Yakima, WA Jan 4, 2022 – Quality has long been a focus of Hugh and Kathy Shiels’ vision as wine grape growers. Thirty years ago, while most Washington grape growers were planting vineyards in any available land, the Shiels envisioned a vineyard with key characteristics for growing world-class wine.
The Shiels were looking to plant on a site on steep south-facing hills, with poor soil quality and various aspects and elevations for proper ripening. This was the beginning of one of Washington’s most preeminent vineyards – DuBrul Vineyard.
Working with Dr. Wade Wolfe, the site was planted to take advantage of the variability. Chardonnay was planted on the cooler north-facing aspect, while Cabernet and Merlot took advantage of more heat on the southerly slope. Over the decades, further refinements in irrigation, canopy management, disease control, and sustainability have both elevated and benefitted from planting the right varieties in the right place.
Basalt bedrock and a thin layer of loess combine with river rock and mineral deposits from the ancient Columbia River. This unique geological profile contributes to wines with a distinctive sense of place. Winemakers started recognizing this by the mid to late 90s and bottling the wines as vineyard designates while this was still a rarity in the region.
In 2001, the Shiels founded Côte Bonneville to showcase this sense of place in classical, age-worthy styles. Still, most of the grapes grown on these 45 acres are destined for other wineries, with the amount going to the estate winery never exceeding 25%. DuBrul grapes have gone to some of Washington’s most respected wineries including Quilceda Creek, Woodward Canyon, Long Shadows, DeLille Cellars, Owen Roe, Betz Family Winery, Avennia, and Valdemar Estates, as well as Côte Bonneville.
The consistent quality of DuBrul fruit continues to be prized by winemakers around the state, often being referred to as “the best in my cellar”. Wines made from DuBrul Vineyard have been featured in Forbes, Sunset, Seattle Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, and The New York Times, as well as The Wine Advocate and Wine Spectator.
Still family owned and operated, DuBrul Vineyard looks forward to the next 30 years with the second generation taking the reins. Kerry Shiels brings her UC Davis education and global winemaking experience while continuing to focus on quality, innovation, and sustainability.
About DuBrul Vineyard
DuBrul Vineyard is one of the preeminent vineyards in Washington State. Planted in 1992 in the Yakima Valley on a steep south-facing hillside, the grapes and wines from this site make up some of the most highly regarded wines in the region. Purity of fruit, concentration, and low pH are hallmarks of the fruit from this site. Up to 25% of the production is vinified by the estate winery, Côte Bonneville, while the rest is sold to other Washington wineries. For more information, please visit www.cotebonneville.com