It seems as though everyone knew Ted or knew about him. He was always there for us and the community. Ted, a machinist by trade, could fix pretty much anything. Ted was gregarious, kind and never met a stranger. He was quick to shake hands and share a smile. Dundee Hills benefited from his presence and contributions.
Wanting to respect the man and honor his legacy, we joined forces with Torii Mor Winery and winemakers Jacques Tardy and Jon Tomaselli to craft a special Pinot Noir from the last acre planted at Bella Vida Vineyard.
In Ted’s memory, we deemed this acre “Ted's Block”. Planted in 2008 with Ted’s help, Ted’s Block consists of 4 different types of Pinot Noir: Pommard, Wadenswiel, DiJon 115 and 777. These clones are co-fermented, providing a complexity in the wine that is only rivaled by Ted's contagious smile. Proceeds from the sale of this special bottling are collected over the year and in the month of March and designated to purchase equipment in support of Newberg High School's CTE (Career & Technical Education) programs. This year we are funding the purchase of 2 - 3D Printers for the creation of a MakerSpace Lab ($8500). In addition, we are donating 50% of the tasting fees during the month of March to the Newberg High School Student Resource Room. We invite the community and our customers to join us in our efforts and celebrate the life of a great man and friend.
Ryan Clarke Pamplin Media Group – The Newberg Graphic
Saturday, April 13, 2019
Bella Vida Vineyard created a wine in honor of Ted Crawford, donating proceeds to Newberg High School
Up a winding gravel road in the rolling Dundee Hills, Newberg School District officials gathered en masse. At the center of the Bella Vida Winery tasting room – a modern, sleek interior with retractable glass doors and a deck facing the Chehalem Valley – Superintendent Joe Morelock observed the scenery below and took a moment to reflect.
Newberg High School had just received $11,340 for its Career and Technical Education program and resource room. The money came from Bella Vida and honored Ted Crawford – a local legend in the wine industry and fixture in Bella Vida's operations who died suddenly in 2012.
“If you look out over this valley and think that what is happening out there is directly benefiting students at Newberg High School, that's a great feeling," Morelock said. "It's one more example of the generosity of the community."
Bella Vida presented the giant ceremonial check to Morelock, NHS principal Tami Erion and other representatives from the district on April 1. About $10,000 will go toward a high-temp sanitizer for the school's culinary arts program, a robotics classroom starter kit, computer hardware for the NHS graphic design program and "empathy bellies" for the school's child development courses. The remaining $1,340 – collected from the winery's tasting fees in March – will be allocated to the NHS resource room, which provides clothing, food and school supplies to students in need.
The creation of the wine was a three-pronged effort that included land from the Maresh family, winemaking from Torii Mor and farming from Bella Vida, which also developed the wine. Steven Whiteside, owner of Bella Vida, and Jon Tomaselli, associate winemaker at Torii Mor, led the effort. Their personal connection to Crawford – whose initials, TLC, are part of the wine's name – inspired the work on this vintage that is nearly a decade in the making.
"Because this is such a great community, and communities have a chance to change when you do something, we wanted to give back," Whiteside said. "We thought that – because Ted was a machinist and mechanic – we thought it'd be great to fund vocational education in his name."
Whiteside remembers Crawford as a "character" and "unbelievable guy." His work ethic and passion for the viticulture industry made him a known commodity among winemakers in the area.
Crawford had a rough exterior, Tomaselli said, and kind of looked like a biker. Tomaselli said he would always find him sitting at Lumpy's Tavern in Dundee enjoying a burger and a Budweiser. But Crawford's character was what stood out most to everyone who spoke about their longtime friend and colleague.
"What I really remember about him – outside of all the work – was his authenticity and honesty," Tomaselli said. "He became a really big part of my and my family's life. When he passed, it was a big loss, so when Steve approached us to do this project I was all in on it. This project is a big deal – my family lives in Newberg and my kids will go to Newberg High." Tomaselli wanted to make the vintage of pinot "different" than others to honor the unique personality and work ethic Crawford exhibited.
TLC Pinot Noir is part of Bella Vida's tastings and is available for $50 a bottle for the 2013, 2014 and 2015 vintages. Fifteen dollars from every bottle sold will go toward the fund, which will keep providing financial help to NHS for the foreseeable future. The first donation is far from the last one, according to Whiteside, and represents three years of sales for the TLC wine.
CTE programs are an integral part of the educational focus at NHS, so Erion and her staff plan to put the money to good use. She said having a chance to honor an important person in Oregon wine culture – while making a difference in the lives of students – is special for her and for the school.
She added that the high school may partner with the winery in the future for hands-on learning experiences that teach students about viticulture. Those experiences could be part of the CTE program and include information about jobs and apprenticeships in the industry as well.
For now, though, the district and high school are happy to express their gratitude for a sizeable donation. Crawford's legacy, in their view, lives on through this wine and the money it generated for students.
"We are so thankful to Steve and the vineyard for donating money to the school and to CTE programs," Erion said. "He sees value in educating students and doing so in non-traditional ways. We are very appreciative of his investment and the fact that this endeavor is an extension of our community. "We live and work in wine country, so the fact that the money is coming back to us in this way is really special."