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Oregon Wine Industry History


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A presentation on the history of Oregon wine created by the Oregon Wine Board for the

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Oregon Wine Industry History

  2. 2. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Oregon seemed inhabited by folks who often were of a stubbornly independent and even renegade character, never quite convinced of the perceived wisdoms and blessings of the wider world... all remaining in or coming to Oregon to seek or pursue some insistent, uncontrollable and potentially soul-wrecking passion. - CHANG-RAE LEE Food & Wine
  3. 3. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board HENDERSON LUELLING Image: Oregon Historical Society 1847 Oregon Trail pioneer Henderson Luelling brings his wife, eight children and several dozen varieties of fruit plantings from Iowa to the Oregon Territory, including Oregon’s first recorded grape plantings.
  4. 4. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board PETER BRITT Image: Southern Oregon Historical Society 1854 Peter Britt, a Swiss immigrant who has come to be known as the “father of the Southern Oregon fruit industry,” establishes the Northwest’s first winery, Valley View, in Jacksonville.
  5. 5. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1859 More than 50 years after Lewis and Clark arrived at the Oregon Coast, Oregon becomes the Union’s 33rd state.
  6. 6. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Image: David Hill Winery, The Oregonian ERNEST REUTER OREGON TEMPERANCE WORKERS Early 1900s Forest Grove winemaker Ernest Reuter wins silver for his Riesling at the 1904 St. Louis World’s Fair, the first award given to an Oregon winemaker. In 1916, zealous Oregon voters pass Prohibition four years before it takes effect nationally. Reuter’s vines are torn out to plant fruit trees and potatoes.
  7. 7. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board OWNER MARY REINKE AT THE STATE FAIR, ca. 1960 HONEYWOOD WINERY NOW PRODUCES PREMIUM VINIFERA WINES IN ADDITION TO AN EXTENSIVE SELECTION OF FRUIT WINES Image: Honeywood Winery 1933 Shortly after the U.S. Congress repeals the Eighteenth Amendment, John Wood and Ron Honeyman receive bonded winery status for Honeywood Winery in Salem, Oregon’s oldest continuously operating winery.
  8. 8. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1960s The modern era of Oregon wine is born. Lett and Coury had been told the rain would wash them out, they would grow fungus between their toes, it would rot their clothes off, and there was no way in hell they would be able to grow great grapes up here. -MYRON REDFORD Amity Vineyards Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place Pictured: David Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board
  9. 9. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1961 After a long dry spell following Prohibition, Richard Sommer launches the modern era of Oregon winegrowing with plantings at HillCrest Vineyard in the Umpqua Valley.
  10. 10. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1965 Defying conventional wisdom, but convinced that Burgundian varieties were better suited to Oregon than California, UC Davis classmates David Lett and Charles Coury separately make their way to Oregon and root the first Pinot noir vines in the Willamette Valley. DAVID LETT CHRISTENS HIS FIRST PINOT NOIR PLANTINGS Image: Oregon Wine History Archive / The Eyrie Vineyards
  11. 11. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1967 Back in the Umpqua Valley, Sommer bottles his first “crop of any consequence,” resulting in Oregon’s first vintage of Pinot noir. RICHARD SOMMER SAMPLES HIS 1967 PINOT NOIR Image: Oregon Wine History Archive
  12. 12. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1970s Intrepid pioneers plant roots and begin to get noticed. My mom always likes to say, 'There was Paris in the '20s and there was McMinnville in the '70s.' There was definitely a feeling here there was something cool afoot. -JASON LETT Second-generation winemaker at The Eyrie Vineyards Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place INDUSTRY HISTORY Pictured: Frank Wisnovsky of Valley View Winery Oregon Wine Board
  13. 13. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Images: Oregon Wine History Archive DAVID AND GINNY ADELSHEIM, ADELSHEIM VINEYARDS DICK ERATH, ERATH WINERY PAT AND JOE CAMPBELL, ELK COVE VINEYARDS NANCY AND DICK PONZI, PONZI VINEYARDS BILL BLOSSER AND SUSAN SOKOL BLOSSER, SOKOL BLOSSER WINERY DAVID AND DIANA LETT, THE EYRIE VINEYARDS Early 1970s The Willamette Valley's now-famous founders were once intrepid explorers - the Erath, Sokol Blosser, Adelsheim, Campbell and Ponzi families establish their first vineyards.
