Bethel Heights is a family owned and operated estate vineyard and winery established in 1977. The property now known as Bethel Heights Vineyard was originally established in 1909 under the name Bethel Heights Walnut Groves. A number of the original walnut trees are still flourishing around the edges of the vineyard.
In 1977, when twin Brothers Ted and Terry Casteel and their partners Pat Dudley and Marilyn Webb gave up their academic careers to clear away the abandoned walnut orchard and plant a 50-acre vineyard at Bethel Heights, it took a determined suspension of disbelief to see that this was a perfect place to grow great Pinot Noir.
Today, thirty-five years later, the reputation of Bethel Heights Estate Grown wines stands solidly on the original legacy blocks of own-rooted Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines that we planted between 1977 and 1979. The roots of these old vines have grown down and explored our ancient volcanic soil over the years, and in doing so, have produced wines that are defined far more by their place, than by vintage or by the hand of the winemaker. From these original vines we make a series of small-production block-designated Pinot noirs that are mostly available only at the winery.
Over the years our estate vineyards have expanded from 50 to 100 acres, all within the Eola-Amity Hills AVA, including the adjacent Justice Vineyard (established in 1999) and Ingram Lane Vineyard a few miles to the north (established 2008). As our second-generation vines reach maturity they are beginning to claim their own share of the limelight, just as our second generation winegrowers are taking the helm at Bethel Heights. Since 2006, two of the five children who grew up at Bethel Heights, cousins Ben Casteel and Mimi Casteel, have taken over stewardship of the vines and wines of this unique place, sharing their parents’ dedication to “making wines that express our home, and constantly improving the health and vitality of the land we depend on.”
When our family arrived at Bethel Heights in 1977 we found a healthy ecosystem in place: healthy living soils, a stream running through a shady ravine fed by a clean pure spring, and a rich diversity of wildlife with which we have learned to co-habitate. Above all else we have sought to grow our grapes and make our wine without diminishing the life of this place.
100 Estate acres: 75% Pinot noir, 15% Chardonnay, 10% Pinot blanc, Pinot gris, and Riesling
Wine production: 13,000 cases annually