Brian and Jill O'Donnell Interview



Schmidt, Rich

Document Type

Video File


47 minutes 48 seconds

Publication Date



Oral History | Viticulture and Oenology


This interview is an oral history conducted by Linfield College archivist Rich Schmidt with Brian and Jill O'Donnell of Belle Pente Vineyard & Winery. The interview took place at the Jereld R. Nicholson Library at Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon on April 6, 2019.

Brian and Jill O'Donnell are the founders and owners of Belle Pente Vineyard & Winery, established in 1994, where Brian is responsible for production and shares marketing and administrative duties with Jill. In this interview, the O'Donnells discuss how they decided to get into winemaking, their first impressions of the Oregon wine industry, as well as the learning curves and challenges that came with their jobs. They discuss how they came up with the name Belle Pente — the O'Donnells wanted a name that was strongly connected to its place (Belle Pente means "beautiful slope"), with an old-world feel that accurately reflected their wine. Brian also talks about his winemaking philosophy and how it has evolved over time, while Jill describes her business philosophy. The O'Donnells acknowledge they love to do business with people who want to have a personal relationship with them, since they are a small operation. As the interview comes to a close, both touch upon the future of Belle Pente, as well as the evolving future of the Oregon wine industry.


Some oral history interviews were conducted on site and may contain background noise from nature, winery, or tasting room operations.