French Connection

Caballus Cellars is a project between Veronique Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Isabelle Dutarte of De Pente.

My Cover story for the June Issue of Oregon Wine Press:

French Connection

Caballus Cellars canters across the Oregon wine finish line

by L.M. Archer

Caballus Cellars is a project between Veronique Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Isabelle Dutarte of De Pente.

Forty years of friendship informs Caballus Cellars, a joint project between two of Oregon’s most esteemed winemakers, Véronique Boss-Drouhin of Domaine Drouhin Oregon and Roserock Oregon, and Isabelle Dutartre of De Ponte Cellars.

They met while girls in Beaune, France, bonding over a mutual love of riding horses. Incidentally, the word Caballus is horse in Latin. A friendship developed, deepened by a stroke of serendipity.

“We liked each other and had fun riding,” recalls Véronique Boss-Drouhin. “But then one day, it’s harvest time, and I see Isabelle in the winery.” (At that time, Domaine Drouhin Oregon did not exist. Robert Drouhin, Véronique’s father and CEO of Burgundy’s Maison Joseph Drouhin did not establish Domaine Drouhin Oregon, or DDO, until 1987, followed by Roserock Oregon in 2013.)

”What are you doing here?” Boss-Drouhin asked.

“I was hired by Monsieur Robert Drouhin to come and help for harvest,” responded Dutartre, who was studying enology at the time. “What are you doing here?”

“Well, I happen to be part of that family,” Boss-Drouhin said. “And I’m helping, too.” Dutartre so impressed Robert Drouhin he hired her full time to run the domaine’s lab, a job she held ten years.

In 1985, Véronique joined the family domaine. “My first assignment was to help Isabelle in the lab,” says Boss-Drouhin. Part of the job involved tasting samples, often alongside Robert Drouhin and Laurence Jobard, his winemaker. Jobard, one of Burgundy’s first professional female winemakers, later encouraged Boss-Drouhin to pursue her own winemaking career.

Impressed by the aptitude shown by both young women, Boss-Drouhin’s father assigned the two pre-tasting duties, taking winery samples and selecting the best. Later, the four would meet to taste those samples deemed superior, in order to determine final selections. This lasted about five years, until Boss-Drouhin assumed winemaking at DDO in Dundee. “You can tell that we had the best time,” Boss-Drouhin says with a smile. READ MORE HERE.


More articles by L.M. Archer about the Willamette Valley’s French Connection here.


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.