Willamette Valley wine
is older than 1965

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The History they don’t tell you.

The Willamette Valley has a long and rich wine history. In the hills above Forest Grove, vineyards flourished between 1870 - 1915. Known as “Wine Hill” prior to Prohibition, this hill was home to the Rueter, Wirtz, and Koppel vineyards. Their Oregon wines made from Black Hamburg, Zinfandel, Chasselas, and Muscat grapes gained national accolades. The Willamette Valley did have a thriving wine culture prior to Oregon’s enactment of Prohibition on January 1st, 1916. Sadly, after that date, it vanished, only to be resurrected in the Willamette Valley when Charles Coury and David Lett arrived on the scene in 1965.

What is old
is new again.

On Wine Hill sources all our grapes from vineyards that are planted in the same locations as the original Rueter, Wirtz, and Koppel vineyards. While more that 100 years separates these wines, the spirit and vitality of this land remains. This history is undeniable. Click on the label images to find out more about our wines.


Ernest A. Rueter
Rueter Winery
Forest Grove, Oregon

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"Contrary to general expectation, Oregon, the land of rain, is capable of producing some of the choicest vines."

— Ernest A. Rueter, “The European Grape in Oregon”, 1905


The Original

Wine grapes were brought to Oregon by settlers coming across the Oregon Trail around 1848. Henderson Luelling is credited with bringing the first vine cuttings (Isabella) and an incredible selection of fruit and nut tree cuttings into the Oregon Territory. His nursery in Milwaukee, Oregon was instrumental in establishing the early Oregon wine scene. Forest Grove in the northern reaches of the Willamette Valley, was home to many of these first generation vineyards and wineries prior to 1916.


"I find Sweetwater, Zinfandel, Burgundy, Black Hamburg, Muscatel, Red Mountain, Chasselas Fountainbleu, Delaware, and Muscat excellent for our purposes."

— Ernest A. Rueter, “The Grape in Oregon”, 1901


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