StoneRiver Vineyard

Paul and Virginia Lange sold home-grown peaches from an antique barn before starting StoneRiver Vineyard in 2002. The barn has become their new tasting room.

"It's really great because we used to be an orchard, and I sold peaches out of there," Virginia Lange says. "It was nice because I got to meet lots and lots of people, and I missed that. I still get people that recognize me from the peaches."

The Langes have lived for about 26 years on the property at 2178 Pioneer Road in Talent, which boasted the old barn from the beginning.

"Our property is the oldest, registered farm in this area," Virginia Lange says. "It was called Brookbank Farms, and it was registered (in) 1914."

Recently, the couple added a jukebox, shuffleboard and piano to the tasting room, so folks can stay a while and maybe take in a game or dance over their glasses of wine. "I tell everybody come on out; bring your friends!" Lange says. "That was kind of our goal was to have people relax. Whatever they've got on, it doesn't matter with us."

Lange says a family of four came in recently and had a good time playing tunes on the jukebox and taking turns on the shuffleboard. "Even if you don't know how to play, it's still fun," Lange says. "It's kind of a no-brainer type of game' it's pretty simple."

Between 2004 and 2005, the Langes took out the orchard and expanded their vineyard. "I decided I couldn't do fruit anymore. It was too labor-intensive. I'm too old to do that," Virginia Lange says. So in July, the Langes overhauled the old peach-selling barn in time for the Bear Creek Boutique Wineries passport event.

"We're planning on some more events next year," Virginia Lange says. "There was under 200 people, and folks liked that because they didn't have to fight the crowd."

Lange and her daughter-in-law staff the tasting room, pouring 2003 Merlot and Syrah. Mostly the Langes have sold their grapes to other local wineries, but this year they are keeping more for themselves. StoneRiver has plans for five new varietals: chardonnay, pinot gris, viognier, tempranillo and rose.

"We have a 2004 merlot, which we haven't put the label on yet," Lange says. "We're going to try and do that maybe sometime in the coming year."

Although many local wineries close seasonally for the winter, StoneRiver's tasting room will remain open weekends only from noon to 5 p.m. until April, when it opens again five days a week.

Since Aurora Vines across the street from StoneRiver closed for the winter, Lange has offered tastes of her neighbor's wines.

Wine lovers can expect to taste a pinot gris from EdenVale made with the Langes' grapes, StoneRiver's own merlot and syrah and Aurora Vines' three vintages of merlot. According to Virginia Lange, StoneRiver gets its name from an old river that flowed through where the vineyard now lies.

"Our soil has tons and tons of rocks. Indians used to camp along there," Lange says. "Three or four owners ago, they used to find lots and lots of Indian artifacts when they tilled through here."

So many that Lange says the former owners would put artifacts on a wooden trough, so visitors buying fruit could pick a souvenir to take home, as well. For a new winery, the land has a lot of history, Lange says.

"I wouldn't want to live anywhere else."

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