Oregon Wine History Archive


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This presentation was prepared for the "History Pub" event, co-hosted by McMenamins and Oregon Historical Society October 29th, 2012. This presentation provides an overview of the Oregon Wine History Archive at Linfield College and the history of the Oregon wine industry.

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  • Thank you McMenamins and Oregon Historical Society for asking me to speak at this month’s history pub. It is my pleasure to be here with fellow history lovers and wine enthusiasts. This is a bit like a homecoming for me as my first ever internship in a museum and archives was with Oregon Historical Society, and my first thesis review for my undergraduate degree was performed here at the Kennedy School. So, thank you for having me. It is truly an honor.Tonight I will present on the Oregon Wine History Archive – a program in its infancy, and an ambitious one to actively document the history of the Oregon wine industry. This presentation is in two parts, the first provides and overview of the Oregon Wine History Archive, and the second uses historical documents in the collection to highlight key moments in history for the Oregon wine industry. The first portion will take ten minutes, as I guide you through the genesis of the endeavor, the scope of our acquisition, support received from various agencies, the set up of the physical space and process methods, collections represented so far, and instructions on how you can access the collections.
  • In order to think about the genesis of the Oregon Wine History Archive, first, let us begin with the Linfield and IPNC story. When the wine industry members first came up with the idea to host the International Pinot Noir Celebration in 1987, they were struggling to determine where to have an event that would draw hundreds, last for several days, and not be too expensive. Since Pinot noir is the wine of the Willamette, IPNC organizers thought it best to be in the Willamette Valley, and where better than Linfield College? Now, Linfield College has Baptist origins. At the time the school was still fairly religious and a dry campus. The school held a board meeting to consider the request and in the end the winning argument was: “but these people don’t drink the wine – they spit it out!”Fast forward to 2010, when the Linfield Center for the Northwest was created. Its mission is as follows: The Linfield Center for the Northwest enhances undergraduate education through the active cultivation of a collaborative and experiential learning community. The Center facilitates regionally-based internships, community service and service learning opportunities. One of the community partnerships that emerged was with the Oregon wine industry; which evolved into the Oregon Wine History Project. Since 2010, OWHP has produced oral histories, exhibits, online digital galleries, and a documentary. All of which are available through the DigitalCommons@Linfield.Linfield College’s partnership with the wine industry, and the LCN activities led to the wine pioneers involved to say “hey, how about we put these historical documents in one place where they can be accessed and used for all people interested in the industry’s history?”And thus the genesis for the Oregon Wine History Archive…
  • What is the Oregon Wine History Archive? Over the last year several members of Linfield College have met with wine industry members to construct what we now consider OWHA’s scope, and can be seen here in PresidentHellie’s open call letter that has been published in several wine industry newsletters.The following is an excerpt from the letter with our scope and intentions stated: In 2011, Linfield College established the Oregon Wine History Archive, which chronicles the Oregon wine industry and includes historical documents from early wine pioneers. We are now expanding the scope of our archival collection and would like to invite additional Oregon wine growers from across the state to donate historical materials for preservation. Our eventual goal is to document all aspects and regions of the Oregon industry and to collect and preserve historical materials from winery owners, growers, researchers, marketers and sellers. In the beginning phase of OWHA it was and is still necessary to seek grant and institutional support.
  • Linfield College has and continues to invest in OWHA for set up and running costs. NHPRC made it possible to hire a consulting archivist the summer before I came onboard in order to establish necessary policies and procedures, and the recent Oregon Cultural Trust grant has made it possible for us to hire three students to preserve, organize, research, catalog, and digitize the current collections.Also important to note are the many supporters of Linfield College alumni, and wine industry members.As we put scope and funding in place, I began to set up the Linfield College Archives, home to the Oregon Wine History Archive…
  • In a fortuitous move, when Jereld R. Nicholson Library was constructed ten years ago, it accounted for expansion within the Special Collections area. With a sizeable space already dedicated to archival and special materials, it was easy to ensure the space was climate controlled, secure, and complete with electronic space saver shelving. With my hire it was one of my first responsibilities to get the space prepared for active use; which required turning the above room from a storage room to a Processing Room, to acquire technology, and implement a processing procedure in order to hit the ground running when OWHA collections came in. Next I hired students. Currently I have four students; three of whom train in the full cycle of archival processing which includes: preservation, organization, research, cataloging, digitization, and outreach efforts such as social media, exhibit creation, and community event planning; the fourth student is the first shared embedded experiential learning intern between LCN and the Archives which allows us to have a dedicated student on staff to evolve community and college partnership projects with the Oregon wine industry.
