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The contemporary era of winemaking in Oregon was inaugurated by Richard Sommer.

1961 - The contemporary era of winemaking in Oregon was inaugurated by Richard Sommer.

After a protracted period of no wine production after Prohibition, Richard Sommer planted Riesling, Gewürztraminer, Chardonnay, Semillon, Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot noir, Malbec, and Zinfandel at his HillCrest Vineyard in the Umpqua Valley. This marked the beginning of Oregon’s modern era of winemaking. The oldest estate winery in Oregon was HillCrest, which maintained Bonded Winery Certificate Number 42.

Hillcrest, in the Umpqua Valley, is where Oregon’s first Pinot Noir vineyard was established. In the 1967 vintage, Sommer also released Oregon’s first Pinot Noir. In 2003, Dyson DeMara succeeded Sommer as owner of HillCrest Vineyard. Currently, the vineyard produces 1,400 cases of wine, which is available for tasting and purchase in the tasting room as well as by mail order to the majority of states in the United States.

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