Dr. Marvin Hausman didn't initially intend to create a world-class wine when he purchased Quailhurst Vineyard Estate in rural Sherwood in the late 1990s.
In fact, he was on a nobler quest, looking at the antioxidant attributes of grapes as part of his Alzheimer's disease research.
That not-withstanding, Hausman's first batch of Pinot noir was a hit. Although the estate only produced 40 to 50 cases of the wine in 2001, it quickly proved to be an 'excellent' vintage.
The 2002 label followed, which proved even better than the first with 250 cases produced, some of it still around.
'They say pinot shouldn't last that long,' he pointed out during a recent interview from the palatial hilltop estate located on Pleasant Hill Road. 'We specialize in pinot noir.'
Although Hausman knew he had a coveted product, it wasn't until Quailhurst's 2006 Pinot Noir Tiaraella Reserve was awarded 92 points by Wine Spectator Magazine that he knew the estate's wine was a winner.
'At that point, Dr. Hausman said 'maybe we should sell some of this,'' said Linda Huotari, a volunteer hostess at the vineyard.
So Hausman and his wife Deborah did just that.
Today, 14 of the estate's 34 acres produce award-winning grapes, grapes grown in mineral rich volcanic 'jory' soil that produces premium quality fruit.
'We just won a gold medal in Oregon for our 2008,' said Hausman.
Word of the quality of Quailhurst wines has spread over the years with the Quailhurst Wine Club now boasting 400 members who seek out the labels bearing equestrian and dressage names in honor of Deborah's pursuits.
'Deborah's a world-class athlete,' said Hausman. She started riding horses professionally in 1995 and today breeds, breaks and trains the animals, giving lessons in the couple's indoor and outdoor areas, he said. A total of 16 Dutch Warm Bloods call the estate home.
In addition to its Pinot noir, Quailhurst offers a rosé, a reserve Pinot noir, a Pinot noir port and a sparkling wine. Next up will be a blanc noir, expected to be released in late 2012 or 2013.
'We were looking again to add diversity to our (wine lineup),' said Huotari.
Quailhurst Estate, built by the famed Corning glass and ceramics family of New York, has been in existence for more than half a century. It is said that the Budweiser West team of the famed Clydesdales horses once were housed and trained at the estate's indoor arena, according to Hausman. The wine-tasting room has a window that looks into the still-used indoor arena.
Hausman said he loves his little piece of Sherwood, pointing out it's the perfect combination of people, horses and wine. Hausman's philosophy has been that in order to be successful, there needs to be meaning and passion. He has both, he said.
But it's not only horses and wine that make the Hausman's property unique.
The estate boasts the largest private rose collection in the state with between 1,000 and 1,500 bushes. Every row in the vineyard includes a rose bush.
In addition, Quailhurst has a 5-acre Japanese garden complete with a bridge and four waterfalls. It also has some of the oldest cherry blossom trees in the area.
Still, Hausman has a more pressing calling, which often takes him away from his estate.
'I have now devoted myself to curing Alzheimer's disease,' said Hausman, a board-certified adult and pediatric urologist, a cancer immunologist and transplant surgeon specializing in kidney transplants.
He's also the CEO of Total Nutraceutical Solutions, a bio-tech company focusing on research and development of antioxidants within whole natural foods with an office located on Tualatin-Sherwood Road.
Now that the Hausmans are welcoming the public to their estate, their wine-tasting room is open from 10 to 4 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.
Private tastings also are available. The next big estate celebration takes place on Memorial Day weekend (May 28 and 29) when wines as far back as 2002 will be available as well as a barrel sample.
Meanwhile, the gardens can be rented for wedding photography and private events.
Quailhurst is located at 16031 SW Pleasant Hill Road. For more information, call 509-427-5132 or visit quailhurstwines.com.