  14. 14. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1972 The Wisnovsky family revives Peter Britt’s historic property, establishing the first commercial vineyard and winery in the Rogue Valley. The family honors Britt’s legacy by retaining the original name of Valley View. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive / Valley View Winery FRANK WISNOVSKY AND HIS SON MIKE WITH NEW PLANTINGS
  15. 15. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1973 Oregon Senate Bill 100, the Land Conservation and Development Act, passes, protecting agricultural land from suburban sprawl. Thanks to forward-thinkers from the blossoming Oregon wine industry, hillsides perfect for wine grapes were included in the protection. Image:
  16. 16. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Image: Unknown 1975 Trendy Portland restaurant L’Omelette is the first to introduce an Oregon section on its wine list, curated by then- sommelier David Adelsheim. L’OMELETTE OFFERED FINE FRENCH DINING IN PORTLAND
  17. 17. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1977 Oregon’s winemakers join together to propose adoption of the strictest wine labeling regulations in the country. These innovative regulations protect the purity of variety and source of wines produced in Oregon. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive
  18. 18. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1979 Stunning results come in from the Gault- Millau Wine Olympiad in Paris: The Eyrie Vineyards 1975 South Block Reserve Pinot noir places in the top 10 in a blind tasting among the finest Burgundies. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive
  19. 19. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1980s A community grows and thrives. In the '80s there was a big surge of new people coming into the industry and they needed help and we wanted them to have help. We wanted things to be planted properly and them to plant the proper grapes. We wanted them to improve the quality because one flaw on a wine in the market would reflect on the whole industry. -DICK PONZI Ponzi Vineyards Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place Pictured: clockwise from bottom left: Joe Campbell, Bill Blosser, Don Byard, Myron Redford, Dick Erath, Fred Arterberry, Fred Benoit, David Lett, David Adelsheim INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board
  20. 20. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1980 Burgundian vigneron Robert Drouhin sponsors a blind tasting rematch of the 1979 Olympiad, reconfirming the evaluation of The Eyrie Vineyards 1975 Pinot noir. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive
  21. 21. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1980 The inaugural Steamboat Conference takes place with winemakers convening to learn from each other, share best practices, offer constructive critiques and “improve the breed” of Pinot noir. This event, held in the Umpqua Valley, has become an annual tradition and celebration of Oregon’s spirit of collaboration. Image: Steamboat Pinot Noir Conference WINEMAKERS SHARE IDEAS AT A RECENT STEAMBOAT CONFERENCE
  22. 22. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1980 Fourth-generation farmer Casey McClellan helps his dad plant Seven Hills Vineyard, one of the first commercial vineyards in the Walla Walla Valley. Image: Seven Hills Winery CASEY MCCLELLAN IN THE VINEYARD, 1987
  23. 23. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1982 When Umpqua Valley vintner H. Scott Henry notices a rapid decline in fruit quality in his vineyard, he takes matters into his own hands and designs an innovative vine-trellising system to give grapes greater sun exposure. The Scott Henry Trellis System is soon adopted by vineyards around the world. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive SCOTT HENRY AND HIS TRELLIS SYSTEM, 2013
  24. 24. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1982 Lonnie Wright purchases and revives The Pines, a century-old Zinfandel vineyard on the Oregon side of the Columbia Gorge, sparking a rebirth in winegrowing in that region. Image: The Pines 1852 Vineyard and Winery LONNIE WRIGHT AND HIS SON, LEE
  25. 25. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1983 Nine Willamette Valley vintners get together to form the Yamhill County Wineries Association and open their winery doors for the first “Thanksgiving Weekend in Wine Country,” now a beloved tradition. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive FOUNDING MEMBERS OF YAMHILL COUNTY WINERIES ASSOCIATION
