Joe Dobbes is a long-time Oregon native and business owner. He started his first business at the age of 12 growing and selling Marionberries to Smuckers. With a knack for farming, a love for cooking and a degree in biology, winemaking proved to be his career path early in life.
Joe got his start in the Old World in the mid-80’s as an apprentice at Weingut Erbhof Tesch in West Germany. This first winemaking experience abroad led to an excitement to return home and sink his teeth into the Willamette Valley wine world which was at its precipice of gaining international acclaim. At the first ever International Pinot Noir Celebration in McMinnville, Oregon, Joe was offered the opportunity of a lifetime in Burgundy, France. He worked the 1988 vintage in Burgundy under the tutelage of two luminaries, Christophe Roumier of Domaine G. Roumier and Dominique Lafon of Domaine des Comptes Lafon.
Working with these luminaries, literally opened the cellar doors to numerous iconic wine producers throughout France. Fully aware of the remarkable opportunity he found himself in, Joe immersed himself in the Burgundian winemaking culture and teachings passed on through centuries. Some of which he practices in the vineyard and winery today.
Back home, Joe grew his experience working with Oregon’s own icons like Elk Cove, Ken Wright, and others before spending 6 vintages as Head Winemaker for Willamette Valley Vineyards from 1996 to 2001, which he refers to as graduate school. In 2002 with his life savings in one pocket, Joe started his own multi-faceted winemaking company, Wine by Joe and Dobbes Family Estate in Dundee, Oregon. Wine by Joe grew to be one of the largest wine brands in Oregon and was named the “Number 1 Hot Brand” in the United States in 2011 by Wines Business Monthly.
After 17 years at the helm of his company and wearing many hats, Joe stepped aside in 2017 essentially semi-retiring. In 2018 he realized his dream by purchasing a 21-acre vineyard property and estate home on the west bench of the Eola-Amity Hills of Oregon’s famous Willamette Valley where he and his wife Patricia reside. Joe started Iterum Wines in 2019 focusing on the production of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Sauvignon Blanc from their Orchard House Estate Vineyard.
After many years of overseeing the making of large quantities of wine he has come full circle and returned to his winemaking roots.
Joe is a featured winemaker for the Honoring 40 years in the Willamette Valley Dinner on Saturday, March 2, at 7:00pm.