You wouldn’t know it from the amount of favorable publicity Oregon wines are receiving nationwide. But, according to pioneering vintner David Adelsheim, only 1% of wine consumed in the USA originates in Oregon. “By taking a 25- to 35 mile journey, you can buy the best Oregon wines, right at the wineries,” the president of Adelsheim Vineyard boasted.
Still it’s an industry that has grown four-fold in the last dozen years, from about 100 in the late-’90s to over 400 today. One of the oldest in Oregon, located in the North Willamette Valley, bears his name.
Adelsheim, speaking Dec. 13 to Pearl Rotary, said he was “excited but very naive” when he planted his first grapes in 1971. The last four decades have been a continuing education for him on the multiple factors that affect wine production (temperature, rainfall, soil type, sunlight, hillslope, etc.). In addition to working in the field, Adelsheim has dedicated hours to the promotion of the Oregon wine industry, including a stint as president of Oregon Winegrowers Association.
72% of wine produced in Oregon is pinot noir, Rotarians learned. 27% of production is shared by three whites–pinot gris, chardonnay, riesling. The remaining 1% (Adelsheim called them “geek wines”) include pinot blanc and chenin blanc.
Adelsheim’s visit was timed perfectly with the annual PPRC wine exchange, scheduled Tuesday, Dec. 20. Wine enthusiast and Rotarian Mike Rompa will supervise the internal fundraiser. Rotarians and guests must bring $25 to enter and also present a bottle of wine ($25 suggested value and up). It’s helpful to have a couple $5 bills since wines selected by a Rotarian can be bought up to three times (“stolen” may be an accurate word).