The Beaux Frères story began in 1986 when Michael G. Etzel, then a wine salesman in Colorado Springs, embarked on a road trip to Oregon with his young family after reading an enticing review of an ‘83 Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley. They took a whimsical detour to check out a foreclosed 88-acre pig farm about 20 minutes from their destination and, upon seeing the idyllic hillside, cute little bungalow, and lush pasture at the top of the dirt road, began to wonder: Could a quiet, wholesome farm life growing grapes for the blossoming local wine scene be possible?
At the crest of the property, planting began in 1988 with five acres of vines tightly spaced at a density of about 2,200 plants to the acre. While planting The Beaux Frères Vineyard, Michael worked four harvests at Ponzi Winery. In 1990, he harvested his first crop and sold the grapes, except enough to make one barrel, to winemakers Ken Wright and Dick Ponzi. In 1991, renovation of the main barn made way for Beaux Frères Winery and the first estate vintages of The Beaux Frères Vineyard Pinot Noir followed soon after.
Nestled in the Willamette Valley’s Ribbon Ridge viticultural area (est. 2005) near Newberg, Oregon, the property remains a perfect fit as a new generation, led by winemaker Mike D. Etzel (Michael’s middle son), takes responsibility for stewarding the land and crafting the wines. More than thirty years since their serendipitous encounter with this landscape, three generations of the Etzel family now live on the Ribbon Ridge, diligently caring for this storied property.