Oregon Wine Loses a Legend: Dick Erath Passes Away at 87

The wine business in the Willamette Valley is not as bright as it used to be. Richard Charles “Dick” Erath passed awayΒ on March 29. He was 87 years old.

Erath is one of the names that come up when talking about the first people who started making wine in the Willamette Valley. And, like fellow winemakers David Lett, Charles Coury, and Dick Ponzi, the journey of the founder of Erath Winery starts in California.

Oregon Wine Loses a Legend Dick Erath Passes Away at 87

Erath was born on September 16, 1935, in Alameda, California. He grew up in the San Francisco Bay area. After he finished high school at Fremont Senior High, he went to Oakland Junior College.

He was also part of the U.S. Navy Reserve’s program for training electronic technicians and went to the University of California, Berkeley.

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Erath married Kina Butler in December 1961. Erath made his first barrel of wine in 1965 at their Walnut Creek, California home. A bottle of 1955 Inglenook Pinot Noir changed his mind about wine.

Erath enrolled in a two-week class at the University of California, Davis, in 1967. Within a year, the engineer took a job at Tektronix in Beaverton, Oregon, to move closer to his dream of making wine.

Erath bought a 49-acre piece of land on Dopp Road in the hills above Newberg in 1968 so that he could start his vineyard. The following year, Erath put in his first vines.

Erath agreed to help C. in 1971. Calvert “Cal” Knudsen develop his vineyard in the Dundee Hills. The employment contract let Erath make his wines on the property of the Knudsen family. The first year Erath made wine for his winery, he made 216 cases.

In 1975, Knudsen and Erath worked together to open Knudsen Erath Winery on the site of Knudsen Vineyards. Their business was the first one in the Dundee Hills to sell wine. Erath and Knudsen ended their business partnership on good terms in 1987. Erath kept the winery and the nearby Prince Hill Vineyard, which he had planted in 1983.

Erath sold his winery, brand, and several vineyards to Ste. Michelle Wine Estates in Washington in 2006. Michelle Wine Estates for a price that was not said. Ten years later, he sold his Prince Hill Vineyard to the Duncan Family, who made the famous Silver Oak wine.

Erath and his wife, the author C.J. Erath, have lived in Vancouver, Washington, for the past few years. Erath, David.

Source- Oregon live

Louis Ebert

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