Vineyards: 12 acres (increasing at a rate of 5-8 acres/year)
Hood River Vineyards was founded in 1981 by Cliff and Eileen Blanchette in the Hood River Valley, high above the Columbia River. They specialized in locally grown grape wines (especially reds) and fruit wines.
In mid-1993, Bernie and Anne Lerch moved to the Hood River area, planning to start an orchard. Bernie was a molecular biologist with a PhD in chemistry who had tired of the long hours and lack of hands-on work that his career was demanding of him. After meeting Cliff Blanchette and learning of the Oregon wine industry from him, the Lerches decided to buy Hood River Vineyards from the Blanchettes, who were planning to retire to their sailboat. Bernie had been making wine at home since he was 14 years old, and quickly took to the business. He is still trying experimental varieties in the area, trying to see what works, not content to accept what has been traditionally done. Over the next few years, the Lerches plan to experiment with more Rhone and northern Italian varietals, as well as more blended wines.
The Wines: Current releases (Spring 1997)
Cliff Blanchette 1981-1993
Bernie Lerch 1993-present
Of special note:
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