This interview is with Dick and Betty O’Brien, the owners of Elton Vineyards in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Dick and Betty’s interest in wine began on a 1980 trip to Germany where they stayed with a German family who had a small vineyard of white varietals and made their own wine. The O’Briens were so impressed with the small operation they had witnessed, they approached Betty’s father about putting in their own vineyard. Both parties were skeptical with the little farming experience Dick and Betty had, but later they got the “okay” by her parents and they began with five acres. Over the years they learned the ups and downs of grape growing and established themselves as significant grape growers in the area.
In this interview, the O’Briens share the story of how they entered the wine industry, their background, and how they continue to be involved. The O’Briens offer insight based on their own learning experiences “doing things the ‘Oregon’ way.”
This interview was conducted by Rich Schmidt and Camille Weber on March 5, 2015.