grower / Mosier, Oregon and White Salmon, Washington
age / Fade (30) and Thompson (42)
crops / wine grapes, cherries
business / Analemma Wines
other / The Oregon couple married after founding winery five years ago in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge.

Steven Thompson and Kris Fade

Steven Thompson and Kris Fade (TJ Mullinax/Good Fruit Grower)

How did you start farming?
Steven: We started farming wine based on getting an opportunity to lease one of the oldest vineyards in the Pacific Northwest above White Salmon, Washington, planted in Pinot Noir and Gewürztraminer. We jumped right in 2010, and we didn’t have a place to live, so it required living in the top of a horse barn for about the first four months until we were able to establish ourselves down here in Mosier.

What start-up challenges did you face?
“Fail early and course correct”—That’s something my dad said when we started. Having that persistence and creativity got us through those first years.

Steven: We learned a lot of things that year, including that the Pinot Noir that was growing there isn’t a contemporary clone. It’s an heirloom clone from the Switzerland and Germany growing regions, which makes a completely different style of wine than we originally set out to make.

Kris: We originally wrote out a business plan around producing a red wine around Pinot Noir grapes and when we leased the vineyard, we found out that it was much better suited for sparkling wine and rosé. All of a sudden, midway through the season, we had to make a big diversion and recalibrate. It was a big deal.

What are your future goals?
Steven: It’s paramount to our business that we be growers/producers. We act very intentionally when we are farming and when we are producing the wine to craft something very special, unique, and soulful. To create something that represents our ambitious efforts and to help the parcel be as successful as it can be.

Kris: For us, we are doing the farming ourselves, and we are learning from the land every year. We have an opportunity by gently farming to express what’s there in the soil, the terroir, and we are able to bring the grapes into the winery and gently handle the fruit during winemaking, allowing the product to be an expression of where we are in the Columbia Gorge. It’s a really exciting time to be part of growing in this area.