Former Oregon Car Dealer Gears Up with Jachter Family Wines

For more than 27 years, Dave Jachter owned and operated successful car dealerships in Oregon. Many in the Willamette Valley may recall his tagline in commercials — “And that’s no bull!”

Judging by his hiring of Jared Etzel as winemaker, Jachter is taking plenty of horsepower into the Chehalem Mountains with Jachter Family Wines.

Jachter’s business acumen and commitment to Willamette Valley communities saw him through a successful career and impressive awards in the auto industry, including a nomination in 2017 for Time magazine’s Dealer of the Year.

Through the decades, Jachter quietly cultivated an interest in wine with a cellar to match. Recently, he sold the car businesses and decided that rather than retirement he would turn to the world of wine. 

In addition to being a supporter of Northwest wines, Jachter has traveled to wine regions in France, Italy and California while exploring wines from other corners of the world. He also studied viticulture through University of California-Davis, completing a variety of courses to build his expertise.

Now, research is focused on the beautiful 120-acre parcel of land that he and his wife, Karen, purchased a short drive northwest of Newberg in the Chehalem Mountains American Viticultural Area. 

From there, his first decision was to hire Etzel, who is also winemaker at Domaine Roy and son of Beaux Frères co-founder Michael G. Etzel. Jared studied under the late Denis Malbec, an immensely talented, Bordeaux-born winemaker. Together, Etzel and Jachter have worked side by side, along with the rest of the Jachter Family Wines team, evaluating and tending to the red volcanic soil that covers the hillside — a well-drained, lustrous, ideal grape growing soil that Etzel classifies as A+.

The site, which ranges from 620 to 900 feet in elevation, is now planted to 17.5 acres of Pinot Noir clones 777, Wädenswil, Coury and Pommard (including 3 acres planted to a field blend of six clones), three clones of Chardonnay (95, 76 and Wente) and a few acres of Pinot Meunier, Nebbiolo and Gamay Noir.

The first commercial vintage from these estate plantings will likely be 2023. In the meantime, Jachter and his team are helping to drive forward a business that will include a tasting room that they hope will be open in the first half of 2022. 

Children take active roles in Jachter Family Wines

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Dave and Karen Jachter and their children are involved in the winery, vineyard and business at Jachter Family Wines near Newberg, Ore. (Photo courtesy of Jachter Family Wines)

The refined tastes of Karen Jachter, a physical therapist and wine aficionado, will be reflected throughout the property. (Guests should ask Karen how she describes her favorite wines.)

Their son, Aaron Jachter, a sustainability-focused steward of the land, oversees farming along with respected vineyard management firm Results Partners. Aaron’s wife, Candra, is the wine club manager and web designer. Dave and Karen’s three daughters — Danielle, Kara, and Shaina — and their families also will be supporting the operation.

Chef/restaurateur/wine steward Ron Acierto has been hired as customer experience general manager of the 6,000-square-foot tasting room, which will be under construction soon. 

Under the design of Waterleaf architect Stephen Lapp, the tasting room and visitor’s space will be equipped with a tasting bar, gazebo, an outside deck overlooking the vineyards and fire pit. The commercial kitchen will offer small plates as well as support winemaker dinners and other special events.

While waiting for his vineyards to produce, Jachter is not sitting on his laurels. In addition to constructing a state-of-the-art winery and barrel room, he and Etzel are working with fruit from neighbor Kathleen Keppinger’s Case Vineyard, which is organically farmed. A decade ago, Keppinger and her late husband, Steven Case, planted 22 acres of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, and she remains dedicated to grape growing. Jachter and Etzel also have been sourcing fruit from a few other vineyards in Willamette Valley.

Many of us can remember exactly when we fell in love with wine. For Jachter, his fascination was ignited in 1975. After finishing final college exams, he and a buddy headed to a fine restaurant and asked the waiter to bring to the table a good red wine.

“How about a GREAT red wine?” asked the server. 

It was a bottle of Château de Beaucastel Châteauneuf-du-Pape — considered among the greatest wines of France. And a passion was born.

He and Karen vow to continue their generous work in public service with this new endeavor as they are firm believers in giving back to the community. Their grand opening will be one to remember, and as Dave would say, “And that’s no bull!”

The inaugural lineup of Jachter Family Wines includes:

Jachter Family Wines 2019 Raindance Foothills Vineyard Chardonnay,  Chehalem Mountains, $48: Intensely aromatic with honeysuckle and tree fruits on the nose, this mouthfilling Chardonnay marries new world fruitiness with old world intensity. Meyer lemon, Ginger Gold apples, crisp pear, subtle butterscotch, and nicely integrated oak nuances meld seamlessly, and the finish lingers on and on.

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Jachter Family Wines 2019 Case Vineyard Rosé, Chehalem Mountains, $32: Opening with a mouthwatering citrus blossom aroma, this juicy, dry rosé is bright and refreshing with strawberry and raspberry fruit at the core. Hints of tangerine and lemon verbena peek through on the vibrant finish.

Jachter Family Wines 2019 Pinot Noir, Ribbon Ridge, $42: This engaging Pinot Noir from nearby Ribbon Ridge Vineyard broadcasts forest floor, red fruit and violets on the nose, and the entry is tantalizing. Rich and deeply flavored with wild mushrooms, Bing cherries, vanilla bean, red raspberries, and sandalwood accents filling the palate. Beautifully balanced and structured, and the finish is long-lasting.

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Jachter Family Wines 2019 Cuvée Karen Ann Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, $48: A melange of Flanerie and Case vineyards, rose petals and spice on the nose drive you into the glass. Black raspberries, Sweetheart cherries, anise, pomegranate, and a thread of earthiness broaden on the palate with well-managed toasty oak spice. Complex with refined tannins leading to an elegant, persistent finish.

Jachter Family Wines 2019 Case Vineyard Pinot Noir, Chehalem Mountains, $58: The engaging scents of a fragrant bouquet of flowers leads to dark cherries, savory blueberry compote, hints of oak, and exotic spice filling the mouth. Concentrated and deeply flavored with a silky texture and fine balance.