October 31, 2023 Posted in Sustainability, Vineyard, Winemaking, Wines

The Croft Family Connection

Croft Vineyard has been a King Estate vineyard partner since the mid-1990s. Nobody knows exactly when the formal relationship began because the connection goes back to the 1970s, when Ed King and Chancy Croft both practiced law in Alaska. Ed made his way to Oregon and, with his father, founded King Estate Winery in 1991. Chancy stayed in Alaska but bought the 70-acre vineyard in Dallas, Ore., in 1985.

King Estate and Croft Team Up

Ten years later their paths crossed once again, when King Estate bought its first fruit from this quintessential Oregon vineyard. King Estate has been the primary purchaser of Croft’s grapes ever since. “It’s a very positive, symbiotic relationship,” says Lee Croft, Chancy’s son who manages the vineyard with his wife, Terri. Chancy passed away in 2022.

Lee Croft, 2023. Photo by Andy Nelson

In addition to the family connection, Croft and King Estate share a commitment to sustainability. Croft is farmed organically and follows premium viticultural practices that optimize the quality of the site.

Croft Pinot Noir destined for King Estate. Photo by Andy Nelson

Finally, there is Ray Nuclo, King Estate’s Director of Viticulture since 2013 and former Croft Vineyard Manager from 2005 until 2012. The relationship began in 1998, when Ray worked harvest with renowned vintner Dai Crisp, Croft’s vineyard manager at the time.

A Special Site Produces Special Wines

The Croft site was a plum and cherry orchard before becoming a vineyard. It has 56 acres planted in Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Gamay Noir, Cabernet Franc, Tempranillo and Viognier.

These Croft wines will be in the Tower Club release in November 2023. Photo by Andy Nelson

At 400 feet elevation sitting on Bellpine soils, the southeast-facing site has a microclimate that is well suited to growing grapes. “The afternoon winds protect the grapes from excessive heat and any morning rain,” Lee explains. As a warmer site, Croft complements King Estate well because in a cooler year it provides riper grapes, and in a wet year Croft is usually able to harvest before the rains fall. Year after year the vineyard produces outstanding fruit that King Estate’s winemakers turn into delicious wines that are always a Tasting Room and club member favorite.