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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Fine wine, history, and beauty in one setting


Hummingbird Estate

Fine wine, history, and beauty in one setting

Story by Pamela Ruhl Gibson

Photos by Lahna Marie Photography  


Winding up the sloped, meandering driveway past open spaces, terraced vineyards, and locust trees, there is an increasing curiosity of what lies ahead. High on the ridge and crowning its crest, Hummingbird Estate is poised splendidly with the promise of a unique excursion back in time. The estate overlooks forty-seven acres of property just outside of Jacksonville (with a Central Point address). Other historic buildings located around the estate include the foreman's house, gardener’s house, barn, and stable. 

The late 19th century style English Tudor home beckons guests with a sophisticated elegance, while preserved revival detailing reflects on the past. Gabled exterior design with wrought iron and stonework border the house while adding to its undeniable charm. Intrigue is all around an estate rich with unique architectural elements such as hidden alcoves and terraces, all kindred to British influence. Cattywompus stone walls and steps rich with history are partially hidden beneath overgrown ivy. Hummingbird Estate has a welcoming ambiance, and it is easy for the imagination to return to an era of sophisticated elegance reflective of the Great Gatsby and gin rickeys.      

Once known as “Topsides,” the estate was built between 1926-1927 by Alfred St. Vrain Carpenter and his wife, Helen Bundy Carpenter, with additions made throughout their half-century of ownership. The Carpenters were a philanthropic super-duo who helped promote human services, education, and the arts in the Rogue Valley. They were instrumental in supporting and shaping many causes in the community. Alfred and Helen were known for hosting social gatherings to support local organizations. One such soirée was held yearly for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival actors in support of the arts. As one local community leader noted, “Almost every good thing you can think of in this valley, they touched.”  

For the next thirty-seven years, the property was owned by Alaska’s last territorial governor, and in 2017, Edward and Susan Walk purchased the property. The estate was renamed Hummingbird Estate after their Illinois Hummingbird Farm. According to General Manager, Kristina Alverez, her father was “looking for more work,” and the property had plenty of that to offer with deferred maintenance and upgrades to the grounds. Work began almost immediately by Alvarez Construction and Krause Finish Works to restore roofing, floors, masonry, iron, and woodwork. Seventeen acres of vineyards were planted and the first rosé of pinot noir estate wine release was in the spring of 2020, with a sparkling Chardonnay to come this summer.   

The five-bedroom estate currently offers a tasting room, bed and breakfast, and event venue. The distinctive copper clad main door opens into the foyer where the original wood and tiled flooring, stained timber ceiling beams, alcoves, steel sash windows, and unique wrought iron fixtures depict a sense of sophistication and history. Alverez states that her favorite part of Hummingbird Estate is the “beauty and peaceful quality of the property,” and adds that “seeing guests enjoy the property” is the real reward. The welcoming nature of the estate and staff ensures the comforts of the guests and certainly helps to nurture the enjoyment of a visit. 

The tasting room is now located in the former gentleman's smoking room. The dark paneled walls, alcoves, and exquisite copper faced fireplace once offered a retreat for men to smoke Turkish tobacco, a popular pastime then, especially in Great Britain after the Crimean War in the 1850s. Heavy velvet curtains would typically hang to separate the smoking room and the rest of the home in an effort to prevent traveling smoke. Sans the velvet curtain, the space once reserved for men only, now embraces a receptive and intimate ambiance for wine lovers. 

The expansive patio overlook provides a stunning view of the vineyard, valley, and Mt. McLaughlin. The space is open year-round and offers cozy seating areas with fire pits and blankets if needed. The menu includes small platters with a Midwest flair to enjoy on the lawn or other special spot. However, guests need not venture further than the patio to enjoy the superior elements of Hummingbird Estate. From exceptional staff service to phenomenal views to savory wines, a visit to Hummingbird provides a peek into earlier times and a retreat for the body and soul.  


 Hummingbird Estate 

1677 Old Stage Rd, Central Point



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