The Willamette Valley Is America’s Other Napa

by | Dec 16, 2005

Adelsheim is one of Oregon’s outstanding pinot producers. If you can locate their wine, buy it and toast to your good fortune.

Here’s the winery’s origin story:

On a beautiful June day in 1971, David Adelsheim and Ginny Adelsheim stood above an open field and were taken with the beauty of its orange and purple wildflowers.

Five hundred feet below, Oregon’s north Willamette Valley stretched out in a patchwork of orchards, pasture and native trees. The field, rich with clay-loam soil, had a gentle southern exposure and was sheltered by the Chehalem Mountains. The Adelsheims had dreamed of planting a vineyard in the area since returning from a summer in Europe, where they were inspired by the hand-made foods and wines they encountered.

In 1972, the Adelsheims began planting their original 15-acre vineyard at Quarter Mile Lane with Pinot noir, Chardonnnay, Pinot gris, and Riesling.

Relying on family and friends for assistance, they battled weeds, mildew, birds and deer — and the widely perceived futility of growing wine grapes in northern Oregon’s cooler climate.

Having enjoyed several bottles of Adelsheim Pinot Noir over the years, I can attest that the winemaker’s passion comes through loud and clear. It’s great stuff.

A note on the labels: Drawn by Ginny Adelsheim, the Oregon Series wines feature full-color drawings of family and friends who have worked in the original estate vineyard and winery at Quarter Mile Lane.