  26. 26. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1983 The Willamette Valley is officially “on the map,” approved as Oregon’s first American Viticultural Area. In recognition of the marketing and research needs of a growing industry, Oregon's winemakers and grapegrowers petition to establish the Oregon Wine Advisory Board (now the Oregon Wine Board). To fund it, they elect to levee a $25/ton tax on themselves, the largest wine industry tax in the world at that time. I-5 I-5 Willamette R iver CASCADERANGE COASTRANGE PACIFIC OCEAN SALEM EUGENE PORTLAND SOUTHERN OREGON COLUMBIA GORGE WASHINGTON Columbia Rive r PORTLAND WILL
  27. 27. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1984 The Umpqua Valley becomes the first AVA in Southern Oregon to gain approval. Two AVAs spanning the Oregon-Washington border are established: The Columbia Valley and the Walla Walla Valley. I-5 WILLAMETTE VALLEY SOUTHERN OREGON Um pquaRiver S.Um pqua Riv er N. Umpqua River PORTLAND 160 MILES (255 KM) PACIFICE OCEAN 40 MILES (65 KM) SISKIYOUMTS CASCADERANGE ROSEBURGROSEBURG ELEVATION (FT) 11K 6K SEA LEVEL SOUTHER
  28. 28. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1985 Expert judges pick Willamette Valley Pinot noirs as the top three wines at the Burgundy Challenge, conceived by confident Oregon winemakers and hosted at the International Wine Center in New York. Wine Spectator and The New York Times pick up the story of Oregon’s success. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive
  29. 29. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1987 The inaugural International Pinot Noir Celebration (IPNC) takes place, gathering Pinot noir producers and lovers from all over the world. Now, more than 1,000 people gather each year to celebrate their favorite grape. Image: Adelsheim Vineyards AN EARLY IPNC GATHERING AT DAVID ADELSHEIM’S PERSONAL RESIDENCE
  30. 30. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1988 Following the 1987 purchase of 30 acres of land in the Dundee Hills by the highly respected Drouhin family of Burgundy, France, Veronique Drouhin makes Domaine Drouhin Oregon’s first vintage. Image: The Drouhin Family VERONIQUE DROUHIN AT YET-TO-BE-COMPLETED DOMAINE DROUHIN OREGON
  31. 31. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Pictured: Earl and Hilda Jones of Abacela 1990s The industry takes action to sustain resources for the future. INDUSTRY HISTORY Oregon has been a wonderful example of what an industry can do to make a living, increase the prestige of the state, bring money into the state and keep the land healthy at the same time. -NANCY PONZI Ponzi Vineyards Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place Oregon Wine Board
  32. 32. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1990 Ponzi Vineyards 1987 Reserve Pinot noir receives Oregon’s first recognition on Wine Spectator’s annual Top 100 list.
  33. 33. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1991 In recognition of some of the most important people in the industry, 18 Oregon wineries join forces to plan the annual ¡Salud! Wine Barrel Auction, raising funds to provide free healthcare to migrant vineyard workers. Image: Oregon Wine History Archive LEDA GARSIDE TAKES THE BLOOD PRESSURE OF A MAN AT A ¡SALUD! CLINIC
  34. 34. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1995 After searching for the best Tempranillo terroir in the U.S., Earl and Hilda Jones decide on the Umpqua Valley to plant their Abacela vineyard and Oregon's first Tempranillo vines. Image: Abacela EARL AND HILDA JONES AT THEIR NEW VINEYARD
  35. 35. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1996 Oregon’s wine industry enters an age of formalizing its environmentally friendly practices as Sokol Blosser becomes the first winery certified as “Salmon-Safe.” This third- party certification promotes products made without pesticides or causing runoff that would harm salmon.
  36. 36. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1997 A group of Oregon vintners join up to form eco-certification LIVE (Low Impact Viticulture and Enology). Today, nearly 300 Oregon wineries and vineyards have committed to meeting requirements for third-party certification of their sustainability practices.
  37. 37. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 1999 Cooper Mountain Vineyards becomes Oregon's first Demeter Certified Biodynamic® winery, a practice that entails a holistic view of treating the entire farm as a living organism.
