Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vineyard Llight: What gave him the chutzpa to plant the first modern-era wine grapes in Oregon?

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? 
Janis Miglavs, Oregon The Taste of Wine, Roseburg, Oregon

Old vine Cabernet Sauvignon at Hillcrest Winery vineyard, originally established by Richard Sommer in 1961 near Roseburg, in the Umpqua wine region, Oregon.

No comments: