8 Takes on an Oregon Evening

Distinguished wine writers recount a night’s variety in Oregon wine


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My Vine Spot

What Oregon, particularly the Willamette Valley, has achieved with Pinot Noir in such short time is no easy feat. It’s a great American wine story of hard-work, chance, sacrifice, hope, passion, risk, and success. Oregon’s modern wine era began in the 1960’s with a group of young men who all had a few things in common. They had a European experience, attended UC Davis, and were into cool-climate viticulture. Most of them had also fallen in love with the finicky, heart-break grape, Pinot Noir and sought the perfect place outside of Burgundy, France, to grow it. Burgundy was the benchmark, however. At the time, California –from north to south -- was considered too warm for (Burgundian style) Pinot Noir. The relatively cool-climate coastal-influenced regions we know today were largely unfounded back then. This group of young men were also discouraged from growing Pinot Noir (or other cool climate varieties) in a damp, cool, and wholly unproven place like Oregon – where, by the way, nothing wine wise was going on.


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