Belle Pente Vineyard and Winery began in the 1990s as Brian O’Donnell left his job at Intel Corporation in nearby Hillsboro, OR to try his hand at farming. He and his wife Jill, who met in a beer-making class, have successfully built a vineyard and winery in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of the Willamette Valley. Their winemaking philosophy is based on refined, tender and balanced wines made from grapes grown with organic and biodynamic practices (non-certified).
Brian works with two primary vineyards that are designated for the Pinot Noirs: his estate Belle Pente Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA (marine sediment, aka Willakenzie soils) and Murto Vineyard, in the Dundee Hills (volcanic, or Jory soils). The distinction of the wines are profound and demonstrate the extreme differences in Pinot Noirs produced in these two major types of Willamette Valley soils.
Belle Pente Vineyard is one of the warmest sites in the Willamette Valley for Pinot Noir. It is among the very first harvested in the fall, although Brian’s style lends itself to a slightly early harvest anyway. His harvest crew operates the slowest sorting table we’ve ever seen, and this is just one piece of evidence of Brian’s attention to detail.
We began trying to convince Brian to let us distribute his wines in Virginia and Washington, DC around 2003, but it took several more years to convince him to add another state to his small distribution area.