United by our interest in wine, in 1977 Ted Casteel, Pat Dudley, Terry Casteel, and Marilyn Webb abandoned the academic life and, together with Pat’s sister Barbara Dudley, bought 75 promising-looking acres northwest of Salem, with 14 acres of newly planted cuttings in the ground.
The first vines were planted at Bethel Heights between 1977 and 1979. That was before the discovery of phylloxera in Oregon, so we just stuck un-rooted cuttings in the ground and let them make their own roots in place. Forty years on, these are some of the last own-rooted Pinot noir and Chardonnay vines surviving anywhere in the world.
The Æolian has evolved in the eight vintages since we started making this wine, beginning as a means of expressing the ever-changing nature of our younger blocks and now settling in, as most things do at Bethel Heights, as a wine defined by place. Three blocks planted in 2002 high above the rest of the vineyard continue to make up a large portion of this wine, but in 2021 we decided to include some of our plantings from the West side of the property. The 2021 Aeolian presents purity and power; aromas of red cherry, rhubarb, and raspberry, tremendous tension through the mid-palate, and delicate fine-grain tannins through the finish.