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. Some 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 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, more than forty 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 vineyard has grown from 50 to 82 acres, now including the adjacent Justice Vineyard, established in 1999, and Lewman Vineyard, established in 2002, purchased in 2020. As our second-generation vines reach maturity they are beginning to claim their own share of the limelight and their own separate bottlings.
For our first thirty years Ted managed the vineyard and Terry made the wine. Ben Casteel took over from his father as Winemaker in 2006, and the five cousins who grew up among the vines at Bethel Heights have taken their places as co-owners and stewards of this place for the next generation of cousins – ten so far – who all know Bethel Heights as their family farm.
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 strive to live in peace. Above all else we have sought to grow our grapes and make our wine without diminishing the life of this place.
82 Estate acres: 85% Pinot noir, 13% Chardonnay, 2% Pinot blanc
Wine production: 13,000 cases annually