Their love of wine and their joy of sustainable farming led Dina and Duane Barker to explore how they could grow wine grapes on their five-acres in Bend, Oregon.
Already successful business partners with their company Brilliance in Branding, Dina and Duane delved into researching what grape varietals would successfully grow on their land at 3,400’ elevation and survive the cold winters. They knew they wanted grape varietals that had a late bud break and an early harvest.
They planted Marechal Foch and pinot noir in 2012. Only three of the 20 pinot noir plants survived. The Marechal Foch flourished. In 2014, they added La Crescent, Brianna and Marquette and planted more Marechal Foch. The Barkers have converted their property that was mostly sagebrush, lava rocks with incredible outcroppings and unusable slopes into an amazing vineyard with more than 4,000 vines. They plan to plant more vines in the spring of 2021.
They said the greatest challenge of growing grapes is having patience, because it takes about five years for the vines to produce good fruit to make commercial-level wine. In 2017, they took their first harvest to a winemaker.
In 2020, Lava Terrace Cellars entered their first two wine competitions resulting in six medals and international recognition.
At the 2020 Sunset International Wine Competition, Lava Terrace Cellars received silver medals for its 2017 Barrel Aged Marechal Foch and 2018 La Crescent. The 2020 San Francisco International Wine Competition awarded silver medals for its 2018 Reserve – One Barrel Marechal Foch and 2019 Marquette, and bronze medals for its 2018 and 2019 La Crescent.
Duane and Dina Barker are thrilled with the recognition for their handcrafted wines. “This journey to be the first winery in Bend has been a great deal of hard work to establish and grow these unique grape varietals,” Duane said. “Receiving the recognition for our first entry into a wine competition validates our work and encourages us to keep pursuing our goals to grow high-quality grapes that make outstanding wines.”
What motivates Dina and Duane to dedicate countless hours to their vision is the joy of sharing their wine with others.
“We are excited to have people visit our vineyard and experience how we are growing grapes,” Duane said. “We believe the more people know about our work in the vineyard, they more they will enjoy our unique wines.”