  • Within the first couple of months of my hire and the set up of the archives we began receiving collections, at the moment they are predominantly from the Willamette Valley. A representation partly due to proximity, and existing relationships between the winemakers and the college.Some of the wine growers and organizations currently represented in the collection include Dick Erath of Erath Winery, Dick and Nancy Ponzi of Ponzi Vineyards, Myron Redford of Amity Vineyards, RonniLacrouteof WillaKenzie Estate, Susan and Bill SokolBlosser of SokolBlosser Winery, and the International Pinot Noir Celebration, Oregon Wine Board and Oregon Pinot Camp. Diana Lett of Eyrie Vineyards, David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard have agreed to donate materials, and already have some of their materials represented online from previous projects in DigitalCommons@Linfield.Processing of the collections has been underway as of last spring, and starting this fall have yielded some wonderful resources you can began accessing online now…
  • One of the first places to look is the NWDA database which allows the cross-searching of multiple regional databases for collections information. For example, when you search for “Oregon Wine” there are over 100 collections across the NW region with related materials that include: OSU, OHS, Western Washington, Montana Historical Society, and Lewis and Clark. If you would like to narrow the collections information down to what is part of the Oregon Wine History Archive, you can perform and advance search for Linfield College materials.
  • The search results will show what collections have been processed and inventoried so far, and each of the links will open up an inventory of box/folder level information and historical notes to provide context for what’s in the collection.
  • Another online resource was just launched this weekend and provides digital images of photographs and documents from the collections within Oregon Wine History Archive.On the right is the OWHA landing page which provides and overview of the collection, as you move through the galleries you can open up each image to view the items description and other cataloging notes. I’d like to point out the advantage of using DigitalCommons is not only the easy upload on our end, but the easy download of information on your end. See the image on the left that has the catalog information, to the right of that image are several download options for you to use, easy social media share options, and even a googlemaps tool to search where the photograph was taken or document created.
  • Now we have reached the historical section of this presentation where I will cover the original pioneers of the Oregon wine industry, the evolution of American’s taste for wine, the second and more modern Oregon wine pioneers, and an overview of the most recent history for the Oregon wine industry.
  • The beginning of the Oregon wine industry can be traced back to the original pioneers, the earliest known winemakers in Oregon:1800 - Catholic missionaries made wine for sacrament at Mt. Angel and St. Paul1820s –Dr. John McLaughlin directed what many say is the first vineyard in PNW, and was recorded in 1863 diary of Narcissa Whitman wife of missionary Marcus Whitman, the missionaries murdered in what is known as the Whitman Massacre.1850s –Frank Reuter family, planted roots 30 miles west of Portland. One of their Rieslings won a gold medal in the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis. The same site was later occupied by Charles Coury Winery, Reuter’s Hill Winery, and now Laurel Ridge Winery. 1854 pioneer Peter Britt secured cuttings in California and brought them to S. OR, a vineyards which is now the current site of Valley View Winery.1870s-1900s – Jesse Applegate, the Van Pessles, and the Doerners all came over the Oregon Trail to cultivate vineyards, and whose records of early grape growing later influenced Richard Sommer of Hillcrest Vineyard in Roseburg; a vineyard that was established in 1961 and began the modern phase of the wine industry.
