berlandieri which is less susceptible to chlorosis – he produced more than 1 million plants in 1887 – and developing scientific vine plot monitoring.

Albert MACQUIN – Saint Emilion owes him the use of the grafted plant which was to save the vineyard ruined by phylloxera

The phylloxera story is a cross-viticultural one that intimately links France and the United States from a rootstock perspective.  Exchange between France and the Oregon is at the root of vine planting in this State since the mid-1800’s when early Oregon vineyards were planted on their own roots, before the arrival of phylloxera, by European settlers. This contrasts with European vineyards, where all wine grapes have been necessarily grafted onto Phylloxera-resistant rootstocks since the nineteenth century. Since phylloxera was discovered in Oregon in 1990, most new vineyards have been planted on phylloxera-resistant rootstocks.  Agricultural engineers without borders, in true botanical spirit, have been sharing, comparing, grafting and testing since ocean transportation made it possible way back when.

We decided to schedule a long detour from Paris to Bordeaux to check out the illustrious Château Pavie-Macquin and in the fall of 2019, just after harvest, our schedules coincided and a date was set.  While selecting a couple of bottles (our 2017 Three Feathers Pinot Noir and 2018 Blanc de Noirs) to bring down with us, the daunting prospect of proposing our wines to taste in a region of such historical reputation began to make itself felt. In anticipation, I boned up on Bordeaux and Burgundy – since, just like Burgundy wine, the Pinot Noirs produced in the Oregon Willamette Valley are single varietals – and learned some interesting things.

Recognized for their fineness and elegance, only cuvées from the same grape are blended to make Burgundy wines; Pinot Noir for reds from northern Burgundy, Gamay from the Macon and Beaujolais regions.  Bordeaux wines (powerful and robust) derive their richness and complexity from savvy multi-varietal blending of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet France, but also in smaller quantities Petit Verdot and Malbec for the reds.

1995 Magnum on display in the tasting room of Château Pavie Macquin.

Why are Bordeaux and Burgundy bottles shaped differently… and why are wine bottles made to contain 75 centiliters?

In the 18thcentury the city of Bordeaux flourished through maritime trade with the colonial world of the time.  Back then, wine bottles did not have a standardized shape and their capacity depended on the manufacturers, making the job of commerce quite confusing. English traders based in Bordeaux had the idea of fixing their capacity at 75 cl to facilitate the calculation of barrels to bottles; a Bordeaux barrel making 225 liters, or 50 gallons, contains therefore 300 bottles and one gallon is equivalent to 6 bottles.  An English innovation that has imposed itself over time to become a mandatory European standard, with a few exceptions.

The English also invented the dark glass bottles and cork stoppers to better preserve the wine.  For exporting Bordeaux overseas, the angled bottles were cut to measure in order to be efficiently stored in the holds of boats. The elbow of the Bordeaux bottle was conceived to prevent the lees of the wine (yeast deposit at the bottom of the bottle) from running out when pouring.

Contrastingly, Burgundians maintain their own traditions – making “pieces”, as they are called – not “barrels”, of 228 liters (300 bottles).  Their king grape varieties, focused on the fruit, are aged in gently sloping bottles, aerodynamic and feminine.  Burgundy vineyards are delimited by “Clos” whereas Bordeaux vineyards are identified by “Castles”.  This tradition dates back to the Middle Ages when the monks in charge of cultivating the vines for the Bishopric surrounded the rows that gave the best wines by small stone walls.  Those areas became the Clos, of which the walls of Clos Vougeot are still visible today.

The town of Saint-Emilion seen from the King’s Tower, Gironde, France
Overview of the the rock-carved sanctuary, or Monolith, carved out in the 11th century, Place du Marche, Saint-Emilion, Gironde, France.
Collegiale Church of Saint-Emilion at sunset, Gironde, France.

