47 minutes 16 seconds

Date Range

circa 2004-2006


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 his business both nationally and internationally. In 2003, the Erath Winery transitioned from having Erath as the principal winemaker to Gary Horner as the principal winemaker, and in 2006 Ste. Michelle Wine Estates bought 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 shares about the early days, why he chose Oregon for winemaking, and some things he learned. To Erath, there was no question in planting Pinot Noir, and he refers to it as the “Holy Grail” of grapes. Erath also discusses the evolution of his business and the industry as a whole. He shares details on cover crops, grafting, trellising, and more.

This interview was conducted circa 2004-2006.


Some oral history interviews are conducted on site and may contain background noise from nature, winery, or tasting room operations. The videos in this collection are raw footage donated to the Oregon Wine History Archives. The quality of the footage is inconsistent and contains some visual disturbances with camera movement. Motion sickness may occur.

This project is supported in part by the Oregon Cultural Trust.