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DailyTidings.com
  • Fairy-tale setting

    A peek inside the long-watched chateau
  • Rubberneckers have been watching the construction of a massive chateau on an Ashland hillside for five years and wondering if it's a house or a hotel.
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  • Rubberneckers have been watching the construction of a massive chateau on an Ashland hillside for five years and wondering if it's a house or a hotel.
    Finally, by March, everyone will be invited onto the grounds of Belle Fiore Estate and Winery and learn that the 19,000-square-foot structure is a combination of both a private residence and public spaces for wine tasting and weddings.
    Edward Kerwin's 52-acre property off Dead Indian Memorial Road has been in the news lately because of Kerwin's lawsuit against the neighboring Ashland Gun Club. Not yet reported has been people's interest in his very visible vineyards that front a three-story chateau topped with pitched slate roofs and turrets, and wrapped by a series of tiered terraces, columned archways and limestone-like banisters.
    Below the manicured landscapes sits a separate building: a 20,000-square-foot winery with barrel rooms waiting to be filled with aging wine, a vaulted space for the public to taste and buy bottles priced from $17 to $29 and, on the second level, a ballroom larger than the Ashland Springs Hotel's.
    Last week, the area's wine producers and other guests were invited inside the buildings to taste pinot noir, syrah and 14 wines of different labels made from grapes that ripened on the property or were purchased from growers.
    "Wow," said Nora Lancaster of Kriselle Cellars when she entered the smaller tasting room inside the chateau last Wednesday and looked up at the soaring ceiling to the indoor Juliet balcony and three arched windows framed by ornamental molding and trompe-loeil vines.
    "What a beautiful property and a notable project," Lancaster said later. "The attention to detail in both winemaking and property development is evident and impressive. Although we all do it a little differently, we are all in it together to bring attention to the beautiful wines being produced in Southern Oregon and the splendor of our area."
    Kriselle Cellars opened its 3,000-square-foot tasting room with a Western lodge motif in White City in September and instantly catapulted the Upper Rogue wine region from sleepy to must-see. Tourism and wine industry experts can only guess what Belle Fiore can do for the area.
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