Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Boldness has genius, even in Oregon wine

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

During a two-day interview for my Oregon the Taste of Wine book, Richard Sommer talked of his dream during the 1950s, to grow wine grapes in a place where others said “impossible.” He recalled UC Davis viticultural professors chuckling when he said he was starting a vineyard in Oregon. Too cold, too rainy, was the consensus. It hadn’t been done before.

But Richard had faith, enough faith to plant Oregon’s first modern-era vinifera grapes, including Pinot noir, in 1961. He actually had wine before the well-known Boys up North in the Willamette planted their first Pinot vines in the ground. And he had enough faith to begin a winery, Hillcrest, which is still in existence today.

Now, some 400 plus Oregon wineries later, we know Richard was right. But what gave Richard the chutzpa to take on the world?

Janis Miglavs, Vineyard Light Journal, Roseburg, Oregon

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