Don and Traute Moore began farming wine grapes in the Rogue Valley in 1989. At that time no one knew which varieties were well suited to our area, and most of the techniques we now use for growing premium wine grapes were virtually unknown.
Over the next two decades, they experimented with growing techniques and consulted with the world’s finest viticulturists. They brought in dozens of varieties and planted test blocks around the valley to see what grew best and where. To everyone’s surprise, not only did they learn that the Rogue Valley was able to grow world-class wine grapes, but they also showed that through careful site selection capitalizing on regional climatic differences—known as mesoclimates—one could, figuratively speaking, grow a world of wine right here. These discoveries helped launch our region’s wine industry, and in 2010 Don and Traute were awarded the prestigious Founder’s Award by the Oregon Winegrowers Association for their pioneering work in establishing Southern Oregon’s now-booming wine industry.
It’s rare that a winegrowing region of such untapped promise is discovered, and as new and interesting sites became available, the Moores continued to plant. Today, Quail Run is one of Oregon’s largest and most highly regarded vineyards, and certainly its most complex. With eleven distinct vineyards ranging from 1500 to 2100 feet elevation and highly trained crews that custom farm each of our 240 blocks of fruit, Quail Run now grows an astounding 29 varieties of premium wine grapes for over thirty Oregon wineries.
In 2008, Don and Traute’s son, Michael, left a twenty-year documentary filmmaking career to join the family farm. After helping launch Quail Run’s tasting room, South Stage Cellars, he turned his attention to the vineyards, which he has managed since 2011. Michael has introduced sweeping changes that have further improved fruit quality. He has continued Quail Run’s tradition of rigorous experimentation, revamped trellis systems, introduced deficit irrigation tailored to each individual block, and has shown that by early and heavy leaf removal, the quality of many grape varieties is greatly improved. Most significantly, Michael turned the farm’s management structure upside-down and now engages vineyard crews in all aspects of decision-making.