Historically, the Estate produced filberts and Christmas trees through the 1970’s and 1980’s. During the late 1990’s the property was converted to Pinot Noir grapes. In 1998, winemaker Patricia Green of Torii Mor Winery was recognized by Wine Spectator for producing Oregon’s first bottle of $100 Pinot Noir using Quail Hill fruit from this site.
The Blakeslee’s acquired the 20-acre Estate with the intention of managing it and selling the fruit. Their first vintage as a winery in 2006 was unintentional, and resulted from a trade with another winery of fruit for bottled wine. Robert Brittan joined the Blakeslee team as winemaker starting with the 2010 vintage, bringing over 30 years of experience growing grapes and making wine in Napa Valley for Far Niente, Saint Andrews and Stags’ Leap Winery. In 2015, we hired local winemaker Jim Sanders of Aubichon and Le Cadeau fame to hand craft our wines. Jim learned the art of making wine from Mike Etzel of Beaux Freres while he was studying for his doctorate in psychology.
The Estate Tasting Room’s “Grand Opening” was Memorial Day Weekend 2013. We now welcome visitors to our property daily from 11am to 5pm to share our wine, story and beautiful view.
A big part of what makes Blakeslee Estate Vineyard so well-loved is our close proximity to Portland and Sherwood. Our vineyard is situated 20 minutes southwest of Portland, a five minute drive from the nearby town of Sherwood. We also serve as the gateway to the Willamette Valley, with Newberg, Dundee and McMinnville just over the hill. You don’t have to spend your entire day traveling to access Oregon wine country!
Bill and Sheila Blakeslee represent the heart and soul of vineyard ownership with their love of the earth, passion for good wine, and a true entrepreneurial spirit. They are a dynamic couple who insist on excellence in all of their endeavors.
Bill, a Portland native, recently retired from the corporate world where he oversaw the daily operations of the prospering business he founded nearly 45 years ago. Since acquiring the vineyard in 2005, it has been Bill’s passion to learn and preserve the art of winemaking, maintain a sustainable vineyard, and create a place for his community to enjoy.
Sheila, originally from Bend, also enjoyed a rewarding career in the corporate world with a strong focus on sales, startups, and her own business. As a self described, “Girl of Nature”, the garden is her special corner of the estate, whether it’s tending the organic vegetables she cooks for friends and family or the beautiful ornamental plants that make the grounds so inviting.
The vineyard is situated on the South side of the Chehalem Mountains at an elevation of 500’ to 550’. We are unique in that we are located both in the Chehalem Mountains AVA as well as the newly created Laurelwood District AVA. We sit on a North/South slope and the vineyard crowns East to West, where we can capture the long cool morning sun and the hotter shorter afternoon exposure. We farm 100% sustainably and earned our LIVE Certification with the 2012 harvest. We dry farm and have learned through expert vineyard management and experienced wine making techniques to handle the various curve balls thrown by Mother Nature each year. The vines are grafted to root stock and planted in Laurelwood soil (a powdery volcanic soil) atop a hard clay sub-soil. This unique combination of soils, premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay clones, vineyard management, and winemaking result in unique and distinctive wines.
Hover on vineyard blocks in the image below to learn more about our vineyard