Saint-Emilion is a very beautiful and impressive town with an exceptional 12th century gothic church, the Église Collégiale, and a spectacular monolithic church of gigantic proportions (38 meters long and 12 meters high).  The weather was sparkling and the tourist population was not at its peak, so we were able to stroll around and take photographs without interference.  I was impressed by the careful preservation of the buildings, steep cobblestone passageways and the Middle Ages / Tolkien feeling of it all. 

Family home at The Oaks of Macquin, part of Wine Estate Chateau Pavie Macquin.

We stayed with the Corre sisters in their ancestral home located on Les Chênes de Macquin (The Oaks of Macquin) vineyard, the second wine produced by Château Pavie-Macquin.  The traditional Bordelaise architecture of this stone edifice combined with its aging natural state made the experience all the more profound. A sunrise walk revealed golden rows of vines and a large heap of pressed grapes left over from harvest waiting to be retrieved for recycling. 

Sunrise over The Oaks of Macquin, part of Wine Estate Château Pavie Macquin.
Tractor and leftover pressed grapes at The Oaks of Macquin, part of Wine Estate Château Pavie Macquin.

After breakfast we headed off to visit the vineyards of Pavie-Macquin, situated on the highest and most prominent plateau of Saint-Emilion.  Encompassing 37 acres (15 hectares), average production of Pavie-Macquin is around 65,000 bottles for each vintage (primarily exported to the United States) – a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. 

Century oak trees at the Wine Estate Château Pavie Macquin.

The impressive hundred-year-old oak trees that border the property are visible from afar as are the vineyards clearly visible from the town of Saint-Emilion, within walking distance from the Château.  The “Château” is very modest compared to some, in the form of the original Bordelaise house recently renovated with a modern tasting room and accompanying apartment for guests.  

Château Pavie Macquin in Saint-Émilion.

Our visit coincided with the winding down of the harvest and most of the exterior activity had ceased to be replaced by vat work indoors.  Plans to increase the size of the wine production facility are in view, including the replacement of the oak vats for modern concrete ones.  Longtime manager Nicolas Thienpont and consulting oenologist Stéphane Derenoncourt are refining and modernizing the Château with new wine making techniques. We ate lunch in a lovely and functional new kitchen facility built next to the winery for the workers and decided to dine that evening in town.

Portrait next to the stele of Chateau-Pavie-Macquin

Visiting Pavie-Macquin with Agnès and Cécile Corre was a moving experience.  The vineyard setting and backdrop are not only noble but familiar and accessible on a human-scale.  The pioneering heritage of Albert Macquin shines through to this day with an eminence and humility right down to the crest that is their logo: two oaks leaves in honor of the hundred-year-old oaks on the property and a hangman’s noose in reminder of the dangers of excess.  (Agnès told me that an earlier version displaying three nooses and one oak leaf was modified by her grandmother who found the triple noose much too sinister!)

Wine labels for Château Pavie Macquin, Saint Emilion.

My tale ends with five of us at L’Envers du Décor (appropriately, Behind the Scenes) around a bottle of Château Pavie-Macquin 1er Grand Cru Classé and a bottle of Three Feathers Oregon Pinot Noir.  If you have ever had the chance to taste the former, you will know that it is an unforgettable experience from beginning to end.  A deep and complex nose, fruity and robust on the palate, long in the finish.  Having recuperated from the emotion of that bottle and commentary subsided, I served a round of Three Feathers Pinot Noir and waited in silence.

Primarily Bordeaux Pavie-Macquin drinkers, Agnès and Cécile raised their eyebrows and Agnès smiled.  She said that the wine had really evolved well since the 2016 vintage but felt that it needed to open up more in the glass.  I served her some more. Cécile drank her taste more quickly and said that it didn’t quite have the depth of a Bordeaux, but that it merited coming back to.  I served her some more and she did. The conversation continued about our wine and I felt myself relaxing. Where there is fire (conversation), there is a flame (spark) and if our Oregon Pinot Noir was good enough to set off a positive and constructive discussion with Pavie-Macquin drinkers, I could feel proud.

