Despite its status as one of the larger wine producers in Oregon, Duck Pond Cellars remains small at heart and is a family-owned winery through and through. Originally from California’s Central Valley, lifelong farmers Doug and Jo Ann Fries moved their young family to the small Central Oregon town of Sunriver in the early 1980s. In 1984, they purchased property along the banks of the Willamette River in Dundee, Oregon, where they planted a 500-acre hazelnut orchard. As devoted wine aficionados, they also planted a small 13-acre vineyard with the hopes of producing a few hundred cases of their own wine. In 1990 son Greg Fries began college at UC Davis with the intent to study agribusiness. An elective course in enology sparked a new interest, though, and he changed his focus to learn the art and skills of winemaking. As daughter Lisa neared her own college graduation, the four family members crafted a plan to begin their own small winery in Dundee. On Memorial Day Weekend of 1993, Duck Pond Cellars opened its doors to the public for the first time, named in honor of the family home on Sunriver’s Duck Pond Lane. In the early to mid-90s, the family continued acquiring land throughout the Northwest that they felt would be suitable for vineyards. Wishing to try their hand at warmer-climate varietals, they purchased a large parcel on Eastern Washington’s Wahluke Slope where they planted a wide variety of grapes including Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. Dubbed Desert Wind Vineyard, the vineyard has supplied fruit for Duck Pond wines, as well as the family’s Washington State brand, Desert Wind, launched in 2001 to showcase the exceptional fruit from the vineyard.
The nose is filled with fruity aromas, starting with Bartlett pear and fresh pineapple, then lemon and lime. Fruit dominates the round and delicious flavors, featuring a pleasant entry of Granny Smith apple, sweet lime and enjoyable grassiness. There’s a touch of minerality in the finish.