The Domaine Drouhin wines have received world-wide acclaim from the press and the wine lovers year after year. The Pinot noir bottlings are frequently awarded "Outstanding" scores from the Wine Spectator and Wine Advocate critics, and the Chardonnay was recently named "Best New World White Wine" by the UK's influential Decanter magazine. The fourth generation of Drouhins now works in Beaune and Oregon: Frédéric is General Manager of Maison Joseph Drouhin www.drouhin.com, Philippe manages the estates in Burgundy and Oregon, Laurent is a regional commercial director, and winemaker Véronique has handcrafted every drop of wine at Domaine Drouhin Oregon since its first vintage in 1988. Of the future, Robert Drouhin has said, "I would like to think that one day, people will taste Oregon wines, and particularly our wines and will say 'it is really true to the classic Burgundian Pinot Noir. Not a Côte de Beaune, not a Côte de Nuits, but uniquely Oregon." The fifth generation of Drouhins is still quite young, but there is no doubt that Joseph Drouhin’s great-great grandchildren will one day take their place in the family business.
1991- The widely anticipated release of the 1988 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot noir was met with wide acclaim around the world. Those who had been wondering what the Burgundians in Oregon could do now had proof in a bottle. The wine was elegant, silky, and sublime. The prominent UK wine writer Clive Coates reported, "Right from the beginning, one property seemed to be able to produce a wine which was purer, more cleanly fruity, and certainly more Burgundian than the others. It was, of course, Domaine Drouhin." 1992- Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir Laurène was born. This was our first wine made from 100% estate-grown fruit. The wine is named after Véronique's first daughter, also born this year, and is produced in limited quantities every year. The Laurène is a selection of different lots of wine that show the deepest concentration of flavors, the most complexity, and have the structure for extended aging potential. 1996- DDO Chardonnay was officially born with 450 cases released, though a few experimental barrels were made in '94 and '95. This classic grape of Burgundy, like its counterpart Pinot Noir, is very well suited to our estate site. Over the years, plantings have increased significantly, enabling us to produce just over 2,000 cases of estate Chardonnay. 1999 - Released on May 25th, 2002, the 1999 Cuvée Louise Drouhin marked the debut vintage of a very special and extremely limited production Pinot Noir. A selection of the most elegant and complex barrels of wine from our estate-grown fruit, we feel this wine is the finest expression of Oregon Pinot Noir that we can produce. Named after Véronique's youngest daughter, only 714 bottles of this lush and elegant wine were produced in '99. From the 2000 vintage forward, Veronique selects 8 of our best barrels for this special cuvée.
1986- Robert's daughter Véronique just graduated with an advanced degree in enology from the University of Dijon, and wanted to expand her experience by working in Oregon. Véronique interned with Adelsheim Vineyards, Bethel Heights, and Eyrie for the 1986 vintage. Later on, Robert mentioned to David Adelsheim that it might be interesting to buy a piece of land in Oregon, to see what it might produce. What started as a passing thought began its transformation into reality when Adelsheim phoned the Drouhins in Beaune not long thereafter to tell them of a property that was for sale that they might be interested in. 1987- Robert and Véronique came to Oregon to explore the site, and immediately began to research all aspects of the potential Oregon venture - technical, commercial, and financial. The 225-acre estate had once been wheat fields and a Christmas-tree farm in its earlier incarnations. Perfectly situated on south-facing slopes, Robert saw potential for what would become some of the finest Pinot Noir vineyards in the New World. It was decided and the purchase was complete by the end of the year. 1988 - Domaine Drouhin Oregon was truly born this year with Veronique making wine in rented space at the Veritas winery (now Chehalem) with purchased grapes from Oregon's top growers. The first eight acres of estate vineyards were planted using the local Oregon Pinot Noir clones (Pommard and Wadenswill) planted on the 7-foot wide row spacing that was then the local custom. 1989 - This was the first year of major development on the Estate including the planting of the Dijon clones from Burgundy. These clones were brought in to the country by Oregon State University; Domaine Drouhin was the first vineyard in Oregon to plant them. Additionally, they were planted on a high-density template (1 meter x 1.3 meters), and grafted onto phylloxera-resistant rootstock, another first for Oregon's history. The landmark gravity-flow winery was mostly completed in time for the 1989 crush - all of the equipment was installed and operational, but construction went on all around them as Véronique and her crew received the grapes that year.
The first seeds for what would become Domaine Drouhin Oregon were sown in 1961. Robert Drouhin, head of Burgundy's legendary Maison Joseph Drouhin, was visiting America's west coast promoting the Drouhin Burgundies. The California wine industry was just starting to receive its first recognition back then, but there was little if anything going on in Oregon. Robert's first visit to the Northwest and its earliest vineyards left him with the impression that it quite possibly would be Oregon, not California, that would ultimately prove to be the best place to grow the great grape of Burgundy - Pinot noir. In 1979 a tasting was held in Paris, where, for the first time, the best new Oregon Pinot noirs were tasted in competition with the finest Burgundies. A wine from Oregon's Eyrie Vineyards stunned the wine world by winning first place. Then in 1980, Robert sponsored a blind tasting at the Drouhin cellars in France, with several of the best Oregon Pinot noirs going up against the finest Drouhin Grand Crus. It was a Drouhin Grand Cru that took first place this time, but an Oregon wine (the now legendary 1975 Eyrie Vineyards South Block) placed 2nd by a very narrow margin with the French experts. News of this tasting brought the first widespread international attention to Oregon Pinot noir.
"Skills get more refined, methods evolve, but what’s important is what is transmitted from generation to generation: the search for excellence, the intellectual curiosity, the sense of values, passion, the respect for terroir… When your name is Drouhin, wine is more than an everyday job.” Robert J Drouhin Maison Joseph Drouhin, Beaune, France. www.drouhin.com In 1880, a young man named Joseph Drouhin purchased the trading rights of a wine house located in Beaune. The business grew steadily, and under the care of his son, Maurice Drouhin, further earned its reputation as one of the founding pillars of modern Burgundy. Maurice focused on making the very finest wines possible in Burgundy, and acquired key vineyard holdings and rights, including Beaune Clos des Mouches and select parcels of Montrachet, Clos de Vougeot, Chablis Les Clos, and Musigny. A larger than life figure, Maurice also played an important role in the development of the Hospice de Beaune charitable auction, one of Burgundy’s grandest traditions. In 1957, the third generation began as Robert Drouhin became head of Maison Joseph Drouhin. Also blessed with a brilliant vision for MJD’s future, Robert expanded vineyards holdings considerably while maintaining the family’s strict adherence to a rigorous standard of quality. Traveling constantly, Robert took the wines of Maison Joseph Drouhin around the world, bringing increased international attention to these wines of great finesse, elegance and terroir. His travels first brought him to Oregon in 1961; in 1987 he purchased property in the Dundee Hills and established Domaine Drouhin Oregon, now considered an international star in its own right.