Have you ever wondered what your passion for fine wine could become beyond the common, yet highly respectable status of winoholic? A group of Quebec entrepreneurs and investors can tell you first hand. They have a unique story, and a vision driven by passion, realized through proven business sense and invaluable industry experience. In 3 short years, they’ve achieved a shared dream now known as Domaine Roy & Fils, where they produce their much anticipated Oregon Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays, the once underdog frontier for premium wines.
25 years after establishing the prominent Beaux Frères winery, Jared Etzel and Marc-André Roy seized the opportunity to continue in their fathers’ footsteps. “Most of the investors approached us,” comments Roy. “It was truly special to have their recognition, let alone feel their faith in the next generation.” Etzel adds, “We apply the same meticulous, almost obsessive focus of our fathers to the development of Domaine Roy & Fils. Our partnership has always been a natural fluidity between families.”
With big shoes to fill, the search for the right property started with a vision to redevelop an existing, neglected vineyard. After 2 years without success, they shifted their search to raw land, and found an old hazelnut orchard located in Dundee, at the epicenter of the Willamette Valley. “It seemed like fate,” says Marc-André. “Many have desired this land, but none succeeded. We were fortunate enough to acquire it.” The natural orientation of the estate is a clear dream for winemakers because of its south facing hillside, ranging in elevation between 400 and 600 feet with a volcanic soil embedded with basalt rock; a prime profile for fruit bearing vines.
After planting 13 high-density acres of Pinot Noir and 2 acres of Chardonnay (all farmed organically) in Dundee, expansion led to their Carlton estate, surrounded by an oak savannah with south and east exposures, and elevations ranging from 360 to 550 feet. This estate has a composition of mineral driven marine, sedimentary soils speckled with a rare occurrence of crystalline quartz, and holds 24 acres of Pinot Noir and 2 acres of Chardonnay, also farmed organically.
n keeping with their impressive pace, construction of the Domaine Roy & Fils winery commenced during planting season. Located on popular Worden Hill Road of their Dundee estate, the winery showcases refined “barnitecture” through clean symmetrical lines and the use of natural elements. “We wanted to maintain an elegant simplicity that frames our dramatic, panoramic view of the Dundee hills,” says Etzel. “The winery respects its environment by integrating into the landscape, and features a Pacific Northwest style.” Reclaimed wood from a single old eastern Oregon barn, combined with curated antiques and custom carpentry create a unique atmosphere.
The centerpiece of the tasting room is an oval table made from an old Bay Area barge that shows the natural corrosion of salt water. A secondary tasting room features a raw edge table crafted from an oak tree that was harvested from the Carlton estate. Both give the winery an organic and refined feel while paying tribute to the area’s history. The setting allows guests to taste current vintages and alliance wines, a selection of collaborative productions from the Etzel family.
In early 2016, Domaine Roy & Fils received a 92 point rating from Wine Spectator for their Maison Roy & Fils 2013 Incline, produced using non-estate fruit. “We celebrate this achievement at such an early stage. It validates all of the work that we’ve painstakingly executed, and reminds us of the value in collective experience,” comments Roy. “Better yet, the tastings of our estate wines promise incredibly successful inaugural vintages. Our success is due to our diverse team of professionals, who each give their best each and every day.” The management team at Domaine Roy et fils includes two (2) Quebecers who moved to Oregon last year: Melissa Rondeau (Hospitality Manager) and Alain Plamondon (Vice President/Partner). “We’re not only blessed by this, but supported by a solid business plan to produce and sell amazing wines directly to consumers within the US and Canada, including Florida, a popular destination for Quebecers,” said Marc-André Roy. Courrier Vinicole will feature Maison Roy & Fils 2014 Petite Incline in August 2016. The wines can also be purchased directly from the winery or through a distributor. More information at domaineroy.com