Oregon visitors and motorists are truly lucky—in fact, one might pose the following question: Where on the planet is there a more scenic place for a drive than Oregon? Heading east from Portland on I- 84, the scenery transitions quickly from urban jumble to the first sightings of Rooster Rock, Multnomah Falls, and the awe inspiring Columbia River.
If you happen to make the journey from Portland to Eastern Oregon and beyond, Hood River makes a great stopping point. The town is a favorite recreational destination for boaters and windsurfers. Four miles past downtown on the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway, the Gorge White House has stood as a landmark for more than a century.
“We are a 103-year old ‘house-wine-tasting-room,’” said Camille Hukari, whose family has owned the working farm and National Historic Register home since 1947. Hukari runs the business with husband Jerry Tausend at her side.
“It’s a grand old Dutch colonial with almost no remodeling, so it qualified for the historic registry. We did remodel the kitchen slightly in the 1950s, but really nothing otherwise. It’s hard to find one of these beauties whose interior woodwork has not been painted all white.”
OTE signs help point the way to local wines
“This is our sixth year in business as a wine tasting room and U-pick farm, and we’ve been an OTE highway business sign customer since 2008. We have several signs on Highway 35, directing traffic to our farm. We also decided to integrate the farm business with the wine tasting business, since it just seemed to make good business sense,” said Hukari.
Hukari is understandably proud of her region’s bounty. “The wine industry completely exploded in the Columbia Gorge area and I wanted to feature everyone’s products, not just our own. Our tasting room generally features 10 or more varieties from local vintners and growers, and also micro-brews and hard ciders.”
In addition to showcasing local wines, ales and hard ciders, Hukari said the walls inside the White House accommodate local artwork. “The house still retains its original sliding picture rails, so we can hang art or photographs very easily,” said Hukari. “We host an artist’s reception on the first Sunday of each month at 1:00 p.m. and serve complimentary wine and beer samples.”
Hukari and her family continue to operate the farm portion of the business and specialize in producing Bosc pear wine and D’Anjou pear vinegar from a 17-acre orchard. Hukari also grows U-Pick flowers, strawberries and table grapes on another eight acres. The Gorge White House Farm Stand is operated seasonally and sells locally crafted cheeses, honey, artisan vinegars, jams, syrups, granola and organic water buffalo jerky.
“Prior to 1919 almost the entire Hood River Valley was planted with apples, but a horrific freeze decimated the industry,” said Hukari. “After they lost everything, growers decided they needed to find a more temperature hardy crop and that’s when pears became so popular in our area. We planted our pears about 17 years ago and they are doing extremely well.”
Local: not just a buzzword
As part of Hukari’s commitment to the Hood River community, the wines and other value-added food products featured at the Gorge White House are truly local; they are sourced within a sphere from Hood River to Lyle and Mosier. “I figured there are so many wonderful products produced within a five mile radius,” said Hukari, “that we really don’t need to go any further.”
The scenic backdrop of the Gorge White House is magnificent and lends itself easily to romance. White House wedding packages are popular with couples who want to exchange vows in a casual setting but also be surrounded by commanding views of Mt Hood and Mt Adams. Hukari makes it easy for couples to plan weddings at the White House by suggesting several local professional event planners and caterers. The property accommodates up to 75 guests.
For more information about the White House Gorge Farm wine tasting, farm stand, U-pick offerings, or to plan a special event or bus tour, visit http://www.thegorgewhitehouse.com. Hukari and her staff can be reached by email as well firstname.lastname@example.org or by phoning 541-386-2828.
Interested in Tourist Oriented Directional (TOD) signs for your winery, tasting room, or other destination-styled business? Check out our TOD Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) page or contact Harry Falisec by email. Phone us toll-free at 1-800-574-9397 to speak with our experienced sign staff.