From Oregon The Taste of Wine by Janis Miglavs, Roseburg, Oregon
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.
|While working on my Oregon wine book, I took Richard Sommer to visit Hillcrest, the winery he founded.|
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 now-famous Willamette Valley 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, nearly 500 Oregon wineries later, we know Richard was obviously right. But what gave Richard the chutzpa to take on the world?