Elise Prudhomme with a bottle of 2017 Three Feathers Pinot Noir at L’Envers du Decor, Saint-Emilion.
Agnès Corre grabbing a few bottles of wine at Château Pavie Macquin.

While Pavie-Macquin and Three Feathers are like apples and oranges, a common point can be found in the passion transmitted when talking about our wines and the constant search of solutions to extract the best for our vineyards from the climate and the best juice for our wines from the terroir: rich, elegant and unique.

Slideshow

Why Moderate Consumption of Pinot Noir Could be Good for your Health

Elise StimacRed Wine, Resveratrol, Storytelling, Wine makingLeave a Comment

Three Feathers Pinot Noir beautiful legs and view over Torio Vin
Three Feathers Pinot Noir beautiful legs and view over Torio Vineyard
Beautiful legs and an overview of Three Feathers Torio Vineyard

I’ll drink to that! | Resveratrol and Pinot Noir

By Elise Prudhomme

Resveratrol has been studied and touted as powerful antioxidant since the 1970s.  In the 1990s, when scientists tried to explain how the French were able to eat rich, fatty foods like foie gras without suffering high incidences of cardiovascular disease (“The French Paradox”), resveratrol-rich red wine was thought to be the key.

Three Feathers partner Elise Prudhomme visits Saint Emilion, France
Elise Prudhomme perched on the wall of Château Canon 1er Grand Cru Classé (Saint Emilion, France) holding a bottle of Three Feathers 2017 Pinot Noir.

During a shopping expedition in downtown Las Vegas, we came upon a beauty stand promoting skin products made with resveratrol. This particular company has gone so far as to create a collection of beauty products based on different red grapes such as Merlot, Cabernet and Pinot Noir. We had yet to cross the barrier of trans-dermal application in our continuing education of this popular phenomenon.

Promotional panel for The Pinot Noir Collection by Vine Vera
Vine Vera – The Pinot Noir Collection – “slows the aging process by 20 years”!

Following a recent study report in Frontiers in Physiology, we now learn that humans traveling to Mars might benefit from a daily moderate supplementation of resveratrol to mitigate muscle impairment. When a Vietnamese acupuncturist told me that the Chinese often dip herbal plants in red wine before drying them for use in phytotherapy, I was prompted to publish an article on this passionate topic.

Resveratrol is a plant compound in the class of phytoalexins, and a stilbenoid or natural phenol, that is synthesized by plants such as grape vines, peanut plants, cocoa bushes, and berry producing shrubs from the Vaccinium family including blueberries, raspberries, mulberries and cranberries. When infected with bacteria or fungi, or harmed by cutting, crushing, or ultraviolet radiation, this compound is produced by the plant. Since red wine is fermented with crushed grapes, it is particularly high in resveratrol.

Remains of crushed grapes after wine production
Remains of crushed red grapes after wine production

Not all antioxidants are created equal. Resveratrol is unique because it can cross the blood-brain barrier, or the membrane that helps protects the brain and nervous system, as an active inhibitor of both inflammation and oxidative stress. Diverse studies over the past 30 years have suggested resveratrol as a blood pressure reducer, lipid oxidation minimizer and preventer (increasing the good levels of HDL and reducing the bad levels of LDL), brain protector (particularly Alzheimer’s) and anticancer agent (by increasing glutathione levels, preventing cancer cells from replicating and spreading).

It has been said that supplementation by extraction of resveratrol from the plant is a more efficient method of absorption than eating red grapes and drinking red wine; however, scientific studies on the therapeutic impact of resveratrol supplements remain, so far, inconclusive.

Pinot Noir table grapes ripening at Three Feathers
Pinot Noir table grapes ripening at Three Feathers

In the meantime, we do know for a fact that wines such as Malbec, Petite Syrah, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir have the highest resveratrol content. For those who enjoy red wine or red grapes, the palatable prospect of a drinking glass of red or a munching on a fresh cluster of Pinot Noir grapes combined with potential health benefits outweighs swallowing a gelatin covered pill. I’ll drink to that!

