Pat and Jackie Dukes - Owners Life on a vineyard is a significant departure from our younger, formative years together in the city, but, represents the next step in our amazing journey through life. Having been married for more than 28 years, we raised two wonderful children (Tom and Alyssa) both now off on their own. Starting a winery and moving on to the vineyard seemed like an excellent opportunity for us to turn a new chapter in our lives together. Our friends accuse us of working through our mid-life crisis together.
In July, 2008 we moved onto the vineyard to live amongst the vines. We have found that life on the vineyard is a great deal of work, but highly rewarding as the vineyard takes shape over the season. You are never at a loss for something to keep you busy as the list of projects on the vineyard seems to grow by the day. Our two dogs (Pinot and Pearl) love Oregon and can be found most days in the vineyards chasing small fury creatures or swimming in the pond.
In 2008 construction was completed on two significant projects at the vineyard; (i) the 2.5 acre reservoir just below the northern vineyard expansions blocks, and (ii) demolition and reconstruction of the historic (1870 vintage) barn that will eventually be the home of the Dukes Family Vineyards winery. Managing the vineyard transformation and expansion from Arizona was quite the challenge. It is so much more enjoyable overseeing the day-to-day vineyard and winery operations first hand. We continue to utilize an experienced and highly qualified team to assist with the vineyard management and winemaking process, while providing a mentoring spirit. The team members are all at the top of their respective fields and each embrace a passion and absolute dedication to quality in everything that they do. Each and every member of the team is completely focused on producing truly exceptional Pinot Noir.
With Gary Andrus's declining health in 2008, we began the search for a new winemaking consultant to assist with the day to day oversight of the 2008 vintage. We met Kelly through a friend while she was working as the assistant wine maker for Lemelson Vineyards. We were impressed with her approach and creativity. Kelly is an exciting, talented and passionate young wine maker. Kelly strives for the expression of the vineyard and vintage in her winemaking. Her style is hands off while remaining attentive to detail in every step in the process and thereby intervening only when necessary. Kelly’s focus is on balance. With balance you achieve elegance and finesse which is her definition of a great pinot noir.
We had previously worked with Kelly on two small production, special projects (crafting our single barrel fermentation Nipple Hill pinot noirs in 2006 and 2007). These wines are proving to be exceptional. With the 2008 vintage, we were pleased that she agreed to assume responsibility for the oversight of all winemaking operations.
Kelly Kidneigh moved to the Willamette Valley in 1998 with her eye on winemaking. She began her journey as a harvest intern at WillaKenzie Estate. The internship evolved into the vineyard and after a year with the vines she continued her enological exploration with David Lett at Eyrie, as well as a stint at Torii Mor, and Tyee Cellars while pursuing her BS in fermentation science from OSU. Upon graduation, Kelly accepted a position as an Assistant Winemaker at Lemelson Vineyards.
January (2009) Gary Andrus, with whom we worked side by side with during his role as wine making consultant, mentor and confidant, passed away from complications of pneumonia. Gary was a powerful influence in the Oregon wine making industry and was instrumental in our development of Dukes Family Vineyards. Without his insight and guidance we wouldn’t be where we are today. As indicated by his daughter Danielle, “we believe he has moved onto a better place and is catching big fish from the rivers in the sky”. Gary will be missed.
Stirling Fox, Stirling Wine Grape, LLC (SWiG)
SWiG is a highly experienced and dynamic emerging organization managing high quality vineyards for wineries and site owners in the North Willamette Valley. Stirling Fox, Owner of SWiG, has a bachelors degree in Food and Wine Sciences from Oregon State University with more than 25 years experience in Oregon viticulture. Through this experience, he has gained a thorough understanding of western Oregon viticulture and especially the factors affecting the quality of Pinot Noir clones and varietals.
Stirling is committed to progressive, precise and quality-oriented vineyard management practices. He is a strong advocate of sustainable farming practices through the internationally certified LIVE program (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Salmon Safe farming practices. He has been an active member of LIVE since its inception and has served as the program’s past president.