Oregon winemakers line up to purchase Shea Vineyard fruit. The list of highly rated wines made from the 200 acre, North Willamette Valley vineyard is staggeringly long. Shea has graced Wine Spectator's Top 100 and scored as high as 96 in Wine Advocate. Shea Vineyard makes some of Oregon's best Pinots under their own label, Shea Wine Cellars.
Shea Vineyard is a warm site that excels in cooler vintages. And in warm vintages, like 2012 and 2014, it really shines in typical Shea fashion with rich, dark, generous wines that are supple and friendly, concealing the structure that will allow them to age for more than a decade.
Winemakers line up to purchase Shea Vineyard fruit. The long list of highly rated wines made from the 200 acre property in the North Willamette Valley includes a 97 point (Wine Advocate) Pinot noir and many 90-95 point Pinots. Beaux Freres, St. Innocent, Raptor Ridge, and Penner-Ash are some of the wineries whose single vineyard Pinot noirs from Shea fruit have received top scores.
Owners Dick and Deirdre Shea founded Shea Wine Cellars in 1996 to showcase their favorite fruit from Shea Vineyard. Their 2004 vintage received international prominence, making Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines list for 2006 with their 95 point Shea Wine Cellars Estate. Other 2004 Shea wines received 95 points (Homer), 94 points (East Hill), 93 points (Wadenswil) and 90 points (Block 23).
The Shea Vineyards were planted in 1989 and were, at that time, made up of mainly Pommard and Wadenswil clone Pinot noir and Dijon Clone Chardonnay vines. In the 1990s, many of the vines were lost to phylloxera, but new vines were planted to replace those lost, and - all the while - Shea Vineyards remained one of the most recognized and celebrated vineyards in Oregon.
Dick and Deirdre Shea have sought out some of the best winemakers in Oregon since the first Shea Wine Cellars vintage in 1996. Their winemakers have included Michael Stevenson (Panther Creek, Stevenson Barrie), Ken Wright (Ken Wright Cellars), David Autrey (Westrey), Patty Green (Patricia Green Cellars), Sam Tannahill (Archery Summit, Francis Tannahill, A to Z), Chris Mazepink (Ebony, Archery Summit), and Drew Voit (Harper Voit).
Of primary importance to the Sheas and their winemakers has been the preservation and enhancement of what the vineyard gives them. To not overly manipulate the very special fruit that Shea produces is paramount. Thus, methods have been developed for the Shea wines that continue to be used, independent of any one winemaker.