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Oregon 150 Lake

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A History of Grapes and Wine in Oregon

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Oregon 150 Lake

  1. 1. A History of Grapes and Wine Oregon 150 Symposium, February 18, 2009 Umpqua Community College Roseburg, Oregon Chris Lake Director The Southern Oregon Wine Institute at Umpqua Community College
  2. 2. History of US Winemaking <ul><li>Putting the Oregon Experience in Context </li></ul><ul><li>Starting with the Original Colonists </li></ul><ul><li>Heading West </li></ul><ul><li>The Great Experiment </li></ul><ul><li>The Current Situation </li></ul>
  3. 3. Wine Producing Regions of USA
  4. 4. Thomas Pinney’s A History of Wine in America
  5. 5. Pinney’s Eras in the History of US Winemaking <ul><li>Three Major Eras </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“Getting It Wrong” 1607-1807 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Compromise” 1807-1960 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“Getting It Right” 1960-Present </li></ul></ul>
  6. 6. Pinney’s Eras in the History of US Winemaking <ul><li>Three Major Classes of Grapes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Vitis vinifera L. - the classic winegrape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ natives”- Hybrids of the wild, American species: V. lubrscana, V. cordifolia, V. aestivalis, ect… </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ French-American Hybrids” – More advanced hybrids between V. vinifera and the wild American species </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Heading West <ul><li>Horticulture in the Northwest begins at Hudson’s Bay Company, Fort Vancouver on Columbia River </li></ul><ul><li>Grapes raised from seed brought from England in 1824 </li></ul><ul><li>Likely these were V. vinfera </li></ul>
  8. 8. Heading West <ul><li>Settlement of the Oregon Territory – 1840’s </li></ul><ul><li>Seth Lewelling of Milwaukie, OR planted Isabella (native) 1847 </li></ul><ul><li>William Meek of Willamette, OR won award for Isabella white wine in 1859 California State Fair </li></ul>
  9. 9. Heading West <ul><li>1860’s – A.R. Shipley of Oswego imports some vinifera into the Willamette. </li></ul><ul><li>1869 Oregon State Fair lists prizes for “foreign” and “American” grapes </li></ul><ul><li>1900 fair lists only “American” varieties </li></ul>
  10. 10. Heading West – Southern Oregon <ul><li>1860’s – Peter Britt establishes the Valley View Vineyards – made wine for local market and some for Portland </li></ul><ul><li>1880’s – the Van Pessl brothers planted vinifera in the Melrose area </li></ul><ul><li>The Doerner family opened a winery in 1890’s that operated until 1965, in the Melrose area </li></ul>
  11. 11. The Doerner Winery
  12. 12. Adolf Doerner, c. 1940
  13. 13. The Great Experiment <ul><li>“Prohibition” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Generally considered </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>January 17, 1920 – December 5, 1933 </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Volstead Act, 18 th Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeal, 21 st Amendment </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Oregon “Jumped the Gun” </li></ul><ul><ul><li>1914 Votes to Go Dry in Anticipation of the Volstead Act of 1919 </li></ul></ul>
  14. 15. Light at the End of the Tunnel <ul><li>1933 – The first post- Prohibition license is granted to Louis Herbolt </li></ul><ul><li>The Doerner winery resumes production in 1934 </li></ul><ul><li>No Significant Activity until 1960 </li></ul><ul><li>1960 – Richard Sommer establishes the Hilcrest Vineyards winery, bonded winery #44, in Melrose area </li></ul>
  15. 16. Richard Sommer, in the Hilcrest Vineyard, Roseburg, OR, c. 1965
  16. 17. Richard Sommer, in the vineyard
  17. 18. The Modern Era <ul><li>1965 – David Lett plants Pinot Noir ( V. vinifera ) and others in the Willamette </li></ul><ul><li>1968 – Pinot Noir from Hillcrest becomes available in Oregon </li></ul><ul><li>1970 – Five bonded wineries and 35 vineyard acres </li></ul>
  18. 19. The Modern Era <ul><li>1979 – David Lett of The Eyrie Vineyards places in the top ten of the Gault-Millau French Wine Olympiades with his 1975 Pinot Noir </li></ul><ul><li>1987- The Drouhin Family, a respected wine family from France buys 100 acres in the North Willamette </li></ul><ul><li>Oregon Wine is now respected on the World’s Wine Stage </li></ul>
  19. 20. Modern Wine Producing Regions of Oregon
  20. 21. The Current Situation <ul><li>According to Pinney, the Three Major Eras in US winemaking </li></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Getting It Wrong” 1607-1807 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Compromise” 1807-1960 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>“ Getting It Right” 1960-Present </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Future Growth in the Oregon Wine Industry looks Promising </li></ul>

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