Twenty-two years ago, Betz Family Winery was founded with a basic tenet: search ceaselessly for the highest quality vineyard sites, pay attention to every detail in the vineyard, then give time in the cellar for slow evolution of each parcel’s unique characteristics. The French have a saying for this emphasis on vineyard as the primary engine of wine quality and character, “Sous Nous,” which means “under us.” We believe that the soul of our wine is not in the cellar…it’s under us in the jumbled mixture of soil and vine.
This quest for unique expressions of site and variety, or “Sous Nous” has taken us through the best plantings of Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah and Grenache across Washington. It brought us to impossibly old, dry-farmed bush vines of Chenin Blanc in South Africa. And now, it has led us to a new and perhaps inevitable destination: limited-production bottlings of Pinot Noir from exceptional single vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Oregon’s Willamette Valley is the former floor of the Pacific Ocean, holding marine sediment deposited over millennia amongst a tangled maze of creases and folds in the Earth. The vines planted here exhibit a diverse range of intense expression… delicate and profound Pinot Noir that embodies the essence of that magical marriage of site and grape which brings us back to explore the variations again and again. After years of methodical searching, we’ve found several extraordinary parcels grown on this Marine sediment layer in the northern Willamette Valley, predominantly in the in the Yamhill Carlton Appellation. Each site reflects a different facet of Pinot’s elegant and seductive breadth: Guadalupe Vineyard, Matteri Vineyard, Saffron Fields Vineyard and the iconic Shea Vineyard. These make up the inaugural release of SUNU.