Bio - Terry Casteel - Winemaker Emeritus
- Posted on April 09 2011, 10:45 am
- Posted by BHV Blog
Terry was the winemaker at Bethel Heights from our first commercial vintage in 1984 until he passed the baton to his son Ben in 2006. The majority of Oregon’s pioneer winemakers came to the region and to the winemaking profession in unpredictable, illogical and amazing ways; Terry’s route is even more circuitous than most. His first degree was in English Literature from the Presbyterian (read no-alcohol) Whitworth College in Spokane. At Princeton, Casteel was awarded a Master’s Degree in Theology. Back in Washington, at the University in Seattle, Casteel received his PhD. in Educationa Psychology. Terry started making wine in his basement in Seattle while earning a living practicing psychology in Seattle in the 1970’s.
Terry's winemaking style evolved along with our vineyard, and always reflected the intimate connection between Bethel Heights Vineyard and the people who live here. His approach was well articulated in an extended interview following the 1999 vintage: “I look for a transparency in our winemaking that allows the character of the site to show through. We want to express in our wine not just the character of Pinot noir, but the character of Bethel Heights. We want to capture the synergy between this grape and this place.”
Besides making wonderfully expressive wines for our first thirty years, Terry was actively involved in the Oregon wine community, and was a respected mentor to many fellow winemakers. Terry served as a founding member of the board of the International Pinot Noir Celebration from 1988 to 2002, and served many years on the board of the ¡Salud! Pinot Noir Auction to support healthcare services for vineyard workers.
Terry is also an accomplished photographer. He created many of the iconic photos of Bethel Heights that are seen in the winery and on our website.