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By Barb Randall – Originally published Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019 in the Lake Oswego Review

Natalie’s Estate Winery should be on your wineries to visit list, according to Barb Randall.

What took so long?

Know how when you finally get around to doing something you intended to for a long time, you wish you had done it so much earlier?

That’s how I felt when I finally visited Natalie’s Estate Winery in Newberg. I had noticed the blue TOD (Tourist Oriented Directional) sign for Natalie’s and always intended to stop. Finally I did, and it was a real treat.

Natalie’s Estate Winery is a small family-run winery, founded in 1999 by Boyd and Cassandra Teegarden. It is named for their daughter, Natalie, and the wine labels are adorned with a hummingbird, a symbol of their winemaking philosophy: To be a small producer where the intensity of the wines becomes their strength. The winery was founded with one goal in mind: To make big, rich extracted wines with structure.

Boyd has been making wine for 30 years. He began his wine industry career when he was hired into the top-rated management training program for E&J Gallo Winery. That training gave him the opportunity to get in-depth knowledge of both the business and production sides of the wine industry. It also gave him an opportunity to work in various markets around the country, and exposure to some of the best minds in the wine business.

Gallo moved the couple to the Oregon market to focus on supplier relationships in 1995, and the Teegardens saw Oregon’s wine industry blossoming. They decided the time was right for them to pursue their dream of building their own world-class boutique winery.

Cassandra’s background is in international business, and she utilizes her career with corporations like American Airlines Computer Systems, Mentor Graphics Engineering and several small internet companies in handling the day-to-day business of the winery.

When I visited harvest was still several weeks off; Boyd was checking the brix levels of his grapes to determine the sugar content. He farms using sustainable and organic practices, which he feels are essential to the preservation of the health and beauty of the place and to produce the best quality wine grapes and wine possible. He is part of the Oak Accord, a voluntary conservation agreement by landowners in the Willamette Valley to protect and restore the native oak habitat on their property.

Boyd uses traditional European winemaking techniques to produce wines that are unique and reflect the artisan care the family puts into making both single vineyard wines and robust blends. He produces Pinot Noir and Rose of Pinot Noir from their estate vineyard, but also a long list of varietals including Sangiovese, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and others from Columbia Valley vineyards in both Oregon and Washington.

Boyd makes wines under four brands, including Natalie’s Estate Winery, the premium brand sold throughout the U.S., Rock Horse Ranch, offered wholesale and to Cellar Club members, Silhouette, sold to the wholesale market and Big Sky Collections, created and sold in Montana.

I loved the wines and enjoyed the views from the Forest Porch, their tasting room which is nestled in the Chehalem Mountains, giving it a treehouse feel.

Boyd and Cassandra offer Elevated Tasting Experiences which allow guests to expand their wine knowledge while enjoying their wines. You can attend winemaker’s receptions, vineyard dinners, barrel tastings, blending classes and even helicopter tours. They also lead trips to international wine regions, which sound marvelous.

“Being involved in wine is not about being the most knowledgeable person but understanding how wine within a region has shaped the people, their food and of course their different nuances of wine styles,” Boyd writes on the website. “Another important revelation is understanding the importance of wine in bringing people together.

“Our international wine travels have inspired me to focus our production on the methods of the Old World using traditional farming and production methods like organic and sustainable farming, hand work in the fields, small lot fermentation, basket pressing, barrel aging in small barrels and lastly bottling unfiltered and unfined. This allows me to produce a wine without stripping the soul from the wine versus using modern technology to shape and chemically make a wine in a lab.”

Natalie’s Estate Winery is located at 16825 NE Chehalem Drive in Newberg. The tasting room is open by appointment, so visit nataliesestatewinery.com to schedule an appointment.

The website is full of information about the wines, events and also recipes which pair beautifully with Natalie’s Estate wines. Boyd suggests pairing this recipe for Mushroom Filled Pork Chops with Pinot Noir or Syrah. I agree, but also encourage you to try his Zinfandel or the rosé — both are delightful.