Show 529, June 10, 2023: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Specter of Bells Up Winery

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?”

“That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40.”

“The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.”

“Dave left the legal field, dedicating himself full-time to learning the business of making wine as a professional at Henke Winery while the Family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

“After Dave won two different amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines, The Specters decided to relocate to Newberg, Oregon. In 2013, they established Bells Up Winery and their winemaking dreams took root.”

“Today — micro-boutique, un-domaine and open exclusively for one winemaker-hosted tasting experience at a time — Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically-styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from their estate vineyard and from micro-sites in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon.”

“The name “Bells Up” refers to a dramatic moment in classical music where the composer instructs French horn players to lift the bells of their instruments up and project sound with maximum intensity. Dave, a French horn player who performed throughout high school and college, says the winery is his “Bells Up” moment.

Winemaker Dave Specter is our guest pulling the cork on all that is Bells Up Winery.

Show 529, June 10, 2023: Bells Up Winery, Newberg, OR with Winemaker Dave Specter Part Two

Dave Specter of Bells Up Winery

The Bells Up Winery’s (Newberg, Oregon) Story…

“If you’re this successful in a career that makes you sick, stressed and miserable… how much more successful would you be doing something you love?”

“That’s the question Sara Specter asked husband, Dave 13 years ago, following his mental and physical breakdown from more than a decade as a successful corporate tax attorney. This, while watching Sara’s professional mentor battle pancreatic cancer at age 40.”

“The answer, for The Specters, was that life is too short to spend unhappy. So they turned the basement hobby that brought Dave joy — winemaking — into Bells Up Winery.”

“Dave left the legal field, dedicating himself full-time to learning the business of making wine as a professional at Henke Winery while the Family lived in Cincinnati, Ohio.”

“After Dave won two different amateur national winemaking competitions with two different wines, The Specters decided to relocate to Newberg, Oregon. In 2013, they established Bells Up Winery and their winemaking dreams took root.”

“Today — micro-boutique, un-domaine and open exclusively for one winemaker-hosted tasting experience at a time — Bells Up composes handcrafted, classically-styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Rosé, Pinot Blanc, Seyval Blanc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon with grapes sourced from their estate vineyard and from micro-sites in the Willamette Valley and Eastern Oregon.”

Winemaker Dave Specter continues with us pulling the cork on all that is the boutique Bells Up Winery.

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part One

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

Iris Vineyards perches in the iris-dotted hills at the southern edge of the Willamette Valley, an 870-acre, high-elevation preserve dedicated to the ancient Greek concept of areté – the tireless striving to achieve one’s fullest potential. Areté guides the proprietors Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye, and winemaker Aaron Lieberman to create fresh, fruit-forward wines that truly honor their source.”

“Richard Boyles and Pamela Frye spent several years searching for a site with the potential to create great Pinot Noir. In 1992, they found a property in the foothills of the Oregon Coast Mountain Range at the south end of the Willamette Valley. It had been clear-cut, exposing sloping hillsides, promising soils, and site’s immense potential for the Burgundian and Alsatian varietals Richard and Pamela loved most. Richard and Pamela committed to replanting 500 acres of the estate to Douglas Fir and Ponderosa Pine for timber harvesting, and to restoring a diverse forest habitat with multiple native tree and understory species represented.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joins us to pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority Carl Giavanti.

Show 480, June 25, 2022: Iris Vineyards, Springfield, OR with Winemaker Aaron Lieberman and Carl Giavanti Part Two

Aaron Lieberman of Iris Vineyards

“Areté (AIR-it-tay) is a concept with deep roots in ancient Greek mythology, literature and philosophy. In simple terms, it is the moral imperative to achieve your full potential – the obligation to strive every day to do better, and be the best you can be. At Iris Vineyards, areté means constant attention to their vineyard practices, the wine quality, and Iris’ hospitality.”

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman joined Iris as the head of winemaking in 2008, and has spearheaded the winery’s significant quality advances over the last decade. Like Richard, Aaron has always approached his life and work with areté in mind – striving each day to improve and achieve the best possible result.”

“Iris Vineyards’ winemaking program empowers Aaron to apply areté in every aspect of the work. He describes himself as a shepherd, guiding rather than forcing nature in the direction he wants it to go. This work begins, of course, with growing the best possible grapes. Aaron collaborates with vineyard manager Nathan Sparrow to optimize the growth, health, and maturity of each block of the Chalice Vineyard estate. He also works closely with other Willamette Valley growers and Rogue Valley growers who produce the warm-climate varieties for some of Iris Vineyards’ wine club selections.”

“Aaron’s goal: bright, fruit-forward wines with crisp acidity and low alcohol that honor their origins and deliver exceptional value.”

“Under the Iris Vineyards name, the winery produces a wide range of red, white, and rosé wines from the Chalice Vineyard, as well as from selected vineyards around the state. The Areté label represents the reserve, or premium level of wines – truly the best of the estate.” The Areté label also represents Iris Vineyards’ premium sparkling wine program all unusually done in-house on the Estate.

