Welsh Family Wines 2017 Blaufränkisch

Do something unusual. Do it well.

One evening, while vacationing in Boston, we wandered into a neighborhood wine bar. We were perusing the wine list when a commotion seemed to be happening by the bar. It was Dan Welsh, Oregon winemaker, receiving the accolades of the locals for his Blaufränkisch.

Blaufränkisch? That’s right. What Dan Welsh and Wendy Davis have come to understand is that to make it as an Oregon winemaker, you’ve got to make Pinot Noir – but it’s nearly impossible to make it exclusively on Pinot Noir. Instead, they’ve found a niche and they’re owning it.

Dan and Wendy came to wine from the world of high tech – big jobs with long hours. But when their twins were born, they reflected on their frequents trips to Europe and realized it was a time for a change. In Europe, wine is an every day part of life. So, before long, Dan was taking classes at the Northwest Wine Academy and helping with harvests in Washington and Oregon.

Now, they’re producing wines at the collaborative winemaking incubator in Portland, the Southeast Wine Collective. And having realized that “be the best at something” is good advice for both wine and business, they’re doubling down on that Blaufränkisch – and making it in Oregon wine!

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Welsh Family Wines, Portland, Oregon
2017 Blaufränkisch

Blaufränkisch is native to the Burgenland region of eastern Austria, near the Hungarian border. As a high-quality medium-bodied wine, it’s been called “the Pinot Noir of Eastern Europe”.

The Welsh Family Wines edition is grown at Dauenhauer Farms in Dayton, Oregon. The Dauenhauer family takes a minimalist approach to vineyard management, allowing the vines to develop a protective canopy that’s critical for early fall rains.

This wine almost didn’t happen in 2017. The warm summer was late to arrive, putting this late-ripening variety at real danger of failure. But a brief and unusual warm spell in late October sealed the deal.

Ultimately you’ll find that this Welsh Family Blaufränkisch is a surprisingly juicy wine with notes of currant and pepper, paired with plenty of spice and a soft acidity. Pair it with a grilled salmon or chicken, or with classic German dishes like braised pork and lamb.

A Cellar 503 selection in September 2018, Back to school: Unusual Varietals Willamette Valley |

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