David Adelsheim

Wine Pioneer

Few people in the world know a bottle of Pinot noir as well as David Adelsheim. After meeting several of the first families to plant grapes in the late 1960s, David and his former wife Ginny purchased 19 acres in Yamhill County in 1971, becoming part of the ten families to make wine in the Willamette Valley before 1980.

His French connection began by spending a summer in Burgundy to discover the “secrets” of Pinot noir, but found the real secret is the place itself. He learned while interning in Beaune at the experimental winery, Lycée Viticol, then returned to the Pacific Northwest, taking on roles of a winemaker, a vineyard manager, sommelier (and scientist!). Through it all, he constantly searches, experiments, evolves—finding new ways to help Oregon wines flourish. He helped establish the Oregon Wine Board and rebuild the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, helped push Oregon State University to import clones from Burgundy, and met with scientists in six areas of France and Germany to persuade them to share their clones with Oregon winemakers.

Why We Love David Adelsheim

David's an educator with a curious mind and the heart of a scientist. He's relentless in the pursuit of excellence, that daring figure who isn’t afraid to lead the way. It’s a philosophy that inspires us to stay curious and constantly seek out new experiences.

“We’re proud of our role in Oregon’s wine history. Each day we strive to create remarkable Oregon Pinot noir and Chardonnay that connect wine lovers around the world to the spirit and beauty of Oregon.”
—David Adelsheim

“Nobody's planted any laurels around here to rest on. It's always been in our DNA to ask what the next great challenge is going to be. What can do we do for our brand, to help the industry?”
—David Adelsheim

6 Questions with David Adelsheim

  1. Why did you get into wine?

    I ran into it almost by mistake, with my former wife. We got sucked into it and entranced by it. And then it took over our lives, in the best of ways!

  2. Your Burgundy connection goes back several decades. How did it begin?

    After making wine one year in Oregon, I felt I needed to learn the secrets of making great Pinot noir and could only learn those in Burgundy, because Pinot noir comes from there. Of course there weren't any secrets. It was... the place.

  3. How much did your time there play a part in your Oregon winery?

    During harvest, we’ve had interns from all over the world. We feed them and put them up just as if we were in Burgundy and they were doing the same thing. I think the idea of exposing the world – one person at a time – to our winery is something I obviously did learn in Burgundy.

  4. What excites you about visiting Burgundy these days?

    It’s a place that's unreplicated; it's a Unesco World Heritage site because it’s the only one of its kind. And it is the reference that anyone who knows about wine points to for a certain style and a certain grape variety. And there is no other reference like that.

  5. What's this trip about?

    It's me visiting with a lot of friends that I’ve met over the years and also the connections between who they are and what they do and the wines of Burgundy and what I am and what I do and the wines of Oregon. It’s an opportunity for others to come along and be a part of that experience and create their own relationships with this pretty amazing place in the world.

  6. What do you think the biggest takeaway of this trip is?

    I suspect it will be who the people of Burgundy are, and the common interests they have with the people in Oregon. Not just the wine business. It comes down to a certain humanity people share regardless of where they are. And I think that may be the biggest takeaway of any travel...

Burgundy with David Adelsheim

One Departure Only | May 25 - 31, 2019

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