The Newberg vineyard welcomes rare lambs

Janis Pate discovered the Valais black-nosed sheep during a trip to Scotland. She brought them to Arlyn Vineyard as an attraction, but also for more practical reasons.

NEWBERG, Ore. – Approximately 40 acres and 25,000 vines make up Arlyn Vineyard in Newberg.

“When people ask to come and visit, I want to make sure they know it’s a rustic experience,” said owner Janis Pate.

Pate is the first woman in Oregon to buy land, plant a vineyard, and develop a wine label without a spouse or partner. “I realize it was no small feat. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know along the way because it was a lot, ”she said.

Now enjoying the reward, or at least trying to do so, Pate and his two employees were in a real rush last year, “pandemically” speaking. Then the smoke from the forest fires damaged the grapes.

“Normally, we produce around 60 tonnes of fruit, we harvest very little for the quality. Last year was a light crop year, so we expect just over 50 tonnes and 23 of those tonnes were lost due to the smell of smoke, ”she said.

Pate acknowledges that she is one of the lucky few whose vintage has not been affected. This year, Arlyn Vineyard will have Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Gamay – but Pate added something else to the customer experience: a rare breed of sheep.

“I love that they can go out into the vineyard and munch on the cover crop rather than mow,” Pate said.

There are already pigs, ducks, chickens and other farm animals to give the vineyard a farmhouse feel.

Now, said Pate, this is “the first time the USDA has allowed purebred embryos for this breed in the United States, and so I am one of the few to have acquired a few of these embryos.” .

Pate talks about three new Valais Blacknose lambs in a pen with their three substitutes. The lambs are originally from Switzerland and give another unique appeal to the vineyard, but Pate emphasizes the environmental benefits and conservation of the species.

“I chose to focus on the heirloom breeds that are on conservation lists in some cases, so we can help keep those breeds… they’re all adorable. So that’s good, ”she smiles.

Of course, Pate hopes the woolly additions will help grow his business, but the new animals are symbols of a fresh start and also something guests can enjoy.

“I want them to feel like it’s their farm while they’re here,” Pate said. “With, of course, beautiful wine.”

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