Folin Cellars founders, Scott and Loraine Folin, met at a rural California high school in 1969. She was from a farming family who had originally grown black eye peas as well as citrus, in Orange County California before freeways, subdivisions, and Disneyland. In the mid 1940’s the family left the encroaching developments for a more rural lifestyle in Northern San Diego County. They found the right climate and soils to continue and expand their farming operation.
Scott’s family had moved to Southern California from Minnesota in 1965 to get away from the cold weather. His father and grandfather had been small town newspaper publishers in rural Minnesota at a time before mega-media giants like CNN or FOX news.
In 1972 Scott and Loraine married and after college, started to expand the family citrus operation to include avocados as well as oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. By the late ‘70s though, the black eye pea farmland had been taken over by six lanes of interstate 15. For nearly two decades they grew premium citrus while raising the next generation of Folin farmers. Finally in 1991 Scott and Loraine, and their four children, decided to move to Sams Valley, a rural area a few miles north of Medford Oregon in the fertile Rogue Valley. They found the perfect plot of land that over the years had been growing cattle, hay, grain, pears and peaches. If you believe in fate, after moving in, they found out from a neighbor that the property had been homesteaded in the mid 1800’s by a relative of Loraine’s. The neighbor actually had the original land deed signed during the Lincoln administration.
While one of the original crops considered for the new operation was grapes, it wasn’t until their oldest son, Rob, finished college and began working for a major winery in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, that it was taken seriously. At that time the wine industry was just beginning to grow in Southern Oregon. After consulting with local experts, taking soil and temperature surveys, and prepping the land, the first vines went in the ground in 2003 and has grown to 25 planted acres. The winery and tasting room followed in 2009.
Scott and Loraine continue to manage the daily vineyard operations and help Rob run the winery and tasting room while Rob’s sister, Emily, takes care of the office duties for both the vineyard and winery.
And don’t worry about the next generation, with seven grandchildren, there are plenty of trainees.