  • But alas, despite this wonderful start in the 1800s, prohibition caused many of Oregon’s first pioneer wineries to close their doorsEven though the law allowed winemakers to make 200 gallons of wine for personal use; many American’s lost their taste for wine and the knowledge of quality grape growing was lost with it.After prohibition ended, the State of Oregon allowed licenses for farmer wines, but there was still a strong lack of public interest and back lash from prohibition and a persistent and negative view that wine is only for foreigners.It wasn’t until the end of WW2 that public perception began to change, a couple of things were at work here:-Media exposure of Europe which provided a European view that wine can be consumed in a sophisticated and responsible manner when pairing it with food, and not just a tool used to get drunk- America’s cultural enlightenment from Julia Child and related food writers. It was Julia Child’s drinking while on set, and her exuberant embrace of French cuisine that inspired positive views on European tradition of cuisine. In fact, this brought to Americans the idea of gourmet food and fine wine.It is with this historical platform that the 1960s saw the birth of the Food and Wine Institute, and the University at California Davis viticulture and enology program…
  • The 1960s bought with it the second generation of Oregon wine pioneers. The use of ‘pioneers’ is quite an established term used to identified the wine industry members of the 60s and 70s as members who worked to raise the Oregon wine industry to an internationally competitive level. When asked what began it all, many will refer to Charles Coury’s thesis, created during his time at University of California. It was this thesis that encouraged the idea of cool climate viticulture by the argument that specific varieties of grapes will thrive in specific and appropriate climates. Many at the University of California were skeptical, but that didn’t stop these pioneers.In these last slides I will go more in depth in the history of the modern Oregon wine industry and use documents in the collection to illustrate pivotal points. Some of which include:1960s – the firsts1970s – legislative work to ensure the best quality Pinot, with an effort and focus to achieve international respect; such legislative work included: Senate Bill 100 for protection of agricultural land, Chapter 845 for pricing and labeling standards, House Bill 3236 to establish research position at OSU, and the French magazine wine olympics.1980s – that was an intensive period of collaboration with an influx of second wave wine growers. In addition to helping each other out, they also volunteered on various committees to help bring the industry up to standard, and organized several agencies that would allow the organization to support continued learning. It is in the 80s where we see the rise in collaborative marketing, the stunning French defeat, and foreign investment in the Oregon wine industry.1990s to present – evolution of grape growing in response to disease, sustainability, environmental responsibility, and program creation to better support vineyard workers
  • The Firsts- there is a lot of romanticism that surrounds this period of time in Oregon wine. With the first to buy, the first to plant, the first to crush, the first to bottle, the first to gain international recognition – there are several firsts.Richard Sommer of Hillcrest Vineyard was the first to plant in 1961. He produced a 1963 Riesling, and was in full production in 1966. Hillcrest’s first Pinot noir, and the first Pinot noir in Oregon was bottled in 1967.1965 – Charles Coury (winery) and David Lett of Eyrie Vineyards both began in Oregon after attending the UC Davis viticulture program. Charles Coury wrote his thesis in 1952, with his degree conferred in 1964. Coury bought his vineyard and first planting in late 1965, producing his first bottle of Pinot noir in 1970.David Lett planted in 1965, with the first planting in Corvalis and then later moved to the N. Willamette Valley. The Eyrie Vineyards was established, and the first crush was in 1970 where Eyrie produced “Oregon Spring Wine.” In an interview David Lett explains that he did not label his first wine a Pinot noir because he felt he picked the grapes too early and did not want his first bottle of Pinot to be found wanting.
  • With the early pioneers in place, they recognized that in order for the Oregon wine industry to grow and thrive through out the decades, they would need to protect prime agricultural land now. This required citizen involvement to assure an integrated comprehensive plan that would protect farm land. Members completed studies to show council what land was valuable farm land for the grape industry. 13 maps were created to show the Director of Planning in Yamhill County in a visually impactful way the extent of land where it’s possible to grow grapes. The result was getting virtually all the identified land saved for agricultural zoning. Above is one of these such maps offered online through the DigitalCommons@Linfield. These maps are still used today for aspiring winemakers to identify good grape growing land.
  • Next, the pioneers began to focus on legislative efforts that would standardize the Oregon wine industry, this produced the1976 Oregon Liquor Control Commission for price postings1977 labeling lawsThe labeling laws established a 90% minimal varietals content; in order to call a Pinot a Pinot it had to be made from 90% Pinot grapes, whereas the current national standard was 75%.Oregon wine 95% from OregonWillamette Valley 100%This was an extremely difficult thing to achieve as every licensed winery in Oregon had to sign off on it. In the end such an effort was worth it as it helped to gain the respect and trust of the French, who had been previously been upset at the labeling misuse in California. Above you see Chapter 845 from 1976 for pricing standards, to the right is an article applauding Oregon wineries for establishing such strict labeling laws in 1977.
  • In 1977 Oregon wine industry members worked with OLCC again to tax themselves in order to provide for a research position at OSU; a position that would lead to better winemaking and Pinot noir. This self-imposed tax required that they work with state legislature, and create a special advisory board for oversight.The above pictured is Barney Watson, the hired researcher who offered workshops, winery visits, created best wine making practices, researched best yeast, best wine bacteria, and planting management. In addition to working with OSU, winemakers worked with Charles Coury to determine best plants or clones, these research efforts led to 1978, where France granted Oregon special status to research their clones to determine the best to use in Oregon for Pinot noir.