Enjoying a glass of Three Feathers 2017 Pinot Noir
Enjoying a glass of Three Feathers 2017 Pinot Noir

Join Three Feathers at the 27th Annual McMinnville Wine & Food Classic – SIP!

Elise Stimac2016, 2017, 2018, Awards, Events, Our Wines, Red Wine, Special Wine Purchase Offers, Vintages, White WinesLeave a Comment

McMinnville Wine & Food Classic SIP at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum from March 13 -15, 2020.
McMinnville Wine & Food Classic SIP at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum from March 13 -15, 2020.

Join us for the McMinnville 27th Annual Wine & Food Classic – SIP on March 13 – 14 – 15, 2020

Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum
Friday, March 13th | 3 – 9 pm
 Saturday, March 14th | 11 am – 8 pm
Sunday, March 15th | 12 – 5 pm

Three Feathers Estate – BOOTH 144
Tasting fee $4

Three Feathers is thrilled to participate for a second year in the 27th annual McMinnville Wine & Food Classic – SIP! at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.  We will be offering tastings of all of Pinot Noirs, including :

2018 and 2017 Three Feathers Cuvée Virginia and
2016 and 2017 Three Feathers Pinot Noir
for only 4$.

This event is a rare opportunity to sample delicious Burgundy and to taste and purchase our wines which are exclusively available online.  We look forward to sharing our production with you!

Three Feathers Wines at Hall Street Tavern & Grill

Elise Stimac2016, 2017, 2018, Local Venues, Red Wine, Vintages, White Wines, Wine DistributionLeave a Comment

Three Feathers wines are now proudly poured at Hall Street Tavern and Grill in downtown Beaverton, Oregon.

Three Feathers Wines served at Hall Street Tavern & Grill in Beaverton, OR

We are now being poured at Hall Street Tavern and Grill, 8220 SW Hall Blvd, Beaverton, OR 97008.

They are featuring Three Feathers 2016 Pinot, 2017 Pinot, 2017 Cuvée Virginia and our 2018 Blanc de Noirs.

Their menu features Dinner Specials Thursday – Brisket done “just right”, Thanksgiving every Friday and a fabulous slab of Prime Rib every Saturday Night.

For reservations, call 503-430-1488.

Three Feathers at Taste of Temple 2020 | Thank you & Purchase Reminder

Elise StimacEvents, Local Venues, Wine making, Wine TastingLeave a Comment

Three Feathers pouring wine during the 2020 Taste of Temple with Congregation Beth Israel at Castaway in downtown Portland, Oregon.

Three Feathers at Taste of Temple 2020 | Thanks to All – Purchase Reminder

Three Feathers was thrilled to participate in Taste of Temple 2020 in downtown Portland yesterday! We extend our Thanks to Congregation Beth Israel for inviting us to participate and to all of you who stopped by our table to taste.

Attendees and ticket holders have until Thursday, February 23rd to call of visit the Taste of Temple website to order our wine.

Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce and French-cut Green Beans

Elise Stimac2017, Our Wines, Pairing, Recipes, Red WineLeave a Comment

Presentation of a seared duck breast recipe with cherry Pinot Noir sauce and french-cut green beans

Duck breasts are a favorite poultry alternative to chicken in our family, so we are always on the lookout for them at the butcher. Farm-raised duck is more tender than wild duck and can be eaten medium rare like lamb. When our cherry tree is ripe with fruit, it is a good time to pull out this recipe which pairs beautifully with our 2017 Pinot Noir or 2017 Cuvée.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce and French-cut Green Beans

Ingredients

  • 4 duck breast halves, with skin about 1 1/2 pounds
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped shallots or onions
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 cups of Pinot Noir wine
  • 2 cups of cherries (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tablespoons salted butter
  • 1 pound French-cut green beans
  • Salt and ground black pepper
seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut
Ingredients for the Cherry Pinot Noir sauce

Prepare the Cherry Pinot Noir Sauce

In a small saucepan heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot and sauté until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and sauté a minute more, being careful not to burn.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Add the cherries and simmer over medium heat until mixture reduces by half and cherries are softened.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Raise heat to medium-high and pour the vinegar into the saucepan.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Bring to a low boil and cook for 5 minutes to reduce the liquid and thicken it slightly.

