Agro-Tourism Booms with Faith, Hope & Charity Vineyards Leading the Way


by RENEE PATRICK Cascade Business News Feature Writer

The brain-child of Cindy and Roger Grossmann, the vineyard resulted from their vision of a strong network of enterprises based on the unique aspects of the area: natural beauty, agriculture and the perfect soil for their hybrid grapes.

Nestled in a canyon of rolling farm land with views of the Cascade Mountains, Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards has been building a strong base of agro-tourism in Central Oregon since opening their tasting room last year. The brain-child of Cindy and Roger Grossmann, the vineyard resulted from their vision of a strong network of enterprises based on the unique aspects of the area: natural beauty, agriculture and the perfect soil for their hybrid grapes

“It’s the beginning of a new industry,” said Cindy. “It brings a lot of tourism; it’s good for Central Oregon and good for agriculture. A vineyard is a value-added crop.”

The Grossmann’s master plan for the winery is extensive: on their 315 acres the couple will be building a guest ranch with several lodging options, more extensive vineyards, a full-scale winery, amphitheater, spa, restaurant and more. The project is taking their growth in stride, with plans to move forward on their projects as support, investors and time allows. The property also offers six five-acre residentially zoned plots and a 116 acre parcel that the Grossmanns believe would be perfect for another vineyard.

“Building the winery will be the first piece of a full activity destination in our beautiful spot; we lay in a deep canyon looking right up at the Three Sisters and Broken Top. The vineyards will be labor intensive to put in, but with a great return in the end… It has been very successful already, we have progressed well in a short time,” she said.

The Grossmanns have been entrenched in the tourism industry from an early age. Cindy grew up on a resort in Minnesota where she met Roger when he came to work at the location. The couple has worked in hospitality and sales for most of their career and since 1980 have been in contracting and development. They bought the farm knowing that they were going to make something unique in Central Oregon.

Cindy started on her quest to learn all she could about the wine industry seven years ago. She started going to seminars and taking classes in Napa and the Willamette Valleys. “I worked with Patty Skinkis, assistant professor and viticulture extension specialist at OSU; Chris Lake, the director of the Southern Oregon Wine Institute; and Vineyard Manager of the Ranch at the Canyons in Terrebonne, Kerry Damon…We surrounded ourselves with knowledge,” she explained.

Her research led her to the hybrid grape, a cold hardy fruit that ripens early and fits well into Central Oregon’s short growing season. “The hybrid grapes were researched through University of Minnesota and Cornell University; the cuttings came out of New York and we have eight varieties: four reds and four whites.

“The sandy and gravelly soil is good for them, it is a very well draining soil and we can get a deep root base very easily. We control our water through a drip system, and have overhead irrigation for frost protection,” Cindy explained.

The first cuttings were planted in 2010, and since the hybrids are quick growing, the first harvest should be ready in 2013; typical cuttings take five years to mature, and the first few years are devoted to growing a deep root system. “If we grow the roots, then the vines will be long lasting,” she said. “The other nice thing about Central Oregon is the dryness, we don’t have mold and mildew issues here or the insects. It’s a very natural system.”

Until their fruit can be harvested, the couple purchase grapes from Monkey Face Vineyard at Ranch at the Canyons and source grapes out of the Dalles for their merlot and cabernet wines. The wine is crushed and pressed by Linda Donovan in Southern Oregon and bottled under the Faith, Hope and Charity label; a process that will move to the Faith, Hope and Charity property when the full-scale winery is built.

“The big winery will go into the farm when we have enough production to support it, it’s a very nice master plan and a large project. All production will be gravity-fed, energy conscious and sustainable, and the top floor will have a tasting room, reception center for events and will have beautiful views of the mountains.

“We are ready to start building the guest ranch and are looking for investors. We can build that out in 18 months probably…There has a lot of interest in events, weddings, meetings and most people are asking for housing options.”

The Grossmanns have hosted visitors from all over Central Oregon, the U.S. and even international travelers. “It doesn’t hurt that Central Oregon is a good tourism area; Lower Bridge attracts tourists, and we do a lot with Crescent Moon Ranch, an near-by alpaca ranch, and Rain Shadow Organics. It is an agro-tourism area…the traffic has been amazing.”

Cindy explains her hope is that Faith, Hope and Charity will blaze the route for others interested in the agro-tourism industry in the area. With a full calendar of year-round events at the vineyard, the developing winery is creating a truly unique hot-spot in Central Oregon.

“We want the local communities to know this is your winery. You can walk in the vineyards, listen to music, go on hay rides and carol in the winter.” The introduction of Thirsty Thursdays each week has been very popular. The weekly event will run year round and feature live music, happy hour pricing on wines, complimentary h’ordorves and a food cart for hardier fare. Check out their Facebook page for more information on coming events like Octoberfest, an amateur wine making competition, a Halloween masquerade party and more.

“We work night and day and will be looking forward to some partnerships and investors so we can see the light of day,” Cindy said. An internship program will be developed along with the other amenities on the vineyard and will offer guests a chance to work on the farm, with the animals, the chef, in the vineyard or with the winemaker.

The possibilities are endless for Faith, Hope and Charity as they blaze the way for a new industry in Central Oregon.

Faith, Hope and Charity Vineyards and Events, 70455 NW Lower Bridge Way, Terrebonne, OR 97760, 541-526-5075. Tasting Room Hours: 12pm-5pm Daily.


About Author

Renee is the Art Director for Cascade Publications, and Editor for Cascade A&E Magazine.

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