Earlier this month Iris Vineyards opened a new Wine Bar in Downtown Springfield, Oregon on historic Main Street. Winemaker Aaron has created a selection of wine-based cocktails for the Wine Bar.

Winemaker Aaron Lieberman continues with us to further pull the cork on all that is Iris Vineyards and also joined by Oregon-based wine marketing and public relations authority, Carl Giavanti.

Show 353, December 28, 2019: Bells Up Winery with Proprietor & Winemaker Dave Specter Part One

Dave Spector of Bells Up WineryMicro-boutique, un-domaine and always open by appointment, Bells Up Winery in Newberg, Oregon composes fewer than 500 cases of hand crafted, classically styled Oregon Pinot Noir, Pinot Blanc, Rose of Pinot Noir and Syrah. It’s a 2nd career, passion project of Winemaker Dave Specter and his wife, Sara. The Chief Marketing Officer.

“After more than a decade of success as a corporate tax attorney in Cincinnati, Ohio, Dave Specter was emotionally and physically spent. His wife Sara convinced him to leave the profession and they turned the hobby that brought him joy—winemaking—into his new career. The pair had fallen in love with Newberg and the Willamette Valley while on vacation in 2008, subsequently moving here in 2012 and establishing Bells Up in 2013. The first wines were released Memorial Day 2015, coinciding with the opening of the estate winery/tasting room.”

“Every Bells Up wine is named for a piece of classical music that perfectly epitomizes the wine and/or prominently features the French horn, the instrument owner and winemaker Dave Specter played for more than 20 years.”

Winemaker Dave joins us to pull the cork on Bells Up Winery.

Show 305, January 5, 2019: Winemaker Eric Hamacher, Hamacher Wines, Beaverton, Oregon

Eric HamacherEric Hamacher set forth as a winemaking gypsy after earning his viticulture and enology degree from UC Davis in 1988. Eric has since created stunning wines for more than 35 vintages at multiple wineries around the world. After leaving Napa in 1995, Eric headed North to the “Promise Land” of Pinot Noir and founded his eponymous winery in the Willamette Valley of Oregon.

After pushing for several years and finally succeeding to change Oregon state law to enable multiple winery licensing in one facility, Eric with his wife, Luisa Ponzi (Ponzi Vineyards) and partners Ned and Kristen Lumpkin, co-founded The Carlton Winemakers Studio in 2002. The Studio was the first of its kind and operated as a multi-winery facility designed to enable small, high-end wineries and boutique, artisanal producers to share space and expertise.

With the bountiful 2014 harvest and the seams stretching at the studio, Eric moved himself out. With the “Reopening” of Hamacher Wines at the original Ponzi Historical Estate, Eric was able to launch his first tasting room dedicated to showcasing his wines directly to appreciative wine lovers.

Today, Eric’s production of artisan Pinot Noir and Chardonnay at Hamacher Wines is just shy of 2,000 cases annually, possibly Oregon’s slowest growing winery.

Eric is with us to pull the cork on the Hamacher and H Wines varietals of Hamacher Wines.

 

Show 297, November 10, 2018: Winemaker Anthony King, General Manager, The Carlton Winemakers Studio, Willamette Valley

Anthony KingLocated in the heart of the Willamette Valley in the charming wine-village of Carlton, the Carlton Winemakers Studio is a cooperative winery where numerous winemakers (currently 15) craft premium Oregon wines in one shared space. It has a storied history as a home and launchpad for some of the most groundbreaking wines in the Pacific Northwest.

It was the vision of its founding partners, Eric Hamacher (Hamacher Wines,) Luisa Ponzi (Ponzi Vineyards,) and Ned & Kristen Lumpkin (Lazy River Vineyard) to provide a location for high-quality winemaking in an efficient, economical and highly collaborative environment.

Guests can visit their state-of-the-art tasting room where you can taste (and buy) a representative sampling of the Carlton Winemakers Studio wines and learn about the unique and charming stories behind each label.

GM Anthony King came to the Carlton Winemakers Studio in 2015, after eight years as winemaker at Lemelson Vineyards, with the express intent to continue to learn his craft. “The Studio offers a rare opportunity to continue to challenge your own assumptions, see fruit from across the Valley and beyond, and work alongside some of the best winemakers in the world.” he explains.

“Ratio is not intended for growth. It is small and will continue to remain so. It is a conduit for King’s ongoing attempt to understand and hone his ability to express the place and make wines that are both individual and worthy of praise within the context of wines from anywhere in the world.”

Winemaker Anthony King (Ratio:Wines) is also the General Manager for Carlton. He pulls the cork for us.

Show 296, November 3, 2018: Taylor Pfaff, CEO, Left Coast Cellars, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Taylor PfaffIn 2003 the Pfaff Family arrived in Oregon on the plot that was to become Left Coast Cellars. In those early years there were just 35 acres of vines and a scruffy, prefabricated cottage. Nevertheless, the sweeping vistas, the canopies of 400 year-old oaks, and wild herons on the lake spoke of unimaginable potential. Since then, in fits and starts, The Pfaff Family has worked to bring out the magic inherent in this land.

