Adelsheim Vineyard honors first-gen Willamette Valley winemakers


To celebrate the vineyard's 50th anniversary, David Adelsheim began interviewing his fellow winemakers

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — One of the founding wineries in the Willamette Valley is celebrating its 50th anniversary by capturing and preserving the history through video.

“The story of Adelsheim began in 1971,” David Adelsheim said. “That was the year Ginny and I decided to risk our life’s savings on a piece of property in the Willamette Valley.”

David and Ginny Adelsheim’s first harvest. (Courtesy: Adelsheim Vineyard)

David Adelsheim of Adelsheim Vineyard recently took on a new role as the interviewer of other founding wine families in the Willamette Valley for a series of videos — called “Founders’ Stories” — to be released throughout the year, celebrating 50 years of Oregon winemaking.

Adelsheim says he realized that to tell Adelsheim’s story, they had to tell the stories of that entire first generation of winemakers in Oregon who were all learning together — like Diana Lett, founder of The Eyrie Vineyards.

“Most of us were highly idealistic when we were working together to make our regulations and expectations and marketing efforts,” Lett said.

Adelsheim agreed, saying the group worked together a lot as they all came up in the business.

Adelsheim Vineyard Honors 50th Anniversary

“I think in retrospect, [the group] had a couple of effects that were pretty important,” he said.

One of their impacts was the introduction of Pinot Noir to the region — something that has become a staple of Oregon’s wine scene. Adelsheim discussed other impacts, the collaboration between the wineries and more in the series of 10 videos set to be released over the next 10 months.

Founding winemakers of the Willamette Valley. (Courtesy: Adelsheim Vineyard)

With a foundation built by that first generation of local winemakers, there are now more than 700 wineries in the Willamette Valley alone.

“It’s this idea of collaboration that wineries would help promote the health of the industry and the success of the industry almost more than their individual success,” he explained.

To see the first winemaker video released this month, visit their website.

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