Add the Pinot Noir wine and cook again for 8 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Prepare the French-cut Green Beans

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Trim both ends of the beans with a paring knife, or snap off. Carefully split each bean in half lengthwise with a paring knife.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Boil water and pour over beans to cover.  Blanch for about 2 to 3 minutes, or until the beans are still a little bit crunchy. Strain the beans.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Toss with the tablespoon of butter. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

Sear the Duck Breasts

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

With a sharp knife, score the skin of each duck breast in a crosshatch pattern, taking care to not cut into the flesh. Season the duck with 1/4 teaspoon of the salt and a dash of pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.

Place the breasts, skin-side down, in the skillet and cook for 8 minutes; the skin should be deep golden brown.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Turn the breasts and cook for 3 minutes (for medium rare), or longer.

Transfer the breasts to a heatproof dish and place in the oven to keep warm.

Remove duck breasts from the oven and cut on a diagonal into 1/2-inch (1.25 cm) slices. Arrange the duck slices around the beans and spoon the cherry sauce over and around the duck.

seared duck breasts with cherry pinot noir sauce and french-cut

Serve with your favorite bottle of Three Feathers Pinot Noir (white or red)!

Winter in the Vineyard

Elise StimacVineyard, Wine makingLeave a Comment

Snow covered ground after pruning at Three Feathers 2019
Snow covered ground after pruning at Three Feathers 2019

Winter in the Vineyard | Starting the 2020 Season

February is here once again and we are starting work on the 2020 Vineyard Season. The temperatures have been above freezing most of the winter. We have had moderate precipitation until January when rains came in earnest and temporarily flooded the area. I would say overall the rain is adequate to keep everyone from worries about drought this summer.

Pruning Torio Vineyard in the rain on January 29, 2020.
Pruning Torio Vineyard in the rain on January 29, 2020.
The plants look strong there and in many cases the vines complet

We started pruning at Torio Vineyard on January 29. The plants look strong there and in many cases the vines completely fill the wire forecasting abundance for the coming year. I feel gratified that our work last year looks to be paying off. Grape vines store nutrients for the next season in the summer and fall of the previous year so it takes a year or two to turn plants around.

Gas fired tortilla cooker to make a hot lunch during wintertime
Gas fired tortilla cooker to make a hot lunch during wintertime pruning.

Workers arrived before dawn so that they could begin at first light – 7:30 AM here on the mountain. I was charmed to see, at lunch, that one man had a gas fired tortilla cooker to make his hot lunch in the pouring rain that they worked in all day. These skilled workers determine the outcome of the season and are much appreciated.

The smaller plants of Pinot Noir; Precoce , Dijon 115, and Pinot Gris that were planted in 2014 – 2015, should be producing a harvest this year and I look forward to the resulting wines.

Still shot from drone footage of Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Moun
Still shot from drone footage of Torio Vineyard on Chehalem Mountains © Chris Hunt

We are currently working on labels for our 2018 Reserve 667 and 2019 Blanc de Noirs that are scheduled to be bottled in April. We will be barrel tasting soon and also tasting the 2019 Pinot Noir. Stay tuned for the results.

Three Feathers 2018 Blanc de Noirs wins Silver!

