Dave and Sara Specter will share their symphony of grapes with you…one tasting at a time!
When Dave and Sara Specter stood among nine acres filled with misfit Christmas trees, they were already used to unusual ideas. On the couple’s fifth wedding anniversary in 2006 they mixed up a bottle of wine, just for fun. Then, they wondered what it would be like to make wine in the basement of their Cincinnati, Ohio home. After all, doesn’t everyone do that in Ohio? Napa…maybe. Italy, most likely. Ohio? Probably not. But, Dave and Sara did…and they liked it!
Now, overlooking the rolling landscape, standing among dying Christmas trees, instead of thoughts of sugarplums dancing in their heads, they had dreams of grape vines. Rows and rows of grape vines.
They didn’t come from a family of farmers, they came from corporate America. In fact, Dave was a recovering tax attorney. But as his wife Sara so wisely said to him a few years earlier when he walked away from his successful, yet unfulfilling, life as an attorney to apprentice at a local winery, “…You are really successful at something you hate, so how much more successful would you be doing something you loved!”
And they loved making wine. So the spark of an idea that started on the anniversary traditionally marked by the gift of wood, which represents strong roots in your relationship, was about to literally take root in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
After an apprenticeship with Joe Henke of Henke Winery, who has been named one of the top winemakers in the country by Wine Enthusiast, they were ready to dig in and give life to their unusual idea. They would clear the land, plant from scratch in rich volcanic clay, nurture the vines with love, and grow a symphony of wines that would join the growing collection of wineries in the region.
Bell’s Winery is the result of their dream. Why the name? Dave is a french horn musician and the term “bells” plays homage to that craft. “Bells Up” refers to the moment when the composer instructs French horn players to lift their bells to project a dramatic moment, filling the space with sound. Plus, perhaps as a sign of serendipity, the property they ultimately purchased is located on Bell Road.
Each wine they produce taps into this musical background. The personality of the music is tied to the personality of the wine. And just like music stirs an emotion and forms a connection between person, place, and sound, Dave and Sara are inspired by the idea of how their wines can create a tasting experience that connects the drinker to Bells Up Winery in a unique and memorable way.
They do this by intentionally being one of the smallest wineries in the Willamette Valley, producing around 600 cases a year. Wine lovers can make an appointment for an intimate tasting on the deck overlooking the rolling landscape, while enjoying something from the kitchen, and something from the vineyard.
Dave and Sara enjoy sharing the story of their wine, meeting the guests where they are in their wine journey, and bringing them to the next stanza. As wine guides, they walk you through the tasting of their Pinot Noir, Rose’, Pinot Blanc, Syrahs, Cabernets, and Seyval Blanc, highlighting what you may experience as the wine plays on your palate from first taste to finish. And just like the final note from a musical piece will leave an impression, they hope that the finish and the experience with their wine will linger so you anticipate returning for their next musical masterpiece, in grapes. Watch for their upcoming bubbles, Schioppettino, in April!
Are there a lot of wineries in Willamette Valley?
There are currently over 700 wineries in the Willamette Valley which is where two-thirds of the state’s wineries are located. It was awarded the 2016 Wine Region of the Year and is popular for its Pinot Noir. You can visit any of the Valley’s AVA’s which include:
- Chehalem Mountains
- Dundee Hills
- Eola-Amity Hills
- Ribbon Ridge
- Van Duzer Corridor
- Laurelwood District
- Tualatin Hills
- Lower Long Tom
- Mt. Pisgah
- Willamette Valley
Harvest season is in September and October, while the most popular time to visit Oregon’s wine country is July and August.
The Willamette Valley is located in western Oregon and spans from the Columbia River in the north to Eugene in the south. The region is known for its mild climate, warm summers and cool, wet winters, which make it an ideal place for growing grapes.
The region’s wineries range from small, family-owned operations to larger commercial vineyards. Many of the wineries offer tastings and tours, giving visitors a chance to sample some of the region’s finest wines and learn about the winemaking process. You can enjoy a range of tasting experiences, from casual and laid-back to more formal and structured. Many wineries also offer tours of their facilities, giving visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the winemaking process.
In addition to wine tasting, the Willamette Valley is also known for its scenic beauty and outdoor activities. Visitors can explore the region’s many parks and hiking trails, go fishing in the Willamette River, or take a hot air balloon ride over the vineyards.
In addition to wine, the Willamette Valley is known for its agriculture, including hazelnuts, berries, and vegetables. Portland, Eugene, and Salem are popular cities in the region.
How to Enjoy Bells Up Winery:
Make an appointment for a tasting. Small and larger groups are welcomed to enjoy a personalized tasting scheduled three times a day. They don’t use a distribution service and wines are sold directly from them to you…with love! You can buy wines at the winery, on the website, and through the wine club.
Bells Up Winery
Location: 27895 NE Bell Road, Newberg, OR 97132
Winery Landline: 503.537.1328
Bells Up Winery Wine Club
Before starting their wine club, Dave and Sara asked people what they liked and didn’t like about other wine clubs. As a result, Bells Up Winery members choose a minimum of six bottles a year which are shipped to your door. Discounts apply if you choose to purchase more than six bottles.
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