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From a simple farming background in North Dakota, Charles Henderson was hesitant about growing grapes in the unknown area of the Columbia Gorge, but he was willing to experiment. It was suggested to him by one of his close friends, Dr. Clore, in the late 60s to plant Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer in a south sloping plot on a vineyard he would later call Mont Elise. At first, he was met with hostility from his new neighbors, who said it would not be possible to grow grapes on the land. Dr. Clore convinced Henderson otherwise, saying the soil on his plot was similar to the soils in Germany where he grew up. Henderson discovered that the cooler nights and reflective heat during the day were perfect for growing grapes. Still in production today, the Mont Elise Vineyard is home to some of the oldest planted vines in the Columbia Gorge. Henderson always maintained a life motto that patience led to exceptionally qualified wines.


The site has been farmed by the Gensler family since 2001.