Rooted in Southern Oregon
You may not have given much thought to the pears on your kitchen counter, but the Naumes family certainly has. For three generations, the Naumes family has carefully selected the best orchards in Washington, Oregon, and California and crafted state-of-art packing and storage facilities to bring you the perfect pear. Today, Naumes has operations that include approximately 5,300 acres in three states and are expanding beyond just pears.
It all started in 1946 when Joe Naumes partnered with Steve Nye and built a packing facility to process Nye’s existing 150-acre orchard. This tenacious duo made it through ups and downs, including having to replace all of their equipment following a fire in year one, and continued on to acquire additional orchards. In the 1960’s, the Naumes family purchased the company from the Nye family, and expanded their efforts on growth. They purchased additional orchards in California and Washington to expand the amount of days pears are in season. By adding packing and storage facilities, the pears could quickly move from tree to box, and be stored at the right temperature while waiting for distribution.
Over the years, Naumes has diversified its business for continued strength. In the 1990’s, Naumes opened the first of three juice concentrate plants that were later closed or sold off. In addition to pears, Naumes has also grown other fruits, including apples and cherries. Most recently, they have cut back on fruit orchard operations and sold off some land, while seeking a new business opportunity for other land.
It turns out that grapes grow very well in vacant orchards, so Naumes expanded into Oregon’s growing wine business. After consulting with an expert wine-grape grower, Naumes planted 15 acres of grapes in 2012 on recycled orchards, which has expanded into 85 acres currently producing Pinot Noir, Grenache, and Chardonnay. Further analysis of the industry revealed a lack of sufficient processing capability in Southern Oregon to meet the growing supply of grapes, so Naumes further expanded their business by building a custom crush facility to not only crush their own grapes, but those of other farmers as well. In its first year in 2015, the facility crushed approximately 100-150 tons of grapes, but now crushes over 500 tons.
While Naumes sells most of their grapes to other wineries, they have begun making some wines themselves. Currently, they have facilities with a 500-ton capacity. Their label, “Naumes Family Vineyards” was recently launched in early 2018, along with a wine club specializing in Pinot Noir grown in the Rogue Valley, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, Grenache, and many other estate wine grape varieties. The Naumes Suncrest Winery and tasting room in Talent, Oregon opened in July 2019.
Managing all the orchards, as well as the production and storage facilities requires a great deal of labor which is difficult to find. Depending on the season, Naumes employs between 300 to 1200 individuals. Much of the work is labor-intensive, and bilingual skills are extremely helpful. Due to the lack of local workers, Naumes has had to hire individuals with temporary agricultural worker visas. Whether skilled, professional, or manual labor, Naumes is focused on hiring employees who will inject new ideas and energy to help keep the business growing strong into the future.
Bringing more businesses to Southern Oregon would help Naumes in many ways. More shipments to local businesses means more efficient opportunities to secure backloading arrangements with trucking companies, a particular challenge to Naumes. In fact, having accessible distribution centers and packaging supplies locally would benefit Naumes greatly. Naumes believes in supporting the local economy, and buys local whenever possible.
Mike and Laura Naumes, currently owners of Naumes, are proud of the business that Mike’s father started nearly 73 years ago. They look forward to the opportunities that lie ahead for their triplet children; Joe, Cynthia, and Sean; who are already very active with roles in the business.
Naumes Family Vineyards | 1950 Suncrest Rd, Talent, OR 97540 | www.naumesfamilyvineyards.com | 541-608-1755