In 2011, Linfield College established the Oregon Wine History Archive, which chronicles the Oregon wine industry and includes historical documents from early wine pioneers. The goal is to document all aspects and regions of the Oregon industry and to collect and preserve historical materials from winery owners, growers, researchers, marketers and sellers.
The archive houses irreplaceable photographs, maps, oral histories, wine labels, magazines, newspapers, letters and bottles of wine, among other items, and spans the early days of the industry to the present.
Significant portions of the collection have been transcribed and uploaded to the DigitalCommons@Linfield, an online repository that is accessed by researchers, wine aficionados and wine tourists.
The Linfield archive showcases the colorful and sometimes quirky history of what was once an upstart industry. Early growers in this region planted grapes against the advice of experts, with what one called “more guts than brains.” One grower lived in a lumberjack shack with his family; another built his first winery with a leftover chicken-house roof. They lost crops to shoulder-high weeds and one frantically bought garden hoses in an attempt to save grapes planted in August.
What eventually emerged was a close-knit community of hardy idealists. Yamhill County wine pioneers helped initiate the national movement toward green agriculture and established Oregon as North America’s home for Pinot noir. It’s a story worth preserving.
Although the wine archive is less than two years old, it is already home to some of the biggest names in Oregon pinot noir. Linfield College currently holds collections from more than a dozen wineries, vineyards and organizations, including Erath Winery, Ponzi Vineyards, Amity Vineyards, WillaKenzie Estate, Sokol Blosser Winery, Tualatin Estate Vineyards, Rex Hill Winery and Estate, Weber Vineyard, McDaniel Vineyard, Fuqua Vineyards and Janis Miglavs.
The Linfield archive also houses collections from the International Pinot Noir Celebration, Oregon Wine Board, Oregon Pinot Camp and ¡Salud!, a health care program for seasonal vineyard employees and their families.
Agreements to donate collection material have been received from Eyrie Vineyards, Adelsheim Vineyard and several additional pioneers of the Oregon wine industry.
ABOUT LINFIELD COLLEGE
The small college is located near the birthplace of the earliest vineyards in Oregon’s fertile Willamette Valley, and hosts thousands of wine aficionados on its park-like campus at the annual International Pinot Noir Celebration.
Linfield College is dedicated exclusively to undergraduate education, and is home to a vibrant community of engaged students. The school offers a rich liberal arts and sciences curriculum, along with select professional programs.
For more information about the Oregon Wine History Archive, please contact Linfield College Archivist Rachael Cristine Woody by email or phone, (503-883-2734).
Browse the online archival collection.