Fire damages Carlton winery
The Carlton Fire District received an automated fire alarm from the premises about 10:30 p.m., according to spokesperson Darci Ancalade. She said the first crew to arrive found the center wall ablaze in the winery’s fermentation room, which is not equipped with a sprinkler system.
A second alarm was sounded, drawing additional equipment and personnel from Dayton, McMinnville and Yamhill, according to Fire Chief Terry Lucich.
“It’s a big building, right downtown,” he said. “We needed a ladder truck to get on the roof and some other specialized equipment.”
Ancalade said about 30 firefighters helped fight the blaze, and one of them sustained a minor injury. She said 12 pieces of equipment were deployed.
In addition to agencies assisting on scene, the Lafayette Fire Department moved up to cover the Carlton station while the Gaston Fire Department covered cover the Yamhill station.
The Yamhill County Fire Investigation Team has launched an investigation. The team said it had not yet determined the cause, but had been able to rule out arson.
The winery is owned by Scott and Martha Wright, who started in the wine business in California’s Napa Valley in 1999.
According to the company website, they had been working in unrelated careers in Southern California before moving to the Napa Valley community of Yountville to get into the business. It indicated they were attracted to the Yamhill Valley in 2005 by a cooler climate better suited to pinot noir.
Eager to participate in Carlton’s rejuvenation, the Wrights bought two adjacent historic buildings downtown and commissioned a renovation.
They repurposed a former Madsen Grain Company granary, built in 1900, to house their winery. They used a brick creamery next door, built in 1915, to house their tasting room.
They opened their doors in June 2006 and put their winery into production with the fall harvest. The tasting room portion of their operation emerged undamaged from the weekend fire.