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Copyright © 2018
Forkmedia LLC


by Fred McMillin
for March 27, 2000


Quack! Quack!


Duck Pond Merlot Duck Pond Cellars is on track to become one of Oregon's biggest producers of low-cost premium wines.

Production will ramp up to 30,000 cases over the next few years with the addition of grapes from their new 450-acre site on the Wahluke slope in Washington's Columbia Valley.

(from Northwest Wines by Gregutt & Prather, 1994)

The Rest of the Story

Why has this hard-charging Oregon winery planted a large vineyard in Washington? The critics have the answer.

  • Robert Parker, Jr.—Washington State is producing some of the finest Merlots ever made in the United States.
  • Bob Thompson—While Merlot reaches its peak in very few sites elsewhere in the world, this variety has shot to the forefront in Washington by delivering consistently appealing wines.
  • About the Wahluke slope on the east side of the Columbia River, Bob says: "Its long, consistent exposure to the south and superior air drainage make it one of Washington's least freeze-prone territories...Merlot is planted here."

Wine of the Day

1997 Duck Pond Merlot at only $12
Columbia Valley, Washington State
Owners—Jo Ann and Doug Fries founded their fast-growing winery only 11 years ago. Their son, Greg, graduated from U.C.-Davis in enology, and is winemaker. Daughter Lisa and her husband Scott Jenkins sell what Greg makes. Production—The above, 1994 prediction of 30,000 cases a year soon came true, and then some. The latest figures I have top sixty thousand!
Contact—In Dundee, Oregon, (503) 538-3199, FX (503) 538-3190
Rating—There's a bottle in my next S.F. State wine class. We'll let you know what the students think of it. At $12, I expect it will get a HIGHLY RECOMMENDED in its price range, but we'll see.


About the Columbia River, my favorite geographer, Prof. John Baxevanis, tells us that it has twice the flow of the mighty Nile.

Oh yes, about the name. The Fries family home in Sunriver, Oregon is located on Duck Pond Lane.

And last, the '95 Merlot received a good review in WineDay, June 24, 1997, titled, "Don't Duck this Merlot".

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.


This page created March 2000