Natalie’s Estate marks 20th anniversary

By Barbara Smith Randall – Oregon Wine Press, June 1 2020

Undoubtedly, the year 2020 will be remembered for the devastating COVID-19 pandemic, but for Boyd and Cassandra Teegarden, this year marks 20 years of Natalie’s Estate Winery. For two decades, the couple has worked diligently to attain this milestone, so they are celebrating by continuing their craft production.

“I still get excited about making wine,” Boyd says. “It’s very rewarding. It’s very rewarding to have something that you planted, you grew, you picked, you made, you bottled … and then, you are somewhere and somebody’s trying it, and they don’t know you from Adam and you hear them say ‘Wow, that’s really good!’ That’s very rewarding.”

The Teegardens moved to Oregon in 1995. He was working for E & J Gallo Winery, focusing on supplier relations; she had an upper management career in international business. The couple arrived just in time to witness the local wine industry blossoming; they decided it was time to pursue their dream of building their own winery.

“It was a natural next step for us,” Cassandra explains. “We originally thought we wanted to be in Napa, but the cost of land was prohibitive, and we really fell in love with the neighborly approach of the Willamette Valley.”

Natalie’s Estate Winery is named for their daughter. The labels, designed by Cassandra, are adorned with a hummingbird, symbolic of their winemaking philosophy: To be a small producer where the intensity of the wines becomes their strength. The couple founded the winery in 1999 with a goal of making big, rich, extracted wines with structure. They crafted their first vintage in 2000. The Newberg facility was built in 2003; the treehouse-style tasting room, in 2004.

“We are celebrating our 20th anniversary with the same style wine we started making 20 years ago and will continue to make each year, a whole-cluster estate Pinot Noir,” Boyd says.

When starting their venture, the Teegardens took advantage of Portland’s hot culinary status in the mid-2000s. Boyd’s business acumen enabled them to place their wines in many of the city’s most popular restaurants, such as Wildwood, Higgins and RingSide.  Still, they were cautious about growing too fast.

“When the market crashed in 2008, we decided to stay small,” he recalls. “We wanted to be a small boutique and get to meet our customers, one on one.”

Boyd uses traditional European winemaking methods to produce artisan wines, both single-vineyard and blends.  Natalie’s Estate focuses on making Pinot but is also known for its wide selection of robust reds.

“I am always open to new varietals, which probably drives Boyd crazy,” Cassandra says.

Each year, the couple travels to Europe to rediscover Old World wines, winemaking methods and much more.

“It is not just about the wine,” Boyd explains. “It’s about the people, the place, wine and food. And it’s about sharing that experience with others.” That’s why they open the tour to members of their cellar club. She adds, “We’ve taken tours to Spain, France Italy and Sicily — I consider it separate from Italy because of its unique experience.”

“We take small groups so we are able to go up tiny roads to visit small wineries and have an intimate experience, so we can truly experience the wines, the people and the food, and then bring that experience back with us,” he says.

Intended to educate people on European wines and limited to about 17 people, the tours remain popular; many people sign up year after year. “We may have to go to two tours a year to accommodate everyone,” says Cassandra.

Natalie’s Estate also offers a variety of experiences for the public and club members, including barrel tastings, dinners and classes.

“The barrel tastings are very popular,” Boyd says. “You get to experience fresh from the barrel wine against its aged finished product.”

Natalie’s Estate offers estate-grown Pinot Noir and rosé of Pinot Noir, plus a variety of big, bold reds from grapes grown to Boyd’s specifications in eight blocks in the Columbia Valley AVA. The list includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

“We’ve got a wide array of varietals because we love trying new ones and trying our hand at making them,” she explains.

The Teegardens have witnessed many changes in the past 20 years but say the same neighborly collaboration within the wine community is still as neighborly as ever, in addition to their commitment to presenting food- and wine-driven experiences.

“We want people to sit and savor our wines,” Boyd says. “That is what we started out focused on, and we will remain true to that.”

Sitting and savoring Natalie’s Estate wines could be the perfect way to endure the current stay-at-home edict; it certainly will make the experience more pleasant.

To learn more about the winery, visit www.nataliesestatewinery.com. Wines are available to ship or pick up. Check online for event listings.

Natalie’s Estate Winery is named for their daughter. The labels, designed by Cassandra, are adorned with a hummingbird, symbolic of their winemaking philosophy: To be a small producer where the intensity of the wines becomes their strength. The couple founded the winery in 1999 with a goal of making big, rich, extracted wines with structure. They crafted their first vintage in 2000. The Newberg facility was built in 2003; the treehouse-style tasting room, in 2004.

“We are celebrating our 20th anniversary with the same style wine we started making 20 years ago and will continue to make each year, a whole-cluster estate Pinot Noir,” Boyd says.

When starting their venture, the Teegardens took advantage of Portland’s hot culinary status in the mid-2000s. Boyd’s business acumen enabled them to place their wines in many of the city’s most popular restaurants, such as Wildwood, Higgins and RingSide.  Still, they were cautious about growing too fast.

“When the market crashed in 2008, we decided to stay small,” he recalls. “We wanted to be a small boutique and get to meet our customers, one on one.”

Boyd uses traditional European winemaking methods to produce artisan wines, both single-vineyard and blends.  Natalie’s Estate focuses on making Pinot but is also known for its wide selection of robust reds.

“I am always open to new varietals, which probably drives Boyd crazy,” Cassandra says.

Each year, the couple travels to Europe to rediscover Old World wines, winemaking methods and much more.

“It is not just about the wine,” Boyd explains. “It’s about the people, the place, wine and food. And it’s about sharing that experience with others.” That’s why they open the tour to members of their cellar club. She adds, “We’ve taken tours to Spain, France Italy and Sicily — I consider it separate from Italy because of its unique experience.”

“We take small groups so we are able to go up tiny roads to visit small wineries and have an intimate experience, so we can truly experience the wines, the people and the food, and then bring that experience back with us,” he says.

Intended to educate people on European wines and limited to about 17 people, the tours remain popular; many people sign up year after year. “We may have to go to two tours a year to accommodate everyone,” says Cassandra.

Natalie’s Estate also offers a variety of experiences for the public and club members, including barrel tastings, dinners and classes.

“The barrel tastings are very popular,” Boyd says. “You get to experience fresh from the barrel wine against its aged finished product.”

Natalie’s Estate offers estate-grown Pinot Noir and rosé of Pinot Noir, plus a variety of big, bold reds from grapes grown to Boyd’s specifications in eight blocks in the Columbia Valley AVA. The list includes Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.

“We’ve got a wide array of varietals because we love trying new ones and trying our hand at making them,” she explains.

The Teegardens have witnessed many changes in the past 20 years but say the same neighborly collaboration within the wine community is still as neighborly as ever, in addition to their commitment to presenting food- and wine-driven experiences.

“We want people to sit and savor our wines,” Boyd says. “That is what we started out focused on, and we will remain true to that.”

Sitting and savoring Natalie’s Estate wines could be the perfect way to endure the current stay-at-home edict; it certainly will make the experience more pleasant.