A Craftsmen’s Estate
All in the family
When your dreams of becoming a winegrower combine with a chance encounter with rich soil that’s perfect for grape growing, it’s suddenly very tempting to found a vineyard. And when you happen to have an eminent wine critic in the family, the prospect becomes twice as appealing!
The route to Oregon
When on vacation on the U.S. West Coast in 1986, Michael discovered 88 hectares of good agricultural land, and his interest was instantly piqued. This was in the middle of Oregon, the promised land of 19th century pioneers and a veritable Eden for farmers. At the time, the land was being used for raising pigs and chickens, but he saw its potential for grape growing instead.
Thick as thieves
Michael shared his idea with his sister’s husband Robert who, after all, knew a thing or two about wine. The two agreed to create the vineyard together and its name was easy to find—Beaux Frères means “brothers-in-law” in French. Nothing but Pinot Noir was planted on the site, and the first grapes, which were harvested in 1990, were sold to local wineries as they still didn’t have a cellar of their own. In order to move into large-scale wine production, they would need an investor.
And then there were three!
In 1991, Quebecker Robert Roy entered the scene. He not only came with great admiration for Parker, but also a wealth of experience in construction, business and, of course, wine. He presented the two founders with a concrete business plan backed by the funds needed to turn the old farm into a full-fledged winery. A deal was struck and the business was immediately poised for growth. To this day, Roy continues to be the estate’s financial manager. Michael runs the operations with his son Mike D. Etzel (born at the same time Beaux Frères was founded), who is in charge of vinification.
It’s a well-known fact that Robert Parker is always on the hunt for excellent wines. He seeks them out wherever he goes, but especially at his estate. Ever since the first vines were planted, the same philosophy has guided the estate: to intervene as little as possible and give priority to growing practices that are matched to the soil type and produce the most authentic wines possible.
Does Parker rate Parker wines?
Robert Parker has been the editor-in-chief of The Wine Advocate for 42 years, but he has never published reviews of his own wines. However, he has produced tasting notes to accompany each of his products!