Winemaker Michael D. Etzel

Winemaker Michael D.  Etzel

Winemaker Michael D. Etzel

Beux Freres | Newberg, OR |

"We aim to preserve the character of our terroir, the personality of the vintage, and the quality of the wine. It's in this process that we truly capture the essence of the vineyard." – Michael D. Etzel, Winemaker

Mikey Etzel's tenure at Beaux Frères began in 1994 when he and his two brothers sought to acquire the recently debuted Nintendo NES game console. Their father advised them that if they truly wanted it, they would have to work for it. That summer they pulled suckers from the vines by hand for $4 an hour until they had saved enough. This strenuous initiation would prove to be an asset to Mikey's work ethic in the formative years that followed.

A deeper interest in wine developed soon after, when his uncle Robert Parker pulled a few strings to connect him with an internship in Spain during his Freshmen year at college. The exposure he gained while working in Rioja deepened his burgeoning appreciation for the world of wine. That appreciation convinced him to devote himself entirely to the pursuit of a life in wine.

Upon his return in 2006 to Oregon State University, he solidified his calling by enrolling in the newly formed School of Enology and Viticulture, and graduated swiftly thereafter in 2008. Following graduation, Mike joined Willakenzie Estate as the Assistant Vineyard Manager. Under the tutelage of Daniel Fey, who ran the 130-acre vineyard, Mikey was inspired by the leadership required to achieve a similar level of quality to that of The Beaux Frères Vineyard.

The following year, Mikey and his older brother, Jared, founded a small-batch production project called Coattails. The name served as a ‘shout out’ to the vast collection of individuals that had helped them along in their journey as winemakers.

Mikey moved on to fellow Ribbon Ridge AVA winery Brick House Vineyards in 2011, where he managed a 20-acre biodynamic vineyard. Where he became increasingly holistic in his approach to farming.

Just two years later, he was approached with an offer to become the winemaker for a startup operation called Chapter 24 Vineyards. The project was guided by a consulting winemaker Henri Jayer from Vosne Romanée. The position proved to be a unique challenge, placing him directly in charge of a 12,000-case production that sourced grapes from across the entire Willamette Valley.

In 2015, Mikey and his father agreed the time had come for them to make an earnest attempt at working together. Mikey joined the Beaux Frères team first as Vineyard Manager and Winemaker for his father's new boutique production and private estate vineyard project called Sequitur. Soon, father and son discovered a unique yet dynamic working relationship with Mikey being named head Winemaker and Viticulturalist in the 2016 vintage. His primary focus now is to carry forward the family tradition of making terroir-driven wines.

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