Ted and Meri Gerber
Pinot Gris, Pinot Noir, Moscato
Foris boasts over 135 acres of estate vineyards, just 25 miles due east of the Pacific Ocean in Southern Oregon’s Rogue Valley Appellation.
Gerber "Home" Vineyard: 204 acres, 46 acres planted to grapes. Back of the valley at the base of a hill with 100 acres of trees blocking air flow. A hot-day & cold-night pocket giving extreme day to night fluctuations. Three feet of soil with clay underneath.
Cedar Ranch Vineyard: 74 acres, 47 planted to grapes. At the back, upper most part of the valley along Sucker Creek. We farmed this ranch for the U.S. Marshall 20 years ago after a drug property seizure. Recently we bought most of the property, and custom farm the other portion. Three feet of soil with river rock underneath. With 20 years of growing knowledge, we expect Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Early Muscat and Pinot Noir to shine.
Maple Ranch Vineyard: 112 acres, 43 acres planted to grapes. On the crest between two major stream drainages, on a bench at the back of the valley. Soil permeability is moderate to 5 feet and rapid below this depth. Red fractured rock, clay loam and gravelly loam surface layers with substratum gravelly, loamy sand. Great drainage that never puddles water. We consider this our best vineyard, especially for Pinot Noir due to several factors: Excellent soil, micro location, mix of several good clones.
Founded by Ted and Meri Gerber, Foris Winery and Vineyards is family-owned and family-managed. A graduate of Cal State Hayward in 1969, Ted studied political science and public administration. During his college years, he also developed a passion for making homemade wine. In 1971, Ted and Meri purchased hillside acreage in southern Oregon’s remote Illinois Valley with the specific intention of growing grapes. Starting from scratch, they built a house, bought the land that is now Gerber Vineyards, and began planting grapes.
For a number of years they provided fruit to various vintners in southern Oregon, and in 1986 started producing their own wines under the Foris label. Meri passed away in 2000 after a lengthy illness, and in 2003 Ted married his present wife, Terri, a health professional with thirty years of medical experience and an avid interest in photography and landscape painting. Terri is responsible for keeping the vineyards’ books, employee safety, and helping out with the administrative needs of the winery.
Alicia Gerber, Ted’s daughter, came of age in the family vineyard. She studied childhood development in college and went out into the world on her own for a number of years. During her mother’s illness, however, she returned home to help out and never looked back. Because she loves gardening and all things that grow, working alongside her father proved a natural fit. Over time, Alicia assumed a variety of important roles at the winery, and at present her responsibilities include working in the business office, the tasting room, and managing the gardens and grounds with Terri. Alicia, her son, Skylar, and daughter, Ava live on Maple Ranch in the foothills of the Siskiyous Mountains, a few short minutes east of Gerber Vineyards.
Terri’s daughter, Heidi and her husband, Brian, and daughter Alex are also part of the Gerber family. Heidi is a gardening fanatic, while Brian is a self-described computer freak. They make their home at Cedar Ranch Vineyards, not too far from Maple Ranch. Both Heidi and Brian are learning the wine business from the ground up. Heidi devotes the majority of her time working in the Foris business office, managing the wine club, and assisting winemaker Bryan Wilson during harvest. Brian’s specialties include oversight of computer security and operations, in addition to his vineyard duties.
The entire family – Ted, Terri, Alicia, Heidi, Brian, and (when they are old enough, one hopes) Alex, Skylar, and Ava – subscribe to a simple philosophy that has served them well over the years. They strive to make the Foris experience “nice enough so that everybody enjoys coming to work.” They go out of their way “to be friends to their employees, not just bosses.” Their collective goal is to keep everybody involved in the business happy – employees, customers, and owners. If low employee turnover and high customer satisfaction are any indication, their philosophy appears to be working quite satisfactorily.