Stephen Cary Collection

Stephen Cary is the winemaker at Yamhill Valley Vineyards in McMinnville, Oregon. Cary has left many impressive marks on the wine industry during his time thus far, including founding the Steamboat Conference and organizing the Burgundy Challenge. He knew early on that a normal 9-5 job was not the right path for him and has since been involved in the industry as a wine seller, buyer, and winemaker. Cary makes his wine with the philosophy that the grapes tell him how to deal with them. Cary thinks that Oregon’s terroir is a significant aspect that differentiates Oregon’s wines from other parts of the world.

This collection contains historical documents Stephen Cary has written about the Steamboat Conference and the Burgundy Challenge, an oral history interview, and photographs taken the day of the interview.


This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College Archives staff Rich Schmidt and Linfield College student Terran Sobel-Smith with Stephen Cary. The interview took place at Yamhill Valley Vineyards on April 14, 2015 and covered topics including his involvement in the industry as a wine seller, buyer, and winemaker, in addition to his role in orchestrating the Steamboat Conference and the Burgundy Challenge.

Interview – Steamboat Conference

In this interview, Cary goes into depth on the Steamboat Conference. He tells of the origin of the famous event, what it entails and how it has remained a symbol of the efforts of collaboration in the Oregon Wine Industry for over 30 years.


These photographs were taken during an oral history interview with Stephen Cary of Yamhill Valley Vineyards. All photographs were taken at Yamhill Valley Vineyards, both in the tasting room and the vineyard. The interview was conducted for the Oregon Wine History Archive in April of 2015.

All images in this gallery are courtesy of Frank Miller of FMILLERPHOTOGRAPHY.

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This collection showcases two documents written by Stephen Cary, winemaker at Yamhill Valley Vineyards in McMinnville, Oregon. One document is about the Steamboat Conference, an event held annually for winemakers to discuss Pinot Noir and share ideas about winemaking. The second document is about the Burgundy Challenge, an event which was held in New York City in 1985 and altered the course of Oregon’s then-struggling Pinot Noir market.

Oregon-Burgundy Challenge

Steamboat Conference History