“In the fifteen years since our beginnings, we have gone from a largely grape growing operation with long term contracts with fellow Oregon producers, a wonderful opportunity to establish the high quality of our fruit, to an all Estate commitment. We farm 142 acres of vines on our nearly 500-acre Estate, largely sedimentary soil laid down by the Missoula floods and some volcanic soil as well. We grow and meticulously tend our vines and grapes, handcraft our wines and bottle them on site, a fusion of art and science, most certainly a labor of love.”

We take a holistic approach to everything at Left Coast, sustainability being at the core of all we do. We received the largest USDA grant in Oregon in 2008 to go solar, and the vast majority of our estate’s electrical needs are supplied by the ground and roof mounted solar arrays. Our winery and vineyards are LIVE certified, Salmon Safe, and we were one of just six producers that went to a third-party verification in the initial Carbon Neutral Challenge, originally under the aegis of the Governor’s Office, now folded into LIVE as a Carbon Reduction program.”

Younger son, Taylor Pfaff, stepped into the CEO position the summer of 2016. He brings the experience of 6 harvests in the cellar under the excellent mentorship of Winemaker Joe Wright, along with a MBA in Wine and Spirits from the Kedge Business School of the University of Bordeaux.

Taylor Pfaff pulls the cork on Left Coast Estate for us.

Show 293, October 6, 2018: Maria Ponzi, President & Director of Sales and Marketing, Ponzi Vineyards, Tualatin Valley, Oregon

Anna Maria PonziThe Tualatin Valley, Oregon’s esteemed Ponzi Vineyards is one of Oregon’s premier wineries. Established in 1970 as one of the pioneering wineries in Willamette Valley, Ponzi is now being run by the family’s 2nd generation of two sisters. Luisa Ponzi (trained in Burgundy) is Winemaker and Anna Maria Ponzi is President & Director of Sales and Marketing.

Founders Dick and Nancy Ponzi moved their young family to the Willamette Valley in the late 1960s with a spirit of adventure and a passion for making world class Pinot Noir. After many research trips to Burgundy and an extensive search for the ideal location, they purchased 20 acres on a small farm just southwest of Portland, Oregon. It was a daring risk — at the time, the Pacific Northwest was not thought to be a place to grow Pinot Noir, but Dick and Nancy realized the Northern Willamette Valley’s climate was ideal for cool climate varieties. Pinot Noir cuttings were planted, and in 1970 Ponzi Vineyards was founded.

The methods, philosophies and winemaking passion established nearly 50 years ago are still practiced today under the family’s second generation.

Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the standard for Oregon’s viticultural innovation while maintaining an unwavering commitment to a tradition of winemaking excellence. For the last 25 years, this philosophy has been carried on by the Ponzi family’s second generation.

All 130 acres of family-owned vineyards are LIVE Certified Sustainable, the world’s highest standard for sustainable viticulture and enology. Driven by the concept that the varietal must match the terroir and climate, Ponzi Vineyards continues to set the bar for Oregon and remains at the forefront of the nation’s top wine producers.

The handsome Ponzi tasting room at The Winery features fireside seating, a covered terrace and bocce ball courts. Experience exceptional wines while enjoying panoramic views of the vineyard and valley. Small food pairings are offered to accompany the wines. Open daily from 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Highly recommended.

Maria Ponzi pulls the cork for us.

 

 

Show 277, June 16, 2018: Jay Boberg, Co-Founder, Nicolas-Jay, Dundee, Oregon

Jay BobergNicolas-Jay is a pinot noir venture located in the heart of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Celebrated Burgundian winemaker, Jean-Nicolas Meo of Domaine Meo-Camuzet, and music and media entrepreneur, Jay Boberg, lend their individual talents and shared dedication to the winery, where traditional French winemaking meets quintessential Oregon terroir.

Fruit for the Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is sourced from almost every AVA in the Willamette Valley, ensuring optimal blending potential and representation of the diversity of pinot noir in the appellation. Unique sites include vineyards located in the high-elevation Eola-Amity Hills, the foothills of the cool coastal range in the McMinnville AVA, the warm red-soiled vineyards of the Dundee Hills and our expressive Bishop Creek Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA. This wine is sourced almost exclusively from biodynamic, organic and LIVE certified vineyards.

“Pinot Noir is my desert island wine,” says Jay Boberg, “and I love the Pinots from Oregon. I’ve been drinking wines from Willamette Valley since 1983. People used to talk about their potential, but now you can taste what that potential has become—earth and elegance.”

In 2012, as Jay was winding down his fulltime role in the music industry, he approached his friend, Jean-Nicolas, with the idea of starting a winery together in Willamette Valley. “Jean-Nicolas and I have been friends since 1988. We share very similar philosophies about life, business, wine and friendship. Nicolas-Jay is about making the very best Pinot Noir we can possibly make.

It is also about building something together that one day we hope our kids will be a part of. When you look at the great domaines of the world, these two ideas go hand in hand.

Nicolas-Jay has recently opened a rustic farm house tasting room in Dundee near their Bishop Creek Vineyard. Tasting by appointment only, please.

Jay Boberg is our guest.