Benchmark Vintage + Benchmark Vineyard = Benchmark Wine!

Lucky If Dick Shea Sells You Grapes!


Shea Vineyard was first planted to wine grapes in the late 1980s. Today Shea Vineyard is a 200-acre property with 140 planted acres. 135 of these acres are planted to Pinot Noir vines and the balance is planted to Chardonnay.

Roughly 25% of the Pinot Noir fruit produced each year by Shea Vineyard is used by Shea Wine Cellars for its releases. The other 75% of the Pinot Noir fruit is sold to some of the finest winemakers in Oregon and California. 75% IS SOLD!! It isn’t easy to get some of this great fruit but I think no one knows the vineyard and the terroir and the clones of  The Shea Vineyard as well as winery owner and winemaker Josh Bergstrom

2012 Bergstrom Shea Vineyard Pinot Noir

Shea Berg Front

Shea Berg Rear

When John and Karen Bergström began Bergström Wines, they wanted to start a business that would become a legacy for their children and pay tribute to John’s agricultural Swedish upbringing. With these dreams in mind, the couple moved from Portland to Dundee, where they planted the Bergström Vineyard on a gentle, 13-acre, south-facing slope overlooking the wide expanses of the Willamette Valley. In 1999, Josh Bergström, the fourth of five children, returned home to Dundee from a postgraduate program in Viticulture and Enology in the Burgundy region of France. With him, he brought his fiancée Caroline, and the two were married that fall in the Bergström Vineyard. Bergström Wines was also born that fall as the young couple harvested their first vintage of Pinot Noir from high-quality fruit purchased at a neighboring winery. Currently, Josh is general manager, winemaker and vineyard manager at Bergström Wines, and Caroline manages the sales team. 

2012 was IMHO THE BENCHMARK VINTAGE for Oregon Pinots. It was the 10th vintage that Josh Bergstrom worked closely with Shea. This vineyard produces the most powerful Oregon Pinots in the State. Out of the 22 wineries that Shea Sells fruit from this 140 acre vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA, Bergstrom is now the largest client. For this single vineyard production they get 10% of 5 distinct clones of Pinot Noir blocks on the East Hill of the vineyard. I was expecting big and robust fruit and tannins from this 2012 so let’s see what I got.

My Review

Shea Berg Glass Side

Shea Bottle Glass

Dijon Clones 777 and 115 are my fave and both are in this bottling. Gave this baby a solid 2 hours of aeration in a Decanter. The color was a bright Black/Purple/Raspberry with much lighter tones on the edge indicating it’s 8 years of age. 30% new oak and 13.9% ABV. gave this some heavier than normal weight for Oregon. Aggressive swirling in my Oregon Pinot Glass smacked my nostrils with sweet crushed violets, blueberry, blackberry, cherry compote like aromas with an iron and mineral component in the back and smoky earth with hints of mushroom. You can smell Shea Vineyard blindfolded. On the palate BAM… A rich, powerful mouthful of berry fruits, being lifted up by mouthwatering acidity (My Mouth Was Constantly In Need Of My Dental Hygienist’s Mr Sucky Tool) , gigantic compote like flavors on the mid-palate and no denial of a strong dark ground black coffee finish with some sweet spices and round tannins that linger and linger for over 1 minute after swallowing. NOW I AM MAD I ONLY BOUGHT ONE BOTTLE OF THIS… This is a SOLID 96 Point out of 100 and maybe took over the 2012 ROCO Private Stash as my new Crowned Winner of the best 2012 Oregon Pinot I have tasted. This wasn’t cheap but I think it was in the $50-$65.00 price but well worth it. 


I don’t know if there will ever be such a ripe powerhouse vintage in Oregon like 2012. I do know that Shea Vineyard was and always will be my benchmark vineyard when showing off Oregon Pinots versus Red Burgundy. There are a lot of similarities in the flavor profiles and aromas. Find this wine somewhere on the internet and do some roasted pork tenderloin or seared medium rare duck breast and see what a Benchmark Vineyard with a Benchmark Vintage and Benchmark winemaker like Josh Bergstrom can produce. It all adds up to A Benchmark Wine. Hey Burgundy… I would keep an eye on Josh!!

Grape-fully yours, Larry

Josh Bergstrom. He Knows Shea Vineyard

Shea Josh Bergstrom


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