The First Seyval Blanc in the Willamette Valley - Bells Up Winery

Dave Specter, Owner and Winemaker of Bells Up Winery, discusses his planting of Seyval Blanc in the Willamette Valley, Oregon. This the first Seyval Blanc planting in the Willamette Valley. Seyval Blanc is a hybrid variety most often growing in Ohio and and midwest, but Seyval Blanc also makes beautiful wine in Oregon.

This is Episode #67 of Understanding Wine with Austin Beeman.


My name is Dave Specter, and this is Bells Up Winery. You are in our estate vineyard right now.

So what you're seeing is the Willamette Valley's only planting of Seyval Blanc. We've got roughly a half acre of it, about 250 plants with sticks that we picked up from a nursery in New York and had them shipped in. Had to do that because this is not a grape that you see here very often.

In fact, in the state of Oregon there's only one other planting, so we are number two. We started planting these back in 2015, and have been rolling forward ever since.

This is a grape that I've had a lot of experience with when we lived in Ohio. We see a lot of this grape planted in Ohio. It's what we call a hybrid grape, and it's a crossbreeding of a traditional French vinifera and a traditional American variety. Usually the reason that these kind of grapes get bred is to deal with the cold harsh winters that you see in the Midwest.


When you bring two grapes together, you're always going to get a taste and flavor that's very unique and very different. It gives you this amazing sort of melony, citrusy, tropical fruit type of flavor, that I think it's just so incredibly underrated and under-appreciated.

So Seyval Blanc means a lot to me. The very first grape wine I ever made was with these grapes, sourced from a little vineyard in Indiana just across the border from where we were living. And it's also a grape that I've just grown to love, not just from a flavor profile, but also my very first national wine competition that I entered and won was with this particular grape.

Now that we've been doing this for a couple of years and we've really been able to expose more folks to this grape, I think it's one that you'll be hearing about a lot more in the future.