Oral History Interviews: The Eyrie Vineyards


Bringing Vines to the Valley: Diana Lett Interview



Peterson, Jeff

Document Type

Video File


49 minutes 12 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 Diana Lett, of The Eyrie Vineyards. The interview took place at The Eyrie Vineyards on July 9, 2010 and includes topics such as the early wine industry history in Willamette Valley and the recounting of Diana and David Lett's involvement in the industry.

With a degree in viticulture and enology from the University of California–Davis, David Lett moved to Oregon in 1965 in pursuit of the perfect vineyard site. The Eyrie Vineyards were founded in 1966 by David and Diana Lett in the Red Hills of Dundee, Oregon. The Letts made Oregon wine history, earning a little fame for the state after making the first American Pinot Noir to compete successfully with the renowned Pinot Noirs of Burgundy in 1980. Son Jason Lett took on the positions of winemaker and vineyard manager in 2005, maintaining the family legacy.

In this interview, Diana Lett tells her side of the story, how she met David, and what it was like to be a pioneer. She also addresses the community values of the Oregon industry and events such as Oregon Pinot Camp and the International Pinot Noir Celebration.


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).