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Ready to launch

Ledger David Cellars has blasted from obscurity to must-try wine in three years, and owners David Traul and Lena Varner are just getting started.

The couple will launch a wine club in March, break ground in June for a tasting room and winery on their Talent property and continue to offer practically nonstop entertainment at their temporary tasting room in Central Point.

Already, Ledger David Cellars' production has leaped from 120 cases of sangiovese rose and chenin blanc made from grapes harvested in 2009 to 1,500 cases made from 2010 and 2011 grapes.

The dynamic duo are working methodically to grow rare-to-the-region malvasia bianca and 10 other varieties of grapes planted across 15 acres to produce small releases of New World wines, some in an Old World style. They will cap their production at 2,500 cases to maintain boutique status.

"The bigger you get, the less likely you are to meet people who are interested in your wine," says Varner. "That's why, despite how busy we are, it's important that we are present at our events."

Traul, Varner's husband, continues her thought: "We believe that it's the experiences you have, those special moments that people remember, and that's what we are trying to share with our customers."

He stops for a second, then adds: "But it has been a bit of a whirlwind for us."

The couple were married in February 2006, started clearing their land that fall in preparation for grapes after consulting with climatologist Greg Jones and vineyard-management expert Randy Gold, then planted in spring 2007. Their son, Ledger David, was born two years ago and son, Slater, 11 months ago.

While some new producers with only three different wines to sell might take a breath, the couple is launching a wine club in which members can watch them grow.

Members of The Primoris Club will be invited to the couple's 26-acre vineyard property over the growing season to see bud break and also help prune, tuck, fruit-thin and harvest malbec, petit verdot and other varieties.

There will be intimate tasting events in which wine will be served in the couple's landscaped backyard, in a tent or under the framework of the tasting room.

"We want to share our view, vineyard and ambience, and provide wines, food and entertainment in a relaxed environment to cater to all of the senses," Varner says.

In June, members probably will receive a bottle of 2010 Primoris Chenin Blanc ($20) and 2010 Chardonnay ($22). Over time, they will be offered other estate wines.

In the meantime, everyone's welcome at Ledger David Cellars' temporary tasting room between Rogue Creamery and Lillie Belle Farms in Central Point.

The couple are hosting "Re-Discover Local" events in which they spotlight artisan food producers and cultural opportunities. There is live music from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays.

Last Sunday, chef Travis Wyant prepared a Spanish dinner paired with imported cava, rioja and crianza as well as Abacela's 2005 Paramour, an American Gran Reserva-style tempranillo, and barrel tastes of Ledger David Cellars 2010 Tempranillo Reserve and Tempranillo Port.

France is the theme for May to celebrate the release of the couple's 2010 Chardonnay, then it's off to Italy in June with the release of 2010 Sangiovese.

"It's great to finally share with people what we worked so hard to create," says Varner. "And we've only just begun."

Ledger David Cellars' tasting room, 245 N. Front Street, Central Point, is open from noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday, with extended hours Fridays. Call 541-664-2218 or see www.ledgerdavid.com

Reach Janet Eastman at 541-776-4465 or jeastman@dailytidings.com