Trium Wine is Retiring
I asked Laura Lotspeich, owner of Trium Wines and Pheasant Hill Vineyard, what inspired her to open a vineyard. “It was two bottles of great southern Oregon wine and a flash of insanity.”
When Laura and Kurt decided to move to Oregon to be close to family they started looking for property. “We knew we wanted to be involved in agriculture and then viticulture became the focus. We looked for five years before we found this beautiful hillside in Talent. Right aspect, slope, elevation, access to irrigation, soil and of course views and great town. Talent is home to some of the best grapes grown in our appellation.”
Trium’s first wine was produced in 2003 and released in 2005, their tasting room opened the following year.
“When we founded Trium there were three couples: Nancy Tappen and Vernon Hixon, Rebecca and Randy Gold, and Kurt and myself.
“After the vineyard came into production we sold all of the fruit for several years and Kurt just made wine for us to share with family and friends. We stepped that up with our partners to start Trium and see just how well we could follow the fruit production with the wine making. Kurt’s background in chemistry was very beneficial as well as his winemaking. Randy had made wine with him for years as well. Randy and Rebecca, Nancy and Vernon all shared our same philosophy about making the best wine without compromise. Their many years of viticulture experience were invaluable in that regard.”
Over the course of several years Kurt and Laura bought their partners out, and the focus became just fruit from the vineyard at Pheasant Hill. As the years passed, they expanded plantings and added varieties both for their own wine and for other wineries. “We were one of the first vineyards in southern Oregon to be live certified for sustainable farming practices. We have continued to follow the best and softest farming we can to maintain the soil and environment for both this and future generations. What never changed was our dedication to producing wines that were the best reflection of southern Oregon quality and uniqueness.”
But after having been in the wine industry since 1989, Laura is ready for a change. “My husband Kurt and I had talked about retirement several years ago for when he retired from flying. Unfortunately he became ill with an aggressive brain cancer and passed away before he had the chance to retire. Without his enthusiasm and support as my partner in the winery, it has become less alluring. This is a demanding business requiring passion and dedication everyday. I am ready to refocus some of that on being a grandma, travel and being on the other side of the tasting room bar and just savoring the wine.”
They will continue to farm the vineyard as always with sustainable practices, sell fruit to other wineries, and Laura’s son Dustin, who has been farming it for the past six years, will continue their tradition of excellence in producing southern Oregon fruit.
Currently the vineyard is 17.5 acres with fruit sold to wineries here in the Rogue Valley, north to the Willamette Valley and out of state. They grow merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, grenache, zinfandel, tempranillo and pinot gris.
“I loved our very first Growers’ Cuve’e,” Laura reflected. “It took a platinum medal in the professional judging at Greatest of the Grape and got us started on the road in high quality wine production. My second favorite was the 2009 cabernet sauvignon: an especially luxurious cabernet in a great growing year. It is hard not to love our white wines every year…they have loads of fruit and reflect the southern Oregon region perfectly. Unfortunately we have sold out of all of our whites for this year already.
“I loved sharing the wine with folks who came to the tasting room,” Larua continued. “Many have become great friends and I will miss seeing them as often. Some of the best experiences were with folks coming in to try wine for the first time. It was also great fun to share with folks discovering southern Oregon for the first time. Directing them to many of our wonderful restaurants, music venues, outdoor adventures and sometimes just sitting on the patio with them and pointing out what was in the view.
“But I have to say I wont miss answering that first question as folks come through the door ‘How did you get into this amazing romantic business?’ It is amazing, however, it is also hard work, hot and sweaty, cold and rainy, and never ending. The perception that we get to sit under a tree and sip wine all day is not quite accurate. I appreciated their interest, but I ran out of ways to tell the story so I didn’t get tired of telling it over and over.”
Laura will continue to assist Dustin in small ways with the vineyard, but also plans to travel to visit friends and the other wine regions of the world, spend time being grandma to an adorable granddaughter, and work on the garden.
“The winery label will retire with me. Leaving a legacy of consistent quality production and southern Oregon uniqueness is quite enough for me.”
Trium is selling the remainder of their production of the cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, Growers’ Cuve’e and rose›. They are open regular hours Thursday through Monday 11-5:30. The planned closing date is September 9 (unless they sell out of wine earlier than that). If there is remaining wine, it will continue to be available through their local distributor, Summit Beverage, in Phoenix.
“Come out and see us, have some wine, make some memories and take home a bottle or more for the future.”