Adelsheim is one of Oregon’s most admired and established producers. It was founded in 1971 when David and Ginny Adelsheim bought property in the Willamette Valley. The young, idealistic couple had just returned from a summer in Europe, and were inspired by the wine they enjoyed there to try making their own. They planted Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling on 15 acres in 1972. Their first commercial vintage was the 1978 bottling. Today Adelsheim owns 223 vineyards acres on ten sites in the Willamette Valley and are business partners with Lynn and Jack Loacker. The Adelsheims and the Loackers own the estate together. Adelsheim still focuses on Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.
Willamette Valley AVA was established in 1983, and it is the oldest appellation in Oregon. Oregon’s modern wine industry began in the Willamette Valley in the 1960s when artists, vagabond winemakers, and U.C. Davis oenology graduates looking for new territory started their own, small, off-the-grid wineries. The appellation is the state’s largest, and it extends 175 miles from Columbia River on the Washington/Oregon border to just south of Eugene, near central Oregon. The Willamette River runs through the area, helping to give the appellation a mild year-round climate. There are six smaller sub-appellations within this AVA, but altogether the Willamette Valley has the largest concentration of wineries in Oregon, as well as the majority of the state’s most famous producers. Pinot Noir is king here, followed by Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Riesling. To most admirers of Oregon Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley offers the most distinctive wine choices in the state.
This red wine is relatively light and can pair with a wide variety of foods. The grape prefers cooler climates and the wine is most often associated with Burgundy, Champagne and the U.S. west coast. Regional differences make it nearly as fickle as it is flexible.