This week, we at The Independence were able to sit down and chat with Beatrice Keeler of Keeler Estate Wines, and we can’t wait to share with you all of her wisdom on wine, cooking, pairing, and what makes Keeler Estate unique. For an extra bonus, Beatrice has shared with us a recipe to pair with their White Pinot Noir. If you try it (and we highly recommend that you do) make sure to tag The Independence and Keeler Estate on your social media posts!
Director of Marketing, Beatrice Keeler
Keeler’s natural winemaking style means native yeast fermentations and very little manipulation of the resulting wines.
1. What makes Keeler “an experience for the soul?”
Beatrice Keeler (BK): From the time you enter the Gate of Keeler Estate Vineyard, you leave all of your troubles behind you and enter a beautiful place with natural landscapes and ponds. You continue through a long driveway with changing views to the tasting room, where you will find special people greeting you when you arrive. Keeler Estate is where you will enjoy a few hours or a day with us—enjoying a peaceful elevated wine tasting. We also have hiking trails if you desire to take a stroll through our Oak savanna to breathe fresh air and reconnect with nature.
2. What does being the director of marketing entail, and what about it brings you the most joy?
BK: Director of Marketing is a job that brings me joy and challenges me every day. I am in charge of running the tasting room, wine club, weddings, marketing, and distribution, as well as many other things to make Keeler successful. I also get to work with my parents, which is an honor. Every day I meet people from all over the world, getting to know their stories and tastes. It is such a pleasure to be part of Keeler Estate Vineyard, seeing it grow to the next level and accomplish all my parents’ dreams.
3. What is something about you that people might not know?
BK: I raised 300 sheep and 15 beef cows here at Keeler before it became a Vineyard. Showed the sheep across the United States with a truck and trailer, selling the breeding stock with champion bloodlines. I am now the Beekeeper for Keeler Estate Vineyard with ten working hives.
Beatrice in Beekeeper mode.
Beatrice the Bee keeper with Keeler’s Bee hive vessel
Harvest is “all hands (or paws) on deck”! Beatrice and her dog Paco, working the Harvest.
4. What is the strangest or funniest experience you’ve had working in the wine industry?
BK: We are dog and family-friendly here at Keeler Estate Vineyards. On one sunny summer day, a family showed up with their four kids. We sat them out in our shady grove area and I left to get the kids’ special goodie bags and parents’ wine. When I arrived back, one of the children had a Rabbit on the end of a leash. She looked up with her big blue eyes and said, “Miss Beatrice, Is it ok that I brought my Bunny today? She would not be happy if I left her home in the cage.” What could I say to that! My heart melted. “Of course, dear, your bunny is welcome here.” The parents were so relieved. They all sat there for the day enjoying the shade and warm weather while the kids ran around the property, and Bunny sat quietly in the shade eating its carrot.
Bring your pets, youngsters, and friends to Keeler; and feel free to bring your own snacks or purchase a charcuterie board from the tasting room.
5. If you could describe Keeler Estate in 3 words, what would they be?
BK: Special, unique, and spectacular.
6. What is one thing you wish everyone knew about wine?
BK: Wine is not just something you can drink. It is an experience for your soul. You can drink a glass of wine and taste the soil type, the year it was grown in, and the winemaker’s gift of making wine.
Golden hour at Keeler is breathtaking!
Enjoy a tasting on the fabulous observation deck!
7. How did Covid-19 change the way Keeler is run, and do you think you’ll keep any of those changes after all quarantines are lifted?
BK: Covid has reminded us that family and close friends are most important. While running a winery and tasting room, we have learned to bring people together in an outdoor experience, especially in the rainy and colder seasons. What I found out is people are resilient. They will try anything if you show them a tent outdoors with a cozy fireplace and a warm greeting. Having people outdoors in a rainstorm has shown us that we can create a perfect place anywhere we wish as long as we have a smile on our faces and a warm heart. Once quarantines are lifted, we will keep the outdoor tent to continue our pourings and our tasting room. This way, people have options. We also have found pouring all of our wines in small crafts for the whole flight is a perfect idea. The crafts allow the customer to taste at their own pace and show them all of the beautiful colors of our wines. It is a great conversation starter for everyone.
8. What makes Keeler different/stand out from the other wineries in the area?
BK: Keeler Estate Vineyard is a family-owned and run business. My parents and I work closely every day to ensure all works smoothly. We also all live on the same property supporting each other in many ways. We love our land and work hard to take care of it. Everything is thought out carefully before we take the next step on whatever we decide. We honor who lived here hundreds of years ago and who will live here hundreds of years later. Our Biodynamic, salmon-safe, and Organic certifications show this. We want the wine to show the love of our land, and the expression of our soil and microclimate. We also age our wines in concrete and terracotta vessels, which age back to the Greek and Roman times of winemaking.
