Our Croquet Court

Don't ask me why, but sometime back in my formative years, I thought it would be really cool to walk through a dense forest and come upon a perfectly manicured lawn with arched croquet wickets made of stone.

Whatever the reason for that inspiration, the opportunity to fulfill this little fantasy presented itself on the day I arrived here at Carlton Hill.

After signing the ownership papers of this once-prune-orchard and driving across country to begin the wine-making adventure, I admit anticipating finding a basket of fruit on the front porch with a note reading "Welcome to Oregon." Instead, I found a rather large hole filled with garbage and debris.

Not to be discouraged, it dawned upon me that it was time to bring in some explosives and a backhoe and make that imagined croquet court a reality.

Now, more than two decades later, the Carlton Hill croquet court has been the site of many parties, charity events, weddings, camp-outs, and yes, fierce--very fierce--croquet competitions.

But just in case you thought this was just another pretentious, high-brow retreat, think again. We like to turns things on their head here at Carlton Hill Vineyard. So, instead of formal croquet whites at our competitions, our dress code is that of "Gods and Goddesses," the "Wild, Wild West," "Alice and Wonderland," "Fruits and Vegetables," and such.

Given the extremely compromising nature of such costumed afternoons, Carlton Hill croquet tournaments have been, to date, private affairs. In 2007, with the launch of the Carlton Hill Reserve Club, however, we decided to expand our croquet repertoire to include more...shall we say...comfortable?...events as well.

As time marches on, we increasingly come to value the magical sparks that fly on our perfectly manicured lawn that's right at the edge of a gnarly oak forest and looks out over the Willamette Valley. We might even think that maybe keeping it to ourselves (and our circle of friends, family and bail bondsmen) for the last 20 years has been sort of stingy.

So look for your opportunity to play croquet at Carlton Hill in the near future. Better yet, call us to make arrangements for a croquet tournament for your own group--complete with whatever dress code you like.