Willamette Valley: Oregon's Pinot Noir Capital

For many wine lovers, Oregon's Willamette Valley is synonymous with pinot noir, and only pinot noir.  The climate of the mountain-shielded valley is perfect for this famous grape from Burgundy.  Pinot noir not only gave the Willamette Valley its start, it catapulted the region to stardom when a pinot noir from The Eyrie Vineyards took first place in Gault-Millau's 1979 Paris wine tasting.  And, as they say, the rest was history – or is history, for the Willamette Valley is still evolving as a wine region.

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From its improbable beginning as home to several enterprising, quasi-broke University of California, Davis graduates looking for places to grow cool-climate grapes to its current place among the world's best pinot noir regions, the Willamette Valley has made its own dreams come true.

Willamette Valley History
David Lett (The Eyrie Vineyards), Charles Coury (Charles Coury Winery, now David Hill Vineyard) and Dick Erath (Erath Winery) began the process that transformed the Willamette Valley into a wine region in the mid-1960s. 

The three UC Davis graduates, thinking and working independently, decided that Oregon's Willamette Valley might just be the best place in North America to grow pinot noir grapes.  Separately, they left California, moved to Oregon, and began planting vines and making wine.

For more than 25 years, The California Wine Club founders Bruce and Pam Boring have explored all corners of California’s wine country to find award-winning, handcrafted wine to share with the world. Each month, the club features a different small family winery and hand selects two of their best wines for members.

They were soon followed by other Willamette Valley wine pioneers, who continued the tradition of small wineries managed by people who truly believed that Oregon could produce top-quality wines.