  • With roughly a decade of Pinot noir making underway and intensive efforts to hold the industry to high standards, Oregon wine began to receive international attention.In 1979 French gourmet magazine “GaultMillau” held a wineolympics in Paris, an event that put Eyrie’s ‘75 Pinot in the top 10, and was to be the first international recognition for Oregon’s Pinot noir. The win was so shocking a rematch was demanded by Burgundy winemaker royalty, Robert Drouhin in early 1980 where Eyrie placed 2nd to Drouhin’s ‘59 Burgundy wine.Pictured above you can see an article from 1975, and cartoon illustrating praise of Oregon wine, but it wasn’t until Eyrie’s surprising win in a French contest that moved Oregon wine into the center of international recognition and competition.
  • Thanks in part to the growing international attention on Oregon wine, the 1980s showed an influx of wine makers into the Oregon industry. Oregon was up to 50 wineries and dozens of new tasting rooms; and both old and new entities wanted to ensure that no flawed wine entered the market as it could easily ruin Oregon wine’s newly found respect.In the 1980s the Steamboat Conference was created. Fondly referred to as ‘Steamboat’ it was a place where a small group of OR and CA winemakers got together to talk about winemaking – Pinot Noir specifically. There was no press, honest criticism, discussion of problems, and they learned from each other. This conference grew throughout the 80s and eventually turned into what is now know as Oregon Pinot Camp. Above is a document by Stephen Carey, chronicling the evolution of the Steamboat Conference.At this same time, Oregon industry members were working on the market both locally and nationally. They found that even after their international recognition they were still having a hard time marketing to the local and national market. The American people were not aware of much beyond a table wine, and were not culturally conditioned to include wine as a regular part of their dining experience, despite Julia Child’s efforts. As a result, in the early 80stheytaxed themselves even higher for promotion and marketing to raise their profile. These actions took the form of shared advertising spreads, traveling tasting shows, and television ads for “drink Oregon!”However, even after the intensive marketing effort, in 1985 – sales were looking bleak.
  • This is a time where necessity is truly the mother of invention. With struggling sales, members of the Oregon wine industry hosted what is now known as the “Burgundy Challenge.” Organized by Stephen Carey it was held in New York’s renowned International Wine Center where they held a blind taste test to pick the finest wines in the world. In the end, tasters admitted they could not distinguish which was Burgundy and which was Oregon.The top five wines were from Oregon: Yamhill Valley, SokolBlosser, Adelsheim Vineyard, The Eyrie Vineyards, and Knudsen-Erath Winery.Every one was stunned, and subsequently skeptical wine clubs held similar blind taste tests with the same results.Above is one article of many that covered the wine taste test. I especially love this one as it looks like there is a wine bottle stain on it.Now with Oregon on the map internationally, and nationally, it was time to take the Oregon wine industry to the next level.
  • With the achievements of the last two decades members of the Oregon wine industry were ready launch an international event all about Pinot noir.Wanting IPNC to draw Pinot noir lovers from all areas they made sure IPNC was equal parts technology and entertainment.-Technology so industry would be interested-And enough entertainment draw so sophisticate consumers would enjoy itAbove is one of several IPNC digital galleries available on DigitalCommons@Linfield.
  • 1990s into 2000s – Oregon wine members continued to ban together through hardships, for efforts to reduce their footprint on the environment and encourage sustainability, and for the betterment and care of their workforce.One such hardship would be devastating phylloxera epidemics. Phylloxera is a sap-sucking insect that is attracted to grapevines. It boroughs in, feeds off of leaves and roots, and lays its eggs in the vines. Winemakers had to pool their resources and learn together on how to identify, eradicate, and prevent phylloxera outbreaks. Through the 80s and into the 90s phylloxera was discovered across the vineyards but little was known on how to eradicate it, nor how to prevent it. Several collections document the outbreaks through photographs of vine damage, infrared aerial photographs to identify outbreaks, and notes on the identification and eradication processes. Many trail and error efforts went into the eradication process with failures because, at first they were not being aggressive enough in contaminated vine removal. Eventually it was found that vine grafting helped to make vines more robust, a technique used in France, where the French have been aware of phylloxera since the 1800s. Above on the left is a photograph used in the earlier efforts of phylloxera documentation.- Salmon Safe certified- LEED certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)- LIVE certified (Low Input Viticulture and Enology)- Salud, healthcareNow there are more than 400 wineries in Oregon, 4th in the nation of wine production, and provides 3 billion into state economy16 AVAs of appellations (wine region)The substantial collaborative efforts, legislative change, and focus on quality and scholarship has, in just one generation, launched the Oregon wine industry as an internationally substantial and competitive industry. Now, 51 years from Hillcrest’s first planting, the 2nd generation of wine growers are emerging to take the helm of the Oregon wine industry. Speaking as one of those sitting on the sidelines of history, I know we will all be watching and enjoying the fruit of Oregon wine industries labors. And rest-assured we will continue to be documenting its progress, and preserving its history for the generation of wine lovers to come.
