Arcadia Publishing has released Barbara Smith Randall’s “Willamette Valley Wineries,” a pictorial history of the Willamette Valley wine industry. The book illustrates the challenges, hardships and ultimate success of the Willamette Valley wineries.
Despite its short, 50 year history, Oregon’s Willamette Valley was named Wine Region of the Year in 2016 by Wine Enthusiast magazine, besting Champagne, France; Crete, Greece and Sonoma, California. Credit for the award can be traced to the pioneer winemakers, a small group of dreamers who - through grit and determination – succeeded in growing grapes where it was considered impossible. Wine has been made in Oregon since the mid-1800s, but it was not until 1965 that winemaking began in earnest in the region. That year, David and Diana Lett planted 3,000 pinot noir vines on a carefully selected south-facing slope. Others joined the adventure, and through collaboration and a passion for making the best wine possible, the Willamette Valley’s wine industry was born.
Randall shares the history through photographs and stories from winemakers and their families, as well as the resources at Linfield College’s Oregon Wine History Archives in McMinnville, Ore.