Ledger David Cellars – Vineyard and Winery in Southern Oregon

Petit Verdot, Uncle Donald & Bobcat, Oh-my!

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By Owners Lena Varner and David Traul

Never a dull moment. Seriously. The typical “busy-ness” of a family with small children, careers and the unyielding entrepreneurial spirit. Still, some experiences at Varner-Traul vineyards have been a bit unique even for country living. The recent visit of Uncle Donald (David’s brother), allowed us to gain this insight at the end of May as we reflected back to recent events.

A brief recap, perhaps? Starting with the addition of our youngest and first little girl, Hudson Jo, during harvest of 2014. Yes, October 17th. Near the end of harvest, and for us, almost a tradition following in the footsteps of her oldest brother Ledger, who was born during our first harvest in October 2009. Her first ride on a tractor, bundled up next to mommy at just a week old. Her first visit to the winery only a few days later.


Uncle Donald, David and baby girl Hudson Jo tour the vineyard.

Next, Petit Verdot, a stubborn grape came in last during the harvest of 2014. With our first vintage (2013) varietal being released this month, we have grown to love David’s few rows of this wine grape in our vineyard. A truly opulent wine.

Harvest ended abruptly after the red varietals were in as a black bear and her cub cleaned up several tons of late harvest white fruit (mainly Chenin Blanc). Luckily we had picked some Malvasia Bianca for our newest dessert wine production. Still those grand paw prints, and holes under the fence (large one for mother, small for baby) were amazing to see. Even more impressive the bears’ ability to devour rows of fruit overnight, without disturbing the vines, as polite as they were.

This spring, we noticed a momma bobcat and her kittens. The mother seen several times in our “wilderness” landscaped area, David noticed the pointed ears of a baby bobcat about 50 feet from our front door, sitting under a tree at sunset just a few weeks ago—what a sight!

Then the impromptu visit from Uncle Donald at the end of May. He was last here when Ledger was only a few months old. Of course, we spontaneously “cleared” the schedule. Taking Uncle Donald on our evening vineyard walks, feeding the neighbor’s rescue horses, introducing him to grilled Rogue Creamery cheese sandwiches and Viognier under the tree at the tasting room. Then ending the day with toddler wrestling, mini pool waterfights, and summer grilling.

Uncle Donald’s visit a treat? Yes. One of those impactful moments? Definitely. For the newest addition, Hudson Jo, the Traul boys, Ledger and Slater, and the proud mom (vineyard manager and tasting room owner)? Invigorating. The quiet moments shared between David and Donald, most likely spent remembering the vineyard and wine dreams with their father? A gift.

Thank you Uncle Donald & to our Ledger David Family.

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