Trium's smooth finish
Trium has produced its final vintage, and when the remaining cases are sold, the label will be retired.
Trium owner Laura Lotspeich, an influential member of the regional wine industry for nearly three decades, is passing her pruning shears to the next generation. But the winery at Pheasant Hill Vineyard off Rapp Lane south of Talent has run its course, and the Trium tasting room will close Sept. 9.
"I love talking to people about the wine, but it really is time for me to change my focus," Lotspeich said Tuesday morning. "It was a tough decision to make, because we enjoyed it very much, and the whole family had to buy into the decision."
Kurt and Laura Lotspeich acquired a 38-acre spread overlooking pear orchards, a few vineyards and grazing land in the Wagner Creek drainage 28 years ago.
They planted the first of what became 17½ acres of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, pinot gris, grenache, tempranillo and zinfandel in 1989.
"We had chardonnay here," Lotspeich said. "But this was totally the wrong site for the chardonnay, so it was taken out and we expanded the pinot noir and tempranillo plantings."
In 1995, merlot and grenache were added, followed by cabernet sauvignon.
The first Trium vintage was produced in 2003 and bottled in 2005, the same year the tasting room off Rapp Lane opened.
"We needed a retail outlet," Lotspeich said. "There was nothing but cows when we moved here."
Pheasant Hill Vineyard, which yielded 72 tons last year, will continue selling grapes locally, in the Willamette Valley and to out-of-state clients. Trium produced about 1,000 cases last year, accounting for about a third of the grape production. Its remaining cases are available through distributor Summit Beverage.
"I like it when the winemakers that we're selling to can get involved, walking through the vineyard with us, looking at what we're doing farming," Lotspeich said. "They know exactly what rows their fruit is going to come from."
Some winemakers simply rely on Lotspeich's expertise on when to bring grapes to their winery.
The label in its formative years was a collaboration of three couples.
Trium (Latin for "of the three") came into being in 2003, when the three couples with vineyards — the Lotspeichs, Rebecca and Randy Gold of Gold Vineyard, and Nancy Tappan and Vernon Hixson of Evans Creek — formed a corporation to make wine from their own grapes.
"We tried a lot of names and came up with Trium. It just seemed like it fit," recalled Randy Gold, who manages eight Jackson County vineyards covering 200 acres.
While the other two couples peeled off toward other pursuits, the Lotspeichs stayed the course.
"It was fun developing the label, developing the brand, building the website, and then came the awful reality of selling the wine," Gold said. "The reason we sold out was that it wasn't as much fun, but Laura and Kurt took to it; they had a knack for it."
The couple focused on the label's local appeal, Laura Lotspeich said.
Kurt Lotspeich was a bush pilot in Alaska and then later flew for United Airlines. After Kurt was diagnosed with a brain tumor, production continued with the help of family members, while Laura devoted herself to caring for her husband. He died in May 2016. Laura said the winery lost some of its allure without her husband working with her.
"This industry requires a passion for and an obsession with quality and unrelenting care," she said.
Dustin Lotspeich, her youngest son, has been the vineyard manager for the past six years, while his wife, Alicia, manages the office and support staff for the vineyard. Their oldest son, Martin, and his partner, Marriah, have returned to the Rogue Valley to lend a hand. They both own other businesses. He operates EarthFire Metalworks, a welding and fabrication firm, while she teaches yoga and belly dance at Your Belly Wisdom.
The tasting room will remain open this summer from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday through Monday.
— Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.