Bells Up Tasting Experience, Wines Reviewed by Sips N Tips

Caitlin Hodges, the wine writer who pens the Sips N Tips blog, visited us in May as part of her tour of the Willamette Valley with her husband, Tucker. She’s since posted a full article—”Bells Up Micro-Boutique Winery in Willamette Valley, Oregon“—about her tasting experience here, as well as reviews of several of our current wines

Here’s a couple of excerpts from her post:

“I was thrilled to have the opportunity to sit down with Dave and Sara for a fun, casual wine tasting on the patio at their winery. Dave and Sara’s vivacious storytelling was the perfect backdrop for enjoying Bells Up wine. As I listened to their anecdotes, I witnessed first-hand the qualities that have allowed Dave and Sara to be successful in pursuing this winemaking dream of theirs: resilience, humility, perspective, and appreciation for the little things in life.”


“Getting to know their clientele is a central part of Dave and Sara’s mission. Dave and Sara also make wine tasting approachable by incorporating simple wine education into their tastings. In their words, “There are no wine snobs at Bells Up!” Instead, every customer is made to feel as though they are part of the family in a casual, completely unintimidating environment. You are free to sit back, relax, and sip on some fantastic wine as laughter, storytelling, and classical music fill the air.”

Caitlin and Tucker Hodges on the Bells Up wineporch.

Hodges also wrote some extremely kind things about our wines:

2018 Helios Estate Seyval Blanc: This is the first and only Seyval Blanc produced in the Willamette Valley, and only the second in the state of Oregon! This vibrant white wine is acid-driven and shares many of the same characteristics of Sauvignon Blanc. The Seyval Blanc is bold, unique, and can hold up to food pairings. It’s a rare varietal and is definitely worth trying!

2018 Rhapsody Pinot Blanc: Full of melon and citrus flavors, this full-bodied white wine has balanced acid and velvety texture. Aged in stainless steel, this wine offers a clean aroma and sharp finish on the palate. A refreshing sip on a hot day or perfect dinner pairing.

2018 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir: The vibrant color of this Rosé is worth a thousand words of its own, and the flavor stands out as well. The Prelude Rosé is aged for 6 months in neutral French oak, giving it an earthy backbone. It features flavors of fresh berries and subtle spice as well. An absolute standout.

2016 Titan Pinot Noir: Perhaps my favorite of the lineup, this Pinot Noir has perfectly balanced tannins, hints of spice, and ripe berry aromas. Dave described 2016 as a perfect year for Pinot Noir…even as a young wine, the Titan is perfectly balanced. 

2017 Candide Nemarniki Vineyard Reserve Pinot Noir: Aromas of tobacco and strong spice flavors make this a promising Pinot. This is a perfect wine for ageing, as its nuanced flavors will begin to shine more over time. With that said, it is a perfect representation of the minute details that the Willamette Valley soils can produce in the Pinot Noir grapes.

2017 Firebird Syrah: While not grown in the Willamette Valley, this Syrah was still a standout in the lineup. The Firebird showcases a deep purple color, full body, and mild tannins. It is aged for 12 months in oak, and is a “bigger” wine than the Pinots. It was a treat to see another wine region represented in the Bells Up lineup, particularly one as outstanding as the Walla Walla Valley. 

Winemaker Dave was particularly thrilled with Hodges’ feedback on the winemaking consistency. She writes, “While each of these six Bells Up wines were very different from one another, it was clear that Dave maintains a consistent approach in his winemaking style. Each wine was like a chapter from a book: each “chapter” taught you something and provided context, which allowed you to appreciate the next wine even more. Altogether, they created a beautiful story that spoke of tenacity, passion, and the hopeless romance of following a dream.”

Thanks Caitlin! It was an honor to host you and Tucker.

Want to experience your own private tasting appointment at Bells Up? Call us at 503.537.1328 or email to schedule.

Or, taste our wines without an appointment during our Summer Sendoff: Labor Day Weekend Open House, noon – 4:00p.m. on Saturday, August 31 and Sunday, September 1.


Bells Up Winery | 27895 NE Bell Road | Newberg, Oregon 97132 | 503.537.1328 |

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