The archive opened in 2011 but Oregon’s wine history goes back much further.
“We have so many records if you wanted to do a deep dive into any part of agriculture, viticulture, wine business, or marketing or anything like that. We have records here and they’re getting more all the time,” Schmidt told KOIN 6 News. “I mean, the word archive isn’t like the sexiest word, and we understand that. So, it’s exciting for us to kind of change people’s notions of what an archive is.”
The history of Oregon wine dates back to the beginning of Oregon.
“There’s Oregon wine, there’s grapes coming across the Oregon Trail and people bringing grape vines around the Cape as they were coming to settle Oregon in the 1840s,” he said. “But the modern industry isn’t that old. So the modern industry starts in the 1960s.”
That means he and Linfield students have access to some of the founding members of the state’s modern wine industry. They’ve also watched how quickly Oregon’s wineries grew in popularity and size.
“Since we started the archive in 2011 the size is doubled. I mean, we have twice as many wineries, like over 1500 or 1600 vineyards,” Schmidt said. “You’re talking about just massive growth in the time that we’ve been here.”
It’s also a factor in growing the economy.
“It’s the second-largest industry in the state, as far as we understand, in terms of economic, annual economic impact. The last number I heard was, like, $7 billion a year in economic impact and something like 40,000 jobs in the state. And that’s a huge amount of impact.”
Schmidt also noticed something else about Oregon’s wine industry. Even if someone doesn’t have prior connections to the wine world, Oregon is a welcoming place for people of all backgrounds and experience.
An open house for the Oregon Wine History Archive is scheduled for Wednesday, December 7 at 3 p.m. And yes, there will be win and snacks, too.