Dragon’s Vineyard wines are the realized dream of Trudy Salerno. She makes three different Pinot Noirs from her 2 acre vineyard in Monroe, Oregon, and a Rosé of Pinot Noir, a semi-sweet Riesling, and a French-style Chardonnay, and a semi-sparkling Rosé of Pinot Noir, the Medieval Dragon.
Trudy’s path to wine stretches from her work as a veterinarian and as a member of the Army Reserve – deployed three times to the Middle East plus on many humanitarian missions to Japan and other South Asian countries. While recovering from an injury she sustained in Iraq, she took the opportunity to take all OSU’s viticulture and enology classes – which had not existed 30 years ago when she was an undergraduate.
After completing the classes at OSU, Salerno did a six-week internship at Sugarloaf Winery in New Zealand. She remembers that coming into the airport, she could see that the whole end of the South Island was covered with vineyards. She ran the lab, testing parameters such as CO2 content, Brix (a measurement of sugar content), and pH.
In 2011, she planted her vineyards primarily with the Pinot Noir cultivar Dijon 115, with some of cultivars 777 and 667. The first three years, the vines were not allowed to ripen grapes. The fourth year, the grape crop were allowed to ripen and picked.
Dragon’s Vineyards takes its name from the Monroe High School dragon mascot. The tasting room carries out the dragon theme with an 800-pound tasting bar created by Monroe sculptor Roderick Neswick. He also carved the fireplace mantel featuring Celtic knots, grapes, and faces from a piece of 100-year-old old-growth Doug fir. The tables were made by Houston from retired wine barrels. Three levels of outdoor patios are accessible from the tasting room, edged by an herb garden.