  38. 38. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Oregon is finally fulfilling its vast potential. -ROBERT M. PARKER, JR. 2000s Oregon solidifies its place on the world's stage while keeping true to its roots. INDUSTRY HISTORY Pictured: Bergström Harvest Team, Image: CWK Photography Oregon Wine Board
  39. 39. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2001 The Portland urban winemaking scene is born in an inner southeast industrial park, as Renee Neely and Laurie Lewis launch Hip Chicks Do Wine in an old warehouse. There are now nearly twenty wineries operating within Portland. Image: Joshua Chang / PDX Urban Wineries URBAN WINEMAKERS IN PORTLAND
  40. 40. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2002 Eco-friendly Carlton Winemakers Studio opens, embracing the Oregon spirit of collaboration as the state's first co-op winery facility. There are currently 13 winemakers working at the Studio. Image: Clay McLachlan CARLTON WINEMAKERS STUDIO
  41. 41. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2002 Oregon's largest winery, King Estate, achieves organic certification for the entirety of its estate vineyards - all 465 acres of them. Image: King Estate Winery KING ESTATE WINERY
  42. 42. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2004 Winegrowers around the state continue to define their regions' distinctive traits and establish AVAs: • Southern Oregon AVA is established, encompassing the previously authorized regions of the Umpqua, Rogue and Applegate Valleys. • The Columbia Gorge AVA is established, joining the Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley as winegrowing regions shared with Oregon’s northern neighbor Washington. OREGON IN CONTEXT PACIFIC OCEAN CASCADERANGE IDAHO NEVADACALIFORNIA WASHINGTON SISKIYOUMTS MOUNT HOOD PORTLAND SALEM COASTRANGE C OLU M BI A RIVER ELEVATION (FT) 11K 6K SEA LEVEL
  43. 43. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2006 In 2002, winegrowers in the Willamette Valley collaborated to submit their applications for six new AVAs together in a single envelope in an act of collegiality and respect for each other's unique characteristics. By 2006, all six north Willamette Valley AVAs are approved. THECOASTALRANGE THECOASTALRANGE MCMINNVILLE RIBBON RIDGE DUNDEE HILLS CHEHALEM MOUNTAINS EOLA-AMITY HILLS YAMHILL-CARLTON WILLAMETTE VALLEY SUB-AVA PETITION AUTHORS, MARCH 15, 2002 Image: David Adelsheim
  44. 44. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2007 As the industry's footprint grows, 14 of Oregon's largest wineries join forces with the Oregon Environmental Council to kick off the Carbon Neutral Challenge, the wine industry's first carbon reduction program in the U.S. TASTING ROOM AT STOLLER, THE WORLD'S FIRST LEED GOLD CERTIFIED WINEMAKING FACILITY Image: Mike Haverkate
  45. 45. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2009 One of Oregon's biggest wineries, Willamette Valley Vineyards, promotes sustainable practices by partnering with Cork ReHarvest to launch a nationwide cork recycling program. CORK FARM, PORTUGAL
  46. 46. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2010 Oregonians begin enjoying wines on tap. This fresh, environmentally friendly twist on by-the-glass wine saves 39 bottles with a single keg. In 2013, the Oregon wine industry was the first in the nation to convince state legislature to allow consumers to take their favorites home in growlers, similar to craft beers. COOPERS HALL WINERY AND TAPROOM, OREGON'S ONLY EXCLUSIVE KEG PRODUCTION WINERY Image: Dina Avila and Heidi Hoffman / Coopers Hall
  47. 47. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2012 Governor Kitzhaber proclaims May as Oregon Wine Month in recognition of the wine industry's importance to the state's economic growth. Today, the industry contributes $3.35 billion to the state economy, and Oregon Wine Month is an annual celebration of the world- class wines grown here.
  48. 48. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2014 A to Z Wineworks, Oregon's largest wine producer, becomes the first B Corp certified winery in the world, cementing their commitment to socially and environmentally responsible business practices. Image: CWK Photography THE A TO Z WINEWORKS TEAM CELEBRATES THEIR NEW B CORP STATUS
  49. 49. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2014 The release of the 2012 vintage earns Oregon winemakers winespread critical acclaim. Wine Enthusiast honors Ken Wright Cellars 2012 Abbott Claim Vineyard Pinot noir as its 2014 Wine of the Year. Image: RJ Studio
  50. 50. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2015 Joel Palmer House in Dayton, Oregon is named the inaugural Oregon Wine A-List Wine Program of the Year. Image: Evrim Icoz Photography OWNER AND CHEF CHRIS CZARNECKI, JOEL PALMER HOUSE The Oregon Wine A-List Awards recognize restaurants across the world displaying enthusiasm for Oregon wine and its diverse regions, varieties and producers.
  51. 51. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board 2016 A Chardonnay and Pinot noir from the Willamette Valley receive the coveted number 2 and 3 spots of Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines list.
  52. 52. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board Today Recent blockbuster vintages have produced what critics and winemakers alike are calling “Oregon’s Golden Era,” in which quality is at an all-time high, demand comes from around the globe, and our community is as strong as ever. Image: Andrea Johnson SOKOL BLOSSER CELEBRATES THE OPENING OF ITS NEW TASTING ROOM IN 2013
  53. 53. INDUSTRY HISTORYOregon Wine Board INDUSTRY HISTORY There was a much higher calling than trying to imitate some other place, and that goal was to figure out who we wanted to be for ourselves and what it was that we could do that nobody else in the world could do. -DAVID ADELSHEIM Adelsheim Vineyard Oregon Wine: Grapes of Place Pictured: Sokol Blosser team, Image: Andrea Johnson Oregon Wine Board