If you agree with the experts that a grape must struggle for ripeness in order to achieve greatness, then Oregon, with its difficult climate, may well prove to produce some of the finest wines in America. California's domination of the U.S. market throughout the 1900s has resulted in the slow maturation of winemaking in Oregon, and the industry is still relatively young. An idealistic group of stubborn individualists pioneered the present winemaking industry in the 1960s, although Oregonian viticulture dates back five generations to the late 1800s. In fact, Oregon was considered by U.C. Davis to be impossible terroir for vinifera grapes.
However, contrarians such as Richard Sommer of Hillcrest Vineyards, Susan & Bill Sokol Blosser (eponymous winery) and David Lett of Eyrie Vineyard recognized the similarities in latitude and soils with Burgundy and proved the skeptics wrong. Oregon Pinot Noirs dominated their French counterparts at a Paris tasting in 1979. So impressed was famous Burgundian negociant, Robert Druhin, that in 1987 he purchased vineyards abutting the Sokol Blosser estate in Oregon's famous Dundee Hills in the Willamette Valley.