From the Caves of Burgundy to the Dundee Hills of Oregon
The Story of Our Winery is the Story of the Drouhin Family
The Drouhin Family's winemaking roots run deep, having taken hold in Burgundy's best vineyards more than a century ago. Through the years, there has been a very clear link, a continuum, that inhabits Maison Joseph Drouhin, and now Domaine Drouhin Oregon.
Our estate winery in the Dundee Hills creates elegant, fine Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wines forged from our family's tradition of fine winemaking in France. For more than 25 years, the Drouhin Family has brought a wealth of hard-earned experience to their vineyards in the Willamette Valley, just southwest of Portland, Oregon.
"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." -- Robert J. Drouhin
Our Oregon estate was established in the late 1980s, but our winemaking roots were planted in Burgundy a century earlier, when Joseph Drouhin moved from Chablis to Beaune, and in 1880 founded Maison Joseph Drouhin. He was succeeded by his son, the brilliant Maurice Drouhin, who dedicated his life to making fine wine. In 1957, Robert Drouhin became the third generation to run the business. He first "discovered" Oregon on a 1961 visit, and then again during the 1979 and '80 blind tastings in Paris and Burgundy (the latter of which Robert organized) that put Oregon wines on the world map. Robert recognized that it was Oregon, more so than California, whose soils and climate could unlock the complexities and potential of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the United States.
In 1986, Robert's daughter Véronique came to Oregon after achieving a masters diploma in enology. She worked that harvest with three families, the Letts (Eyrie Vineyard), the Casteels (Bethel Heights) and the Adelsheims (Adelsheim Vineyards). That first impression was profound, and helped to form the bond between the Drouhins and some of the founding families of Oregon wine. It can be fairly said that Oregon's deep sense of community was a powerful magnet.
In 1987, Robert Drouhin was invited to participate in the first International Pinot Noir Celebration, and on that trip, he decided to purchase land in the Dundee Hills. Where there had only been Christmas trees and wheat, the Drouhin's began planting their first vineyards in Oregon. At the same time, Robert nominated Véronique to be the newly christened DDO winemaker, and her brother Philippe Drouhin took responsibility for viticulture. In 1988, DDO produced its first vintage, from purchased grapes, and in 1989 built the landmark, four-story gravity flow winery.