Oral History Interview: Erath Winery


Bringing Vines to the Valley: Dick Erath Interview



Peterson, Jeff

Document Type

Video File


49 minutes 58 seconds

Publication Date



Oral History | Viticulture and Oenology


This interview is an oral history conducted by Dr. Jeff Peterson, director of the Linfield Center for the Northwest, with Dick Erath, of Erath Winery. The interview took place at Erath Winery on July 8, 2010.

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 Erath serving as the principal winemaker to Gary Horner as the principal winemaker, and in 2006 Chateau 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 as part of the Oregon Wine History Project™, a collaborative research venture from the Linfield Center for the Northwest. Assisting in the production of this interview were videographers Barrett Dahl and Mark Pederson; exhibit and collections coordinators Barrett Dahl, Sara Juergensen, and Keni Sturgeon (faculty advisor); and project historical researchers Dulce Kersting and Lissa Wadewitz (faculty advisor).