The Dundee Hills are the birthplace of Oregon Pinot noir. Many of our favorite producers grow their wines here including Arterberry Maresh, Ayoub, Cameron, Dusky Goose, Eyrie, Thomas, and Westrey.
The region’s first vines were planted in 1966 by David Lett, who founded The Eyrie Vineyards that same year. Those were the first Pinot noir and Chardonnay vines planted in the Willamette Valley, and the first Pinot gris planted in North America. A handful of neighbors planted shortly thereafter.
In 1979, a 1975 Eyrie Vineyards Pinot noir bested several top Burgundys in a Paris blind tasting. Oregon Pinot had arrived on the world stage. Further evidence of the tasting’s significance: iconic Burgundian producer Joseph Drouhin purchased nearly 100 acres in the Dundee Hills in 1987, recognizing Oregon’s potential as a world-class grape-growing region.
Thirsty miles southwest of Portland, the Dundee Hills American Viticulture Area (AVA) encompasses 6,490 acres. Some 15 million years ago, lava flowed from Northeast Oregon into the Willamette Valley, covering all but the highest peaks with up to 1000 feet of basalt.
The colossal Missoula Floods of 10,000 – 15,000 years ago deposited a blanket of rich sediment on the lowlands, sparing the original red volcanic hills above the 200 foot elevation mark around the town of Dundee.