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Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Pioneer Passes Away

By April 10, 2023Top News, VIPs

Dick Erath, Willamette Valley pioneer and founder of Erath Winery in Oregon’s Dundee Hills, passed away March 29. He was 87. As one of the first winemakers to plant vineyards in the region, Erath played an instrumental role in establishing the state’s wine industry. The engineer-turned-viticulturist began pursuing winemaking in 1965. After completing coursework at UC Davis in 1968, Erath relocated his family from California to the Chehalem Mountains where he recognized the potential of the Willamette Valley to produce world-class Pinot Noir. Erath founded his eponymous winery in 1968, earning a well-respected reputation as not only a winemaker but an endlessly experimenting grape grower. A statement said, “He was passionate about sustainability and organic farming long before it became popular in the wine industry and was known for his good humor, generosity, mentorship, and dedication to the Oregon wine community.”


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