Peterson, Jeff




49 minutes 58 seconds


July 8, 2010

Interview Summary

After producing his first barrel of wine in his garage in California, Dick Erath moved to Dundee, Oregon with his family in 1968. In 1969, he planted 4 acres of grapes, finding Pinot Noir to be the most successful. Over the years, Dick Erath designed and constructed the Erath Winery, received the Best American Pinot Noir award, and slowly expanded both nationally and internationally. In 2003, the Erath Winery transitioned from Erath as the principal winemaker to Gary Horner as the principal winemaker, and in 2006 Ste. Michelle Wine Estates bought the Erath Winery. Since this transition, Erath Winery has continued to rank among the most successful wineries in the industry and has continued to represent the strength of Oregon wines in the international wine world.

In this interview, Dick Erath discusses how his career in electronics turned into pioneering the Oregon Wine Industry. He shares some of the struggles he and others faced in establishing themselves in the early days such as water misconceptions and activism in legislature.

This interview was conducted by Jeff Peterson on July 8, 2010.


Some oral history interviews are conducted on site and may contain background noise from nature, winery, or tasting room operations.