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?
With an investment from Michael’s sister Pat and her husband, wine critic Robert Parker Jr., the dream began to take shape. (The name Beaux Frères refers to the French idiom for “brother in law.”) They moved to the farm the following summer, three little boys in tow, and Michael began his focused pursuit as a vineyard manager by planting only Pinot Noir and slowly transforming the farm into their jewel.
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.
The Beaux Frères team consists of fifteen year round, full-time employees. Several of those individuals have been members of the team for many years, in some cases eclipsing nearly a quarter century with the company. As we near harvest each year, our team grows to include a collection of harvest interns, a harvest chef, seasonal tasting room guides, and a few extra hands in the vineyard (the majority of our 2022 vintage crew is pictured above).
Our father & son tandem continues to preside over the day-to-day elements of the entire business. They are assisted in the vineyard by our two longest-serving employees, Rogelio Rosales (27 years) & Omar Perea (23 years).
Our small but mighty team is driven by a commitment to uphold the promise built throughout the last 30+ years, from our Winemaking effort to our Sales/Marketing/Hospitality crew, and Administration. The goal is for each individual to contribute their best and highest skills toward the end result of bringing lovingly crafted wines into the hands of those who will treasure them as we do.
All told, the primary focus of our business family is stewardship, working in our various capacities to capture and thrive alongside the rhythms of the growing season. Daily walks in the vineyard are encouraged; harvest lunches bring every member of the team together; and whistling while we work is nothing less than a directive. It is a collective honor to journey alongside this landscape in the Ribbon Ridge.