  • Oregon Wine History Archive

    1. 1. + Oregon Wine History Archive Rachael Cristine Woody | Linfield College Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    2. 2. + Oregon Wine History Archive genesis  The Linfield – IPNC partnership  Linfield Center for the Northwest – Oregon Wine History Project™: http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/wine_project/  The Pioneers Unknown, "A Toast to IPNC" (2011). IPNC - Archival Photos. Image. Submission 43.
http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/ipn c_photos/43Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    3. 3. + Oregon Wine History Archive scope  Beyond Willamette  Beyond OwnersOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    4. 4. + Oregon Wine History Archive support Linfield College alumni Oregon wine industry membersOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    5. 5. + Oregon Wine History Archive set up  Space  Process  StudentsOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    6. 6. + Oregon Wine History Archive collection Sokol Blosser Winery Collection, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    7. 7. + Oregon Wine History Archive access – regional inventories Collection inventories can be viewed here: http://nwda.orbiscascade.org/Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    8. 8. + Oregon Wine History Archive access - inventoryOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    9. 9. + Oregon Wine History Archive access – digital images Oregon Wine History Archive: http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owhaOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    10. 10. + Oregon Wine History Archive history “We could in the United States make as great a variety of wines as are made in Europe, not exactly of the same kind, but doubtless as good.” – Thomas Jefferson, 1808 “Anyone who knows his history must surely know his wines.” –Arnold Toynbee “Wine is a bride who brings a great dowry to the man who woos her persistently and gracefully.” –Evelyn Waugh Erath Winery Collection, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    11. 11. + Oregon Wine History Archive history – 1800s  1820s, Hudson Bay Company, Fort Vancouver Vineyard  1850s, German immigrants plant in Willamette Valley  1870s-1900s, pioneers of Yoncalla and Umpqua Valley Oregon Historical Society Research Library, OrHi 45. http://www.oregonencyclopedia.org/ entry/view/applegate_trail/Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    12. 12. + Oregon Wine History Archive history – early 1900  1914-1930, prohibition  Post World War II  1960 With the authorities watching, winery Image by workers pour a barrel Bettmann/Corbis, as of red wine into the seen in Wine Spectator New York City sewer article “America Raises a during Prohibition. Glass for Repeal,” http://www.winespectator. com/webfeature/show/id/ America-Raises-a-Glass- for-Repeal_4487.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    13. 13. + Oregon Wine History Archive history – late 1900  1960s  1970s  1980s  1990s Charles Coury‟s thesis “Wine Grape Adaptation in the Napa Valley, California,” University of California, 1952. Facsimile provided by Tim Shepherd.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    14. 14. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1961 and 1965 – the „firsts‟ Bottle of Hillcrest Vineyard 1967 Pinot Noir owned by Patrick McElligott, photographed by Linfield College Archives.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    15. 15. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1973, Senate Bill 100 Adelsheim, David and Lett, David, "Dundee Quadrangle, Oregon" (1973). Land Use Planning Maps: David Adelsheim Collection. Image. Submission 12.
http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/land_use _maps/12Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    16. 16. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1976-1977 , Oregon Liquor Control Commission Chapter 845Erath Winery Collection, Linfield College Ponzi Vineyards Collection, LinfieldArchives, McMinnville, Oregon. College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    17. 17. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1977, Oregon Liquor Control Commission, House Bill 3236 Erath Winery Collection, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    18. 18. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1979, French magazine challenge Ponzi Vineyards Collection, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    19. 19. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1980s, growing the industry Stephen Carey Papers, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    20. 20. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1985, NYC wine taste test Stephen Carey Papers, Linfield College Archives, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    21. 21. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1987, IPNCOregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    22. 22. + Oregon Wine History Archive 1990s to present http://www.saludauction.org/ Weber Vineyard Collection. Jereld R. Nicholson Library. Linfield College, McMinnville, Oregon.Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha
    23. 23. + Oregon Wine History Archive resources Rachael Cristine Woody Archivist Linfield College (503)883-2734 rwoody@linfield.edu www.linkedin.com/in/rachaelcristinewoody DigitalCommons@Linfield: http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha/ Inventories: http://nwda.orbiscascade.org/ Website: http://www.linfield.edu/archives Blog: http://linfieldarchives.tumblr.com/ Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/LinfieldArchives Historypin: http://www.historypin.com/channels/view/8284201/Oregon Wine History Archive, Linfield College http://digitalcommons.linfield.edu/owha