Elise Stimac2018, Awards, Our Wines, White Wines, Wine making, Wine TastingLeave a Comment

Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs 2018
Three Feathers Cuvée Virginia 2017 - Silver Medal Winner in the McMinnville Wine & Food Classic SIP 2019

Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs 2018, our first still white wine made from estate grown Pinot Noir grapes on Chehalem Mountains; Three Feathers Torio Vineyard, received a Silver Medal in this year’s McMinnville Wine & Food Classic!

Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs 2018
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs 2018

The 27th annual Mac Classic Wine Competition was held in McMinnville on January 11, 2020 and featured a panel of 16 industry judges including wine buyers and writers such as Otto Han of New Seasons Market, Michael Alberty at The Oregonian and Eric Degerman of Great Northwest Wine.

Come and visit our stand during the McMinnville Wine & Food Classic – SIP event from March 13-15, 2020 at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum.

The Three Feathers team poses for a portrait during the McMinnville Wine & Food Classic SIP on March 8, 2019.
The Three Feathers team poses for a portrait during the McMinnville Wine & Food Classic SIP on March 8, 2019.


Living with the Wildlife | Part 2

Elise StimacFarm Life, Storytelling, WildlifeLeave a Comment

A bottle of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs at the lake in Oregon summer 2019
Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs for Oregon summer picnics by the l
A bottle of Three Feathers Blanc de Noirs at our man-made two acre lake

Living with the Wildlife | Part 2

Three Feathers is blessed with an abundance of water. We have two, year-round springs on the property. The main spring fills the man-made two acre lake that is used to irrigate during dry summers. We also use it for recreation after long days of hot work haying or working on the vines. The water is always refreshing and our dock allows for hours of fun.

The second spring was once used as drinking water for the farm house. They had an elaborate system between the well and the spring that they could switch back and forth. The spring creates a small pond, filled with willows, reeds and other aquatics near our planting of Pinot Gris.

I am sure that we are not the only ones using all of this water. The main pond has a large colony of salamanders and crawdads. There is always the occasional duck family, heron, kingfishers and flocks of swallows in the summer. Of course deer, and sightings of bear and bobcat. And recently a few goldfish, gone “native”, are flashing occasionally yellow or white under the surface.

A rare crawdad sighting

In the past two years we have had a couple of not so welcome guests. The telltale signs of a beaver started showing up in the spillway. There are many beavers on the mountain and we have had several dams at another sites on our property.

This one must have tracked the overflow from the pond and settled in along the bank. As long as the water was high we did not see any signs of beaver activity but as soon as we removed the sluice gate to allow excess rainwater to flow out during the winter the level dropped and it instinctively started to try to keep the level high by peeling sticks with its teeth and placing them across the mouth of the overflow. No matter how many times we remove the debris the “busy beaver” comes back and puts in more sticks.

Beaver activity in the spillway

This summer our foreman told me that there was a mystery creature in the smaller pond. Trails leading in and out of the water – occasional brief sightings and chattering noises – but nothing identifiable. Then trees started to fall. No longer a mystery – another beaver! This one has an easier time of it and he has blocked up the flow of water raising the level of the pond to overflowing into the vineyard. This is not funny anymore!

We’re not sure what the solution is but I doubt there is a chance for peaceful coexistence. My next question is do beavers chew on grape vines?

Cetacean Stranding
Cetacean Stranding, from the series Wild Wild West © Elise Prudhomme

Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

Elise StimacEvents, Special Wine Purchase Offers, Wine TastingLeave a Comment

Season's Greetings 2018 from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.  Celebrating the New Year 2019 with a decorative table and Three Feathers Pinot Noir.
Season's Greetings 2018 from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard.  Celebrating the New Year 2019 with a decorative table and Three Feathers Pinot Noir.
Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

Season’s Greetings from Three Feathers Estate & Vineyard

Three Feathers wishes all of you a fabulous Holiday Season and a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Join us during Wine Country Thanksgiving from Friday to Sunday at Lady Hill Winery in Saint Paul to celebrate over a wine tasting and Event Only Special Offer!