We arrived in Monroe, Oregon, in 1980 with a zeal to make Pinot noir. You see, in the 1970s we had been living in Berkeley, California, and working for Lawrence Ferlinghetti at The City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco. Just down the road from our home a new restaurant called Chez Panisse had opened. At the time, we couldn't believe that they were charging $5.00 for an entreé—but the food was so good . . . and when it was paired with great wine, well, it was like heaven!
We quickly became passionate about wine . . . but not the big, bruising Cabernets that were beginning to be produced in California. No, we preferred the more elegant, earthy, and intriguing wines of Burgundy, made from the great Pinot noir grape. Clinging to the 'back to the country' ethos of the 1970s, we thought we could start a vineyard and winery on a shoestring. We were right . . . and we were wrong! A shoestring was all we had, so we made it work, but it also took a very long time for it to really work well! In the 1970s, California land was too expensive for us, and besides, we were convinced it wasn't the best place to grow Pinot noir—we needed someplace cooler . . and cheaper.
Oregon was the answer. Land was affordable (then!) and a small band of winemakers had just proven that Pinot noir could be grown—and superb wines could be made—from this nether region, far from what the hordes saw as the California "wine Mecca." We searched for a warm site in the cool climate of the Willamette Valley, and we found it on a hillside in Monroe. An unconventional location—not the Red Hills - but right where this unconventional winemaking family wanted it: on the edges of what was then considered to be an outlandish place to grow grapes!
The rest is history. Our fabled 1994 Claudia's Choice put us on the map, and today our loyal Broadley followers clamor for our expression of each new vintage. Even so, we can only make so much wine—there are only a set number of Broadley Vineyard vines, and for our four main releases, there will never be any larger amount available. However, we have recently begun purchasing fruit from a precious few of Oregon's other great Pinot noir vineyards, so afficionados will have a chance to see how the Broadley character gets stamped onto different Oregon terroirs!