Bethel Heights Vineyard has been in the Casteel-Dudley-Webb family since they were joined in 1977. They bought 75 acres of land northwest of Salem, Oregon, 14 of which were home to new vine cuttings. In ’79, they cleared and planted 36 more acres, and harvested their first crop in ’81. Their inaugural commercial vintage of 3,000 cases came in ’84.
Bethel Heights Vineyard has helped establish Oregon’s Willamette Valley as the home of New World Pinot Noir. Three-fourths of their plantings are Pinot Noir, with Chardonnay as their primary white variety.
The vineyard is one of the oldest in the Eola-Amity Hills of the Willamette Valley. Because of constant and predictable marine winds west of their location, the hills chain is generally cooler on average during the growing season. After a warm summer day, the wine grapes growing in the path of these winds are cooled quickly, which boosts their aromatic qualities and preserves their bright, fresh flavors. And thanks to shallower and rockier soil, and plenty of steeper inclines, this area also has excellent drainage, which means no soggy, water-logged grapes.