The Keeler family moved to the 200 acre property in 1990 and through a labor of love have made it what it is today.
Visit Keeler and you might get to meet Beatrice & Gabriele the amazing Mother-Daughter Duo making it all happen!
9. Do you have a favorite Keeler wine?
BK: I have two favorite wines here at Keeler Estate Vineyard: Our Barrel-Aged Pinot Gris and Craig’s Reserve Pinot noir. The Barrel-Aged Pinot Gris is a bright wine on the front and oaky on the back. It’s a different Pinot Gris than you have ever tried before with outstanding complexity. This wine is the best with BBQ pork, roasted vegetables, and a beautiful salad. Craig’s Reserve Pinot Noir is a wine with a long flavor on the palette and still lingers after you swallow. It is more complex than our Estate Pinot Noir and goes very well with steak or a roast. It is aged on French Oak for 18 months.
The popular 2019 Pinot Gris Skin Contact and Beatrice’s recommendation 2016 Barrel Aged Pinot Gris
Beatrice pouring their Estate Pinot Noir, serving up the “wow factor!”
10. What is your favorite aspect of pairing wine and food?
BK: Wine and food pairing are lovely. They are like music when you have the perfect pairing.
11. Do you have any tips for people wanting to learn how to better pair wine with food? (For ex. Does one come first? And if so, is it the food or wine? How do you know what varietals of wine to pair with various foods? Do you consider the year it was harvested? Etc.)
BK: With my experience, I like to start with the wine. Taste it, feel it on my palette, and experience it. See what it has to say to me. Then I will move to the flavor it is showing from the growing season—the aging process and vineyard. Once I have this information, meat or veggies pop out to me that will pair well with this wine. Then I move to what kind of recipe I would like to make. I have over the years made very complex recipes that have taken me hours to complete and many trips to different stores and my children eat it in two seconds. So I have decided to make things more fun for me. I like to go to my pantry and see what I can start with. Then if I need to go to the store, it should only be one trip to get all of the ingredients. Making this simpler has put passion back into cooking. I can develop elevated recipes that do not take so much time.
12. What is one thing in the kitchen you cannot live without?
13. Do you listen to music when you cook? If so, any recommendations to put on a playlist?
BK: Music is a must while you cook. Playlists are personal to each one. It is all up to you. Just get your groove on. That is all that matters.
Beatrice and Paco enjoy Keeler’s grounds, beautiful in every season.
Beatrice pours a flight for an outdoor tasting at Keeler!
14. Can you share with us some of your favorite recipes you like to pair with Keeler wines?
BK: I’m sharing one most popular recipes here at Keeler Estate (see below). It pairs so well with any vintage of our White Pinot Noir.
I add a recipe in every release of our Wine Club. My goal here at Keeler Estate’s Wine Club is to get people to start cooking and see how wine and food elevate your dinner—making it easy but tasty. Once you start doing this, you will find that not only can you cook; you can also have a special time in the kitchen with your loved ones. You are sharing experiences, talking, and laughing. This is something we all need in our lives.
Keeler has a wine for everyone, including Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay, and Riesling.
Beatrice recommends pairing the Mushroom Chowder with the Keeler 2017 White Pinot Noir.
Recipe below courtesy of Beatrice Keeler at Keeler Estate Wines:
Wild Mushroom Chowder
This rustic, aromatic mushroom soup is an excellent pairing for our 2017 White Pinot Noir, which has soft tannins and high acid.
- 4 ounces pancetta or thick-cut bacon
- 1 russet potato, peeled and diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1 large carrot, diced
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon fresh rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh-ground black pepper
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 1 1/2 pounds mixed wild mushrooms, cleaned and diced
- 4 cups chicken or beef stock
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
- Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish
In a large Dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until fat is rendered and bacon is barely cooked, 5 to 7 minutes. Add the potato, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, oregano, thyme, salt, and pepper, and cook until vegetables are softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add white wine and use a wooden spoon to scrape any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. When liquid is reduced by about half, add mushrooms and cook for 10 minutes. Add stock and continue cooking until mushrooms are fully tender, about 3 minutes more. Add cream and stir. Serve hot, garnished with a sprinkle of parsley. Enjoy with a glass of 2017 Keeler Estate Vineyard White Pinot Noir.