Hillcrest Vineyards being honored for it's Pinot

Hillcrest Vineyards being honored for it's Pinot

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- An Umpqua Valley winery is being recognized for helping to shape Oregon wine culture.

Hillcrest Vineyards is being recognized for planting Oregon's first ever Pinot Noir grapes.

Hillcrest is being given an historical marker to recognize that the winery's founder was the first to plant pinot, a variety that's become synonymous with the Oregon wine industry.

Owner Dyson DeMara says he wanted to get the historical marker to honor the winery's former owner, Richard Sommers, the man with the plan for pinot.  "Trying to cement Richard's position as father of the Oregon wine industry that's here today," he said.

Dyson says the area already has a booming wine industry, and the historical marker will only help it grow. "Locals, when they have families from out of town, one of the first things they do is to take them to wineries, and I think that just speaks to the significance of what is Umpqua Valley."

DeMara started the process about two years ago.

He hopes that the state historical marker will help, "plant the flag in Umpqua Valley's role in really being the cradle of fine wine in Oregon."

Though Hillcrest is getting the historical nod, Dyson believes that the marker will put all of the area's wineries on the map. "There's fantastic momentum here. I think it adds a very significant foundation to that."

DeMara says that Sommers was an individual who did what he wanted, even when others thought his ideas were crazy.

That ability to listen to his heart is what made Richard so successful. "Often times, the people that are the first to do something, it starts off with one person. Richard was that person that came here and brought many varieties, including the first Pinot Noir."

According to Dyson, Pinot Noir is the brand of Oregon, and we've got Richard Sommers and his grapes to thank for that. "If you're in Tokyo at the airport, if you're at a Swiss ski chalet, if you find Oregon wine, chances are those roots go back to Umpqua Valley, Hillcrest, and in particular Richard Sommers."

Dyson says they plan on putting the marker up sometime in the next year.