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Welcome to a little bit of Italy in Hood River at Marchesi Vineyards.
Marchesi Vineyards is the result of owner, Franco Marchesi's passion for Italian wines. Born in Italy in the Northwestern Piemonte region, Franco came to the U.S. in 1977 via a cruise ship where he was working as a sommelier on board. He was able to travel the world over and visit many interesting wine regions and settled in Oregon in 2001. During this travel, Franco was able to continue to educate himself on fine wines, varietals, and most importantly, develop a palate that has been instrumental in his profession in the wine industry for over 40 years.
The property where Marchesi Vineyards now lives was once an apple orchard; abandoned when Francho purchased it in 2003. A lot of love and determination went into turning the location into a producing vineyard. The vineyard started with plantings of Barbera, Dolcetto, and Pinot Grigio and then Pinot Noir -- not Italian style but because Franco likes the wine. All wines are available from the tasting room in Hood River at 3955 Belmont Dr. Visit 11am-6pm daily May-November; Dec-April weekends only.
The vineyard rests on a south-facing slope in the Hidden Valley off Dry Hollow Lane a few miles out of The Dalles, Oregon.
Ten acres of Merlot and five acres of Syrah grow in the clay, sandstone and basalt laden soil. The vineyard sits adjacent to a red barn that supported a dairy farm at the turn of the century. Bob and Barbara Bailey bought the land in the early seventies, converting the site from alfalfa to apples then to cherries and finally in 1999 to vines. Cherries still grow alongside the vines perhaps infusing their favors into the grapes.
Pearblossom Vineyards was planted in 2009, fulfilling a lifelong dream for owners Laszlo and Julie Regos. After careers as a Hollywood cameraman (Laszlo) and a pharmaceutical company executive (Julie) we are fully enjoying our new roles as viticulturists growing superb wine grapes that go into many locally made wines, as well as wines made as far away as Colorado and California's Napa Valley.
The vineyard is on 18 acres of former pear orchard, located at 1200' on the south facing slope of Underwood Mountain, an extinct volcano overlooking the spectacular Columbia Gorge. We are the westernmost vineyard in the Columbia Gorge AVA., and our grape varieties, Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Pinot Noir and Gruner Veltliner are all considered cool climate varietals.
The terroir of the vineyard, a combination of the volcanic soil, the deep roots of the dry farmed (non-irrigated) vines, the warm summer days that ripen the grapes and the cool summer nights that preserve the acidity Underwood Mountain is known for, all